I ran into an old friend a week ago who asked me if I was still climbing.
While blogging, Instagramming, and posting on the ol’ facebook page haven’t made it to the top of my priority list for a while, you, my blessed reader, can safely assume that I am still climbing. I am always climbing. And if I am not climbing I’m training for climbing. And if I’m not training I’m resting from training or climbing…
You get the idea.
And yet, when my friend asked me that question I realized I was probably overdue for a status update. I always feel weird writing about my own climbing achievements, but I love seeing updates from fellow friends and climbers, and draw motivation from seeing others pursuing what they love. Regardless of what grade you climb, we all share a similar journey, and it can be inspiring just knowing that somebody else out there is still crazy psyched and diligently working to improve at the sport. And so, a status update:
For the past three years I have been living and working in Bend, OR, and have consistently added more and more structure into my to training life. At this point, I spend much of the winter and summer training indoors, and in large part have chosen to prioritize training and long term improvement over climbing outside all the time. In essence I’d rather train my ass off to climb 5.14, or even 5.14+ someday than climb a few extra 5.12’s this year, or next.
So far progress is slow. There really is no magic formula. All we can do is be persistent: always pushing ourselves hard enough to improve, while knowing when to back off to avoid injury. Put in hard work, and be patient when results fall short of expectations. Learn from our failures, make adjustments where needed, and press on ahead. Love the process, and find beauty in the struggle.
With as much effort as I’ve put in to training, I honestly thought that by now I would be climbing harder than I am. Sometimes progress comes so slowly I wonder if I’ll ever climb 5.14, let alone the numerous .14b and .14c ‘dream routes’ on my bucket list. Yet, every so often, small victories show quantifiable progress over previous years or seasons, and that makes all the difference in the world.
While 2015 was not the ‘breakthough’ year I hoped it would be, there are a few highlights that stand out to me and show progress, however slow: my fastest 5.13 ascent to date, doing Slit Your Wrists 5.13b in three tries; my best weekend of climbing ever, with three 5.13’s in a two-day trip to Equinox; and my hardest roped climb to date, with Mama Docus 5.13c at Smith Rock.
Newsworthy? No. Not even for a 10-year-old girl. But could I have done those things the year before? Absolutely not. And that’s awesome.
As for now, winter is in full swing and I’m grindin’. Sleep, eat, work, train, repeat. I’m super motivated right now, and excited about some new ideas I will be trying with my training over the next couple months. Hopefully they bring another leap forward in my climbing this coming year. I guess time will tell.