Thursday, November 18, 2010

Entering My Stretch Zone

I've been recently feeling I haven't been living up to my full potential as a climber. And I don't mean by this I could be training harder, or deserting my girlfriend and two dogs to be a climbing dirtbag. What I mean is I comfortably lead 5.9 and most 5.10's, but rarely am I looking in the guide book for 5.11's or harder. I stay in my 'comfort zone'. I haven't taken a lead fall in quiet a while (I can't rememeber the last one) because I haven't been pushing myself. I haven't been entering my 'stretch zone' Every so often I'll get a little adventurous and plan on climbing a 5.11a. Most recently I did this while at Rumbling Bald where I picked out the route "Shreaded Wheat".


Slotting the crux protection on "Shredded Wheat" 5.11a

This route follows a thinning finger crack 70 or so feet with barely anything to smear your feet on. I got on the route and lead it cleanly onsight! It was a great feeling, but what I felt most after was surprised. I was confident in myself and believed I could do it, but the words "I onsight 5.11a" just doesn't feel right rolling off my tongue.

To help me mentally train to push myself I started reading Arno Ilgner's Rock Warrior's Way. This is truly a must read for anybody serious about climbing. From beginner to expert, anyone can learn something from Arno's guidance. I've gotten through the first three chapters, and decided to stop there for now rather than cruise through like I wanted to. The lesson's go in a step-wise manner and I didn't want to skip too far ahead. Better to focus first on the "witness position" and observe my limiting behaviors. I think recognizing I can climb harder is the first step. Now after watching myself not commit to the crux of "The Seal" 5.10a and back down to the jug below the crux five times, I've learned lesson two: COMMIT!

Anyway, go pick this book up if you don't call climbing a 'hobby', like stamp collecting (ew). And check out Pro Climber Dave MacLeod's review.