Climbing is a sport that’s incredibly mentally involved. That’s not to say of course that other sports aren’t – but climbing can sometimes require you to make some very risky decisions, very quickly and quite often throws you towards the consequences of your actions, at an acceleration of 9.8m/s squared.
I stood sprawled across the rock, in balance but in trouble, a few metres above the last peg. I looked right and struggled to make out a sequence, I looked left and struggled the same. I’ll go left. Will I? yeah I’ll go left. I’m so close to that thread anyways.
I opened my eyes about 3 seconds later. “Yeah I’m fine – my whole body is buzzing!”.
Where am I though? I can smell grass.
“I think you snapped that peg cherry, look here it is”
Ah yes that was it. I had been a few metres above the last peg on Weasels Rip My Flesh (E4 6a) and had opted to take the short and reasonably safe-looking fall onto it. Evidently it hadn’t gone as planned, and I’d shortly joined Darren back on the ground. I sat up and check my head, arms, legs – all fine! Just a little bit bruised.
I must admit that taking a ground fall like that dashed my confidence a fair bit. Since taking a month break for a knee injury, I’d been really psyched to jump straight onto the many trad routes I’d been putting off this year, equipped with stronger fingers and more experience. But here I was, right at the beginning of my ‘summer tick-fest’ sat at the bottom of one of those routes with a broken peg in my hand and few holes in my jeans. It can really stifle your confidence if you’re knocked off your horse early on. It would have been nice to come back firing on all cylinders, but I seemed to have stalled at the first junction.
At times like this, it is best to exercise a little bit of perspective. This is one route, on one day, at one crag. If you let your failures chip away at you, they will steal from your future experiences. I was lucky to be able to walk away from this one unscathed, and be given the opportunity to get back on the horse. Climbers cannot always expect that their training will bring them directly to their goals. Training is just one of the cards you must hold in your hand!
For me, getting back on the horse was conquering The Dinorwig Unconquerable. I won’t bang on about it as much as I definitely could, but I will say that the thin jams above skiddy cams gave a memorable crack lesson. I was incredibly happy to onsight this (although I did have a little bit of an idea having belayed James on it) and tick another big name off my Big British crack list. BRING ON THE GLASSY GRANITE!