We've been climbing here at Little Rock City (LRC, or strangely also called Stone Fort) for maybe about one week. I'm absolutely in love. The lines are incredible with classics everywhere. So many cool distinct features and unique holds. Big lines, dirty lines, hidden lines and famous lines. You really can't ask for more. It may turn out to be my favourite bouldering area in the U.S.A. but we'll have to wait and see. Day one I was so excited. It was crazy. I was running around from boulder to boulder, didn't stop to eat and hardly sat down. I wanted to do them all. Me on "Incredarete" V1. Photo by Leanna.
I think the first day I climbed maybe 14 boulder problems in an afternoon. The following day I climbed another 10 boulders in half an afternoon. They're all so good. My skin was obviously trashed after that so a rest day was in order. I don't think I have ever been that excited to climb rocks.
Me on "I think I can" V9. Photo by Leanna.
We're in the Southern US until Christmas. I hope to stay here at LRC for the majority but I'll be happy if we can escape down to Horse Pens or Rocktown for a bit to tick off some stuff down there.
I was talking with Leanna the other day about grades and psyche and I think I discovered a tiny revelation. I'll try explain it as best I can. Keep in mind these are just my thoughts, and I don't think it applies to everyone.
I have noticed that the more I climb outdoors on big trips like this, the more my goals and expectations seem to change. I'll give an example. Living in Ottawa, working, training at the gym, the only real opportunities I get to climb outdoors are on two week trips that I take a few times a year. I train for these trips, set goals and expectations, and when I arrive at my destination I focus only on these goals and expectations. I think this is normal - with limited time outside you really have to focus on the things you want to do and you don't have much time for other things. You want to do hard climbs and big ticks.
Now, after making the switch (temporary as it may be) to bouldering full time I notice that my expectations have totally changed. I find myself not chasing numbers or problems with hard grades, but doing easier classics or climbs with a low grade which are still extremely challenging for me. Think about many of the full-time climbers you know - this is how they climb no? Make a list of the climbers that you know. Separate them into two groups - people who work full-time and people who climb full-time. Then, sort these two lists based on how focused they are on the grade of a problem or a certain tick and not on the bigger picture of either doing climbs which are just hard for them irrespective of the grade, or beautiful lines.
I find that if I do this I can see that people who spend more time outdoors in general have a better understanding of it all. I guess this might not be a surprise to most, but after noticing a change in myself a little bit I was just trying to figure out why.
Do you agree? Thoughts?