Sometimes it’s easy to take climbing too seriously. We forget that it is supposed to be fun. I do this every once in a while, and it is usually a result of setting goals that are out of reach, or expecting too much from myself. I spent the last 10 weeks on the road as a break between finishing nursing school and starting work as an RN in Canmore, Alberta. After writing my national exam I hightailed it to Kentucky to meet up with my good friends Josh Muller, Regan Kennedy, and Alex Quiring in the Red River Gorge where we spent 5 weeks getting pumped out of our brains.
The Red was such an amazing experience. I was elated to be done school, and in great shape after training for my first triathlon, and a 120km bike tour that I did with my parents. It had been years since I was responsibility free, and I was beyond happy to be exploring new places and climbing amazing routes. I managed to tick 5 amazing 5.13a’s, and spent a lot of time working on my onsighting skills.
After the Red our group (who earned the nickname “Team Noon-4”) moved on to Horse-Pens 40, after stopping in Little Rock city for a day. I climbed 7 days straight in Horse-Pens. The climbing was so close to the campsite, and so much fun, I just couldn’t help myself! Hueco was next on the list, and we made a short stop at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch to break up the drive.
The last time I was in Hueco was 7 years ago with Canadian superstar Thomasina Pidgeon. It was a great return, and fun to retro-flash classics that had stumped me as a teenager.
My goal for the trip was to tick some double digits. Having only done a handful of V7’s and V8’s, it was an ambitious goal. Making quick work of McBain, V8, and Fern Roof, (the V9 exit), I was sure I could achieve my goal.
I had jumped on Dark Age V11 for fun, just to check out the moves as we usually warmed up close by, and a few Team Noon-4 members had projects near by. I put all the moves together within a few sessions, and on the 4th day of work linked all the powerful bottom moves, and was one move away from linking into the V6 section. Day 5 I was sure the problem would go down, and got totally and utterly rejected. I couldn't link any of the moves and tore three tips open.
I was totally dejected, pissed off and sure I would have to save it for another trip. I wrote my sister Vikki and email, telling her how crushed I felt, and that I didn’t want to get back on this trip, as I was scared of failing. She had this to say:
“Remember, that problem will still be there when you get back. It's not going to change your life if you do it or not. Just enjoy the process and start it with a smile on your face! It's just a little rock, nothing to be afraid of! Enjoy the process, give it your all and don't regret anything!”
I took her message to heart, and while I was still a little bummed that I might not be able to send the route, I was psyched to try.
Even with doubt in my heart, I tried again with no expectations and a big smile on my face. I managed to put all of the powerful bottom moves together, and fell off a move after mixing up my sequence on the upper V6 section (See Spot Run). It dawned on me that I might actually be able to send the route, but tried not to believe it, as the doubt seemed to be working for me. I went to sit in the sun to take a breather, gathered up my spotters ten minutes later, and sent.
I guess the moral of this story is: don’t take life so seriously. When you get shut down, just smile a little bigger. And, don’t forget to have fun : )
Click here for footage of the send!