You know that feeling when you’re standing beneath a climb, when you’re trying to puzzle out the movements, when you start to wonder: Can I actually pull this off?
Maybe it’s a project you’ve attempted several times before. Maybe it’s a string of long, strenuous pitches. Maybe it’s at your grade limit. Maybe it’s your anti-style.
But you begin all the same.
Sometimes, the first few moves are easy. You’ve psyched yourself up enough that when things go smoothly, your guard begins to drop. You’re flowing. Maybe I can actually do this…
Sometimes, the first move off the ground is heinous. You position your hands, your feet, begin to pull… Then come down. You reposition, begin to pull… And come down again. Maybe I don’t got this…
But you climb on. You go for it. And then:
Sometimes, you reach the crux, breathe really hard, grunt a little and barely make the move.
Sometimes, you reach the crux, grunt a lot and then take a whip. Having eliminated that possibility, you figure out the sequence and get through the crux second go.
Sometimes, you reach the crux. You give it hell, but it’s relentless. For whatever reason — excuses or otherwise — it’s just not going to go for you today. And that’s ok, because at least you tried. Guess that means you’ve got a new project.
That is climbing.
Besides the physical act of pulling yourself up a rock, you climb by pushing your limits. You discover what you are and are not (yet) capable of. By allowing yourself into that headspace, reaching complete physical and mental exertion, you discover the extent of your inner strength, grit and capabilities.
Encounters with “the edge” aren’t just limited to climbing; I can tell ya that much. But it’s good to take yourself there. It’s how we climb and how we grow.