Katherine @lovetoclimb facebook page

Ups and downs

22 Apr 2012

I was really hoping I’d be able to write about a few more ascents but I unfortunately I can’t.  Yesterday I had a bad day’s climbing.  I know this isn’t news, but it’s my first since having Vanessa!  It’s not like I’ve never had bad days before but my one day climbing a week situation is an interesting one.  Last year I just climbed and saw what happened.  This year I’ve successfully trained all winter and actually had expectations.  Perhaps that’s where it goes wrong.

A day out climbing now for me is so much more than that.  It’s a haven of time to be out with friends in the fresh air as much as anything.  But the difference now is that I’m actually attempting to climb closer to my limit.  On returning from France I climbed another 7c at Raven Tor, pretty quickly.  I was psyched and felt it was time to step it up a notch.

Raven Tor is the only place that’s reliable in this wet spell and I jumped on Call of Nature 8a, one route right of Obscene Toilet (the one I’ve just done, I know the name is horrendous).  I made rapid progress and on day 3 I was ready to redpoint.  And this is where the problems begin!

Redpointing is one of my weakest areas in climbing.  I seem to have a 3 day psyche limit on routes, it’s always been the case and is even more apparent with limited time.  I’ve redpointed very little near my limit because of these reasons and for anyone who thinks sport climbing is the easy option compared to trad is wrong!!

Fundamentally I’m having to take myself down a path that I’m really uncomfortable with, but yet it’s a challenge I want.  I was talking to Jules Littlefare (who’s redpointed up to 8b) and she loves the process making tiny progress every day, like a difference clipping or learning to hold a hold in a different way, inching up a route over a long period of time.  I’ve never had the patience to deal with these details, but this is exactly what redpointing hard is all about.  I really want to be able to learn to be better at this.

On day 3 I had to learn how to clip a bolt before the crux and then on redpoint realised the sequence I’d planned for the crux was way too powerful.  So I reworked the sequence, mucked up the redpoint, but then did a huge link on the route, which was virtually the whole route.

Yesterday, day 4 I woke up knackered.  We’ve had a tiring time recently with Nic and Vanessa being ill seemingly for the last 2 months and that takes its toll on everyone.  I think it came to a head.  I knew I was in no state to climb well.  When I arrived at the crag two people were on the route already and the rain was constantly threatening.  I instantly felt uneasy.  My best and first redpoint was actually really good and I flew through the crux.  But just as I was throwing for the final hold of the crux (from where I’m really confident) I felt all my energy drain away and gravity took over.

I was disappointed, and decided to try a different, easier (graded) route.  I could barely move on it.  And only then did I allow myself to see the problem, I’m really tired at the moment!!

I’m now going to take it easy for a few days and let my head and body recover.  My situation is actually no different to anyone who has a busy job/life and limited climbing time.  I'm very good at spotting it in others, but not in myself!  I’m all about throwing myself into difficult situations (who knows why) and I’ll be damned if I have to let go of trying to climb hard routes, now I’m a parent.  So the process continues.  I’ll get through it and then maybe I can finally unlock the key to climbing hard on no time... We’ll see!