Beyond there… a follow up post from “Almost there

Wow, it seems like it has been forever since I have posted something here. Looking at the date on my last post, it has been too! Is it perhaps due to the number of readers I have? 😀

Thank you Michelle for belaying me on my first 26 and Alison for filming it. Fun fact, Michelle is actually a little shorter than me but thanks to the magic of Mobile phone cameras and angles, she appears to be 2m tall 🙂

It is 2021 and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. If you are like me and live in Victoria, Australia, you have then spent more days locked at home than at work or out and about. I will perhaps dedicate an entire post to the effects of our extended lockdown in Melbourne but for now, the focus of this short post is….  you guessed it, Rock Climbing!

It was January last year (2020) that I decided to push my limits and try harder and higher graded climbs. Back then the goal was to send my first grade 25 at an indoor gym. Little did I know that COVID-19 will hit and I will be spending most of my days locked inside my apartment and away from any gyms and rock climbing crags. We did have a little break in the middle however, and I did jump on a new 25. I was projecting (i.e. trying it) for a good 6 weeks before I had all the moves. On the day I was about to go for the send and tick it off, I arrived at the gym to find it removed and replaced. Heart broken I was, very much so too :/ I was certain it was going to be my first tick at the grade but alas it was not meant to be.

Fast forward to this year and a new route; a grade 26/5.12c/7b+. I first jumped on it just to see what a 26 actually feels like. I made it to the second quickdraw before I fell. Having had a few attempts at it, I could just make it to the fourth draw. It became somewhat of a challenge for me to see how far up the route I could go before taking a fall, and so began a two month journey into the world of pain, failures, frustrations and rare small wins.

I must have jumped on the climb at least 30 times before I gave up. I would make it to the fifth draw but then was too pumped to go any further. It just seemed impossible for me and my level of fitness/technique so I did the only thing that made sense: I gave up on it 😀

I gave up until one day I climbed with a new partner (Kat) and she suggested a slightly different move (drop knee) after the fifth quickdraw. I jumped on and boom, managed to get to the 6th draw and clipped in! Thank you Kat for the great beta! Having achieved a new record, I started to project the route again and with each week I managed to get a little higher.

It took me some 70 attempts – ridiculously high for an indoor route – to finally get to the top without falling; i.e. sending the route! and I now have my very first grade 26, 5.12c to brag on about 😀 But it was not all my doing… I have my climbing partners to thank for. They were patient, very patient; David, Kat, Keili and Michelle.

But what is the point of this story?

  1. I have learnt to be more accepting of failing.
  2. The advice of others (different points of view) is invaluable
  3. To succeed you also need caring, patient, wise partners or support

What’s next? No idea. I would love to actually tick something else at the grade but it does seem impossible. Then again, according to Nike: Impossible is Nothing.