Where has this month gone?? The autumn seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate and once again we are on the home straight to finishing off another year.
There is a reason the blog has been quiet these past weeks. I have been focusing all my time and energy into a single project. While in some respects, it is probably the hardest route I've ever tried, it has been immensely frustrating doing battle with this one. I'm not going to rant on about 'conditions' and the reasons of how climbing in the UK can be so tricky, but for me it is a route that requires everything to be so absolutely perfect in order to execute properly. Anything remotely out of cater can make the tenuous crux sequence go from feeling pretty solid to suddenly core busting hard!
The main issue we've been experiencing is freaking numb digits. The minute you bite down on those knife blades at the crux, every ounce of life and every drop of blood you had in them is instantly drained. The ability to feel the intricate rocks details beneath your finger ends becomes an impossible task. And there is nothing you can do about it.
If you could guarantee the right temperature and conditions every time you set off up the wall I am pretty confident that it might have gone by now and we'd be rolling in fish n chips and Bakewell tarts till Christmas!
Normally by this point in the year my attention has switched to the grit. Spending the short days pulling down on fat slopers, balancing up aretes and fiddling in crappy gear into marginal and dubious breaks. However we have been blessed with a longer sport season than usual this time around and the crags are still dry, offering those of us still keen to get our projects done. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, I realise that, but I want this one bad. I'm determined to keep throwing myself at it until it either goes or we find ourselves 6ft under in snow!
It has been a pretty testing time these last weeks. I have to admit that the daily commute to the crag,
the usual warmup and having to deal with constantly changing weather, not to mention the countless lobs down the face after another failed redpoint, have definitely started to affect me mentally. One day it will seem within my grasp and then the next it'll go back to feeling a million miles away.
That being said my psyche is at an all time high for it. Small progress and micro gains continue with each day on the route. Even just getting up to my highpoint and feeling less pumped and more focused but yet still falling on the same section feels like another step forward on the road to those chains.
Climbing with Ryan Pasquill has been a huge benefit and he has taught me to not beat myself up too much and how to reduce the stress levels when things don't seem to be going my way. We are both on the same wagon. The redpoint wagon. Going through the same problems and emotions. Having someone to share that with is a good feeling and super encouraging!
I find what helps when things don't seem to be going well is to remind myself that this route is 8c+. It is up there with one of the hardest routes in the UK and I'm sure would make some 9a's in Europe seem a relative stroll in comparison... Sometimes it is all too easy to blame yourself and think that you are simply not good enough. When in actual fact these routes are bloody hard and we are pushing our bodies to the very limits of what they are capable of doing.
I want to try hard, climb the hardest routes and to be the best that I can be, and that is what keeps me coming back time after time and continues to drive me forward.
I have no doubt that it WILL go, eventually. To have something so hard and at your maximum limit to try and beast yourself on is hugely motivating for me. Getting home with your body totally, utterly wasted and beat up, knowing you gave it your all is a great feeling.
Today was a good day. Despite the freezing temperatures. Every burn now my body is stronger on the moves. One of these times everything will just slot into place. Just gotta be patient!
Man I love this game.