Tuesday, May 20, 2008


rock climbing routes and bouldering problems are graded for the difficulty of movement, the length of the problem, and the first ascensionist's mood that day. they're generally subjective, but for most beginning to intermediate climbers, they represent the proof that they are improving in ability. at the very least, they give a sense of how hard a climber must work to send a problem or route. at their worst, grades can intimidate a seemingly weaker climber from pushing him or herself to try something deemed by some to be hard. climber readers, i know you know all this. non-climber readers, just a bit of background information for you.

a few weeks ago, i successfully completed my first V7. i had to work my ass off for about two weeks to figure out the sequence and where my body had to be to make each move. i tried sections independently, but was never able to link them. finally, one day about two weeks ago, i sent it on my first try of the day. the first clue that i was capable of this was the relative ease with which i sent all of the new V6s that had been set within a week. it took some perseverance, but i did it. lee and palmer were congratulatory. i know damn well that plastic doesn't translate to stone, but i'm hopeful for colorado this summer.

last week, i successfully completed my first V8. second try. sure, it's probably "soft" for the grade, but i was sending everything else i touched on thursday too. i watched some guys working on the V8 last night. i think it played to my strengths. so last night, climbing well yet again, i discovered a lack of inhibition at climbing harder stuff. now, the point. i am no longer intimidated by grades! it took four years to get to this point. i think i'm much closer than i've felt to being the climber that i want to be. climbing what looks fun, instead of working at climbing harder and harder problems. that will come, but i think climbing might be a lot more fun from now on. frustration shows in laughter instead of anger. marvelous.

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