Saturday, 21 February 2015

Giving myself credit

It's something I've never been very good at; when I was in counselling, my therapist must have got sick of pointing it out.

When it comes to my climbing, I've always said "I'm not a strong climber, I'm not a super technical climber, but I am good at giving it everything I've got." I've voiced this a few times recently, or at least tried to. First Sam interupted me before I got to the "but", to question what I was saying. Then Mike interrupted me before I got to the "but". Then Nicole interrupted me before I got to the "but".

I sat one evening and thought about this - the most credit I could give myself was to add an addendum to my self-criticism. Everyone else seemed to think those criticisms weren't warranted. I resolved to put a lot of energy into believing in myself and my climbing ability. The next morning, I did an exercise in positive re-inforcement - something I hadn't done for a while.

We went round to Las Chorerras, and climbing with a Bristol lad, Toby, I was having a great day. We were onsighting 7a for fun and having a right good laugh. The line of Super Cantina Marina (8a) caught my eye. I heard the voice of doubt, saying it was too hard for me to get on, and decided it could fuck right off. I cruised up the first 15 or 20 meters, then fell off what turned out to be the lower of two cruxes. I plugged away, and some time later I'd done all the moves and reached the chains on a sustained 40m 8a with a technical crux.

Since then I've been climbing more relaxed than I ever thought possible. A second go on Super Cantina Marina improved the crux sequences and identified a knee bar rest between them, then I decided to take a break and get on some other stuff. I found a bouldery 7c that really wouldn't suit my style (Los Mercenarios at Parade de Enfrente), and worked out all the moves first go. I jumped on the more suitable 7c+\8a Ramalla, and at a hands free knee bar at about 25m had the onsight firmly on my mind, but not the choking desire that usually accompanies it. The crux proved too much, but again I figured it out and felt the line should be very doable.

With my finger skin getting pretty thin, I decided to have one more go on Super Cantina Marina before taking a longer rest. I went fully "A Muerte" and was climbing really well until a sequence error sent me head first and backwards down the crag - thanks Stephane for a superb soft catch to keep me in one piece. After that, I linked from the rest below the bottom crux to the top of the second - although as I reached for the jug at the end, my skin finally gave way on the other hand and I slid off. Two tips were clean through and pissing blood, but I didn't really care. I knew I was rolling the dice when I pulled on, and I may have lost the skin but I'd found more than enough confidence in my climbing to make it worth while.

So I am a strong climber, I am a technical climber, and to top it off I've got a fucking good head for getting the most out of that. If you hear me saying otherwise, you have permission to slap me.

But to give credit where it's due elsewhere, I owe a big thanks to my new found friends in the Chulilla car-park. Coming off a bad depression it has been hard to find confidence, and whether you complimented my climbing (or my singing!), popped into my van for a chat on a rainy day when I needed it the most, accepted some decisions I had to make without any ill-feeling, or just welcomed me into your circle, you've helped me back onto my feet more than you'll probably ever know.

Joris on (I think) Richer Line (7a)
Stephane on what he thought was a 7b line at Las Chorerras (athough on UKC it looks like there's only a couple of 7cs where he was climbing) 

Nicole getting into a knee bar high on El Ramallar (7c+)

Relaxed - this was right before I pulled on to go "A Muerte" at Super Cantina Marina (8a)

Focussed - but still relaxed... I never knew climbing hard could feel so simple.

About to go for some upside-down airtime... forgot to move my left foot before I tried to stand up. Thanks Per for the photo to remind me not to do it again.

1 comment:

  1. Strong people are those,who rise after any fall..Doesnt matter how many times...Climbing,people and acceptance ,are only there to remind you ,what you have forgot about you,for a while..Head up Ciro and keep the faith..And the only place faith is growing ,is in the heart..Hear it...Only that...Have fun and stay safe...Greetings from Kalymnos