Tuesday, 1 January 2013

I couldn't hold on any longer...

How often do we say or hear that at the wall or the crag?

We all do it to a greater or lesser extent - letting go on a route and blaming failing muscles.

I was thinking about this the other day, as I was trying to convince Clare she really could have stayed on a route at the gym. She's proud of her determination to hang in there - and rightly so she's much better than most with her level of experience - but as a relative beginner she's no idea what she's actually capable of.

So, as I was trying to get across the fact that we all have to learn to pull harder and stay on that little bit longer, I pointed out that I still have to work on this aspect too.

Which lead me to ponder later on, do I work on it enough?

Truth be told, it's one of those areas where I've become complacent. It is one of my strengths, but that's no reason to rest on my laurels - especially since it's one of the facets of climbing that comes at little cost. You don't have to take time off from periodised mental attitude training like you do with the physical aspects - it's something that can be worked on in every single session.

If I needed any further prompting, it was to come a short while later whilst re-watching Dave MacLeod's excellent Echo Wall. If there's a better sysnopsis of the mental preparation required to climb at your absolute limit, I'd love to see it.

It also reminded me of a little saying I used to use learning trad last spring with Ramon, when faced with a scary decision: What would Dave do? It would normally be enough to convince me to go for if it was safe to do so, and only back down for genuine safety concerns.

So, as the new year begins this will be two of my resolutions: I will challenge myself to hold on that bit longer on *every* send attempt, and try to be a bit more like Dave.

Sunset over the Gower peninsula - last climbing weekend of 2012

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