My selective lack of commitment is disturbing. I feel this as sharply as feldspathic phenocrysts cut into my painfully softened fingertips......having been off rock for the past 5 years; I curse as I find myself in another zone of lameness of which I'd allowed myself to back-slide into vis-a-vis the lack of callus on my fingertips and tendon strength in my hands. Hanging like dead meat in the harness as the belay takes my weight; I realize that in previous times, I even had better calluses on my left hand when I was playing violin....but my ski/bike and office lifestyle have rendered my fingertips into tender bits of sausage.
One week out from the FOTP....I was very much looking into an excuse to NOT get on the bike and ride thereby allowing my knee some rest. Given the last week at work....I very much wanted.....no, NEEDED....to crank out some miles and zone out at 160 bpm. But the thought of my ride next week and my questionable body part left me scrambling for something to do outside with the mild risk of peril. Drinking beer all day and watching football has always been a last resort, yet always leaves something to be desired......and then I got a call. Splitboarder was going to be down from Flag and needed a partner to do some climbing. After detailing my absence from climbing...and my overall weak experience when I was climbing (almost a plea to not pick me)....Splitboarder was still up for it. Damn....that dude is trusting.
I was gripped before I even tied in on the first climb we found...an obvious layback all the way to the top.
After the cursory safety check, he sent the route like a ring-tail lemur. The experience for me left me pumped.....and all I did was maintain and take in slack on the line while watching the efficient movement and placement of protection on the route.
Now....my turn. I made it 12 feet or so.....was gripped.....lost the focus....failed to capture whatever it was that made me enjoy this in the past....and promptly asked to be lowered back down into defeat. Split then made a second climb as before....cleaning it in style. After he was off-belay, I snapped a pic.....
After rappelling down, we packed up and started looking looking around for a second pitch.
Split decided on a small dihedral which had some questionable blocks and flakes that looked a bit hollow or loose. The plan was to lower if it got sketch....but if he topped out, to top-rope at the bolts and allow me to work the slab to the right. While a bit dirty in places, and a few hollow flakes and blocks to contend with; Split tore up the dihedral save a sketchy move over plenty of cams and a few stoppers. I was still gripped just watching on belay and was glad to hear "Off-Belay"....so I snapped another shot before tying in.
I was thinking that this time would be no different than the last; that I would only flail about and demand to be lowered again. I was entering the arena with a defeat mindset.....and I knew this was wrong...but could not find another way to make it right.....the loser worm started to eat at my ego.
The start was pretty slabby with an obvious right-sloping finger ledge tapering out into a zone of disappearing pinch crystals....my hands felt up the slab like Helen Keller on a hot date....Split taking up so much slack that I think he may have been hanging on the belay to give me some "oomph". I cheated in the lower crux section by pulling up on my line to reach a higher finger ledge to secure a good foot-hold.....all the time, a plethora of beta shouted out from my able partner below........and then it started to click.
Looking over at some blood on my torn thumb....something happened. The pain in my pinched nerve of my right big toe was numbed....my fear of falling subsided....my focus narrowed. The beta from below started making sense.....crystals and bumps at eye-level were filed away for use a minute later when my feet searched out a purchase. Chicken heads were linked together to form a pattern....the problem was reduced from the whole.....to a move at a time.
Just as I started to feel comfortable (albeit, cursing the entire time), it was over when I topped out. Lowering to the ground....I felt a focus that I had not felt in a long time. Granted....there was a lot of help from the rope cheat I used, to the hang-dog time given by a patient partner as well as the encouragement......but the fire was re-ignited.
I can't wait to go again knowing that I have a well to draw from when I feel all is lost. It was there all along...I just forgot how to drink it in.
Fritschi Tecton Brake Seance
5 hours ago