A bunch of miss-communications ensued last night that left me at the climbing gym alone. I’ve been working on this really frustrating V3 for a few weeks that really has my number. Last night, I was damned and determined to conquer it. When I got to the gym I warmed up on a few of my favorite easy problems, but should have noticed that the easy problems that I knew how to climb were giving me a bit of trouble.
There is this one particular problem, an easy V0 or V1, that I’ve been able to rock out on the first time without any hesitation. It was after the third try of starting the problem that I finally got past the first move. That hasn’t happened since I solved it few months ago. (For those curious, problems range in difficulty starting at a V0 and as the number increases, so does the difficulty, up to a v7).
It was weird, and I thought that maybe my head was just in a funk, so I took a step back from the wall and had a seat to watch some of the much better climbers work on some really difficult problems. I like doing this to let my arms rest and to see what techniques they use, and know that it’ll be a long time before I can actually do anything like that. That, and my head was just really foggy and I wasn’t able to concentrate on problems because I was trying to convince myself to stop concentrating on what was bothering me.
After a few minutes of watching I decided to head over to a portion of the wall that had problems that I know and love to climb. I rocked them both, and felt pretty good, and after giving a few pointers to a climber working on those problems, I decided to move over to the V3 that is my new nemisis.
The difficulty in this problem lies in the handholds which are these crimpy, finger murdering teeny nobs that are not kind to your hands. Coupled with the fact that every person I’ve watched work and solve this problem has a different philosophy on how to use their feet. So, I stepped up to try it, again, and again, and again. Finding that once again, I couldn’t get past the start.
The frustrating part about this would be that two weeks ago, I almost completed this problem, when I realized I cheated and used a foothold that wasn’t mine at the very end of the route.
After I took another step back, looked at the problem while putting more chalk on my hand, I stepped back up to the problem and finally moved past the start and onto the next portion of the problem. Again, I got near the end and messed up my feet and fell off when I heard from behind me, “oh no! you were so close!”
I turned to find an unfamiliar guy seated behind me who had been watching as I tried to solve the problem. Apparently it was a problem that he had similar issues with and came over quite energetically to help me with it. He showed me his way of solving the problem, again a way different than I had been shown by three other climbers, but seemed logical.
After a few attempts, my fingers finally gave out and my big toe on my right foot was screaming in pain. So I decided to call it quits for the evening and head home. However, the same guy who had been helping me was joined by another, really strong climber, who convinced me to head up to the top of the gym to work on some overhung problems.
I had been working on this overhung section, without a crash-pad, and felt like I was slipping. The guy, whom I couldn’t see because I was danging upside down, encouraged me to go to the next hold with “you got this” but, I didn’t.
I fell, and landed flat on my back. I knocked all the air out of me. The guy was immediately apologetic and felt awful. He apologized repeatedly, as I laid there for a second gathering my thoughts and catching my breath.
I climb a little bit more, but decided I should head home.
It was definitely the icing on top of the really already disappointing evening, but I learned a few things:
1. Misscommunitcations are going to occur.
2. Don’t climb with someone you’re not familiar with and always use a spotter.
3. Advil is awesome.