That moment when your alarm goes off and the only adventure you believe you have stamina for, is in dreamland. There was a possibility that we’d be doing a grueling 5 pitch climb and I was worried that after not having climbed for a while; I’d let my team down by running out of steam / finger strength!
On days like this when you’re questioning why you climb; you just need to trust that you will add value and that all you need to do is pitch up and not overthink things (especially while you’re still waking up).
The same way one finds a way to live up to one’s responsibilities, regardless of how you feel; so it is with climbing. As long as you don’t let imaginary risks freeze you, you will come through.
The cable car was closed due to strong winds and a whole busload of tourists was turned away. I couldn’t have been happier, climbing on the Lower Buttress would be less exposed.
Today was all about climbing style for me, how would I maximize the use of my legs in order to save my finger tendons? How could I get comfortable with hanging away from the crag, in order to get enough space between me and the rock in order to see the multitude of opportunities for making me feel more secure.
Bombay and Delhi Belly have a cheesecake slice topography. You work your way through layers of magnificent wedges. The sun made the rock appear fudge-coloured and Riaan made traversing between wedges, look like a piece of cake. The rails have a melted Bar One texture: slippery and smooth from all the climbing traffic.
Even when you’re standing on a little pebble; the glossiness takes away any sense of comfort that it will hold your weight! This is no problem when, like me you are following but leading these popular routes requires one to live on a prayer. Smearing up those lay back cracks becomes more reliable than finding feet.
Anton reminded me that I’d solved this before; that I’d know what to do in the moment. Once I’d reached the roof; that squashed traverse looked particularly uncomfortable. There was no room for rigidity or concrete in one’s spine! When I found a great little finger lockable handle, I felt more able to fold my body, like a crouching spider. Twisting and bending doesn’t come naturally to me but one needs to adapt to one’s territory or suffer. As soon as I put aside my default climbing style and submitted to what was required, things became a great deal more comfortable.
Riaan challenged me to only use the crag face and not the other rock that one could use for stemming. By opting for an inspiring route, one can always back-out later but if you don’t try it; you’ll never know your own potential!
Anton was experimenting on Dehli Belly and both of them opted for Belly contortion-ism and roof acrobatics from above. After a while my mind quietened down and I was able to be still and just soak in the scenery and the sun. There were other climbers who changed their plans because of the howling winds and there was another group dealing with flakey Left Hall.
Letting go of self-centredness is the first step to a meaningful existence. As one gains altitude, one’s challenges shrink in relation to the vastness of the territory… that is why I climb!