I started climbing in September of 2010. Since then, my relationship with rock climbing, and more importantly, my climbing mantra, have changed quite a bit. Initially, I was in "Sponge" mode: I just absorbed all the information possible and then tried to determine what to do with this knowledge while climbing. I didn't realize it at the time, but my focus was mostly on technique. I've never been a strong person, and my only advantage was to learn really good technique in order to become a better climber.
Eventually I picked up the amount I was climbing, which naturally exposed me to more varieties of routes, inside and outside. I didn't lift weights or push myself too hard because climbing is supposed to be fun. Turning it into work would make it just that: work. So I knew that I would eventually become a better climber, but at my own pace. This concept of "natural progression" was what I have been harboring for quite some time now. While it's a wonderful frame of mind, it is also the main thing holding me back from being a better climber.
This past weekend, a number of small things have given me the desire to become a much better climber. To my boyfriend's delight, I asked him to start training me. I'm sure you're thinking what I'm thinking: this is a disaster waiting to happen. Be as it may, I know if I give myself over to his training regimen, I can become a solid 5.11 climber, and finally move past the 10c/d range that stumps me about 50% of the time.
Our plan is to meet once a week, usually Tuesdays, for "training day." Like the Denzel Washington movie, but with less guns. More to come on training day soon. In addition, once a week we will climb at our limit. Any other climbing that we do in the week will be purely for enjoyment.
I foresee a lot of campus boarding, overhang climbing, and leading in my future. I also foresee a lot of bitching in my future... poor Steve.
Not too long ago I came across this article, which talks about the barriers we set for ourselves in climbing and how to break them down in order to climb the ellusive (for some) 5.12 grade. It's a really fascinating article because I can honestly say that I am totally guilty of imposing these barriers on my climbing progress. The main two that I seem to be especially guilty of are: toproping when I could be leading, and not bouldering enough.
When I first started climbing I didn't know anyone. So when I would visit the gym I would just boulder by myself (that sounds really sad, doesn't it?). But when I finally started to meet people and got on rope again, I found that I was climbing so much harder than I realized I could. I need to remember that bouldering is what got me into my 10s, and therefore it can push me consistently into the 11s, and eventually 12s. And maybe one day 13s?
But the biggest thing holding me back is definitely my tendency to spend my time toproping instead of leading. Leading is incredible for your head game and trains you to not let go when you feel the burn in your arms.
I know it's old... but this 2010 Reel Rock trailer is one of the most inspiring climbing videos I have ever seen. If this doesn't make you want to be the very best climber you can be, then nothing will. So even if you've seen this before, I think you should watch it again for a little extra motivation. Enjoy: