Ab­sence Makes the Heart Grow Fon­der

5.

Gripped - - TRAINING AND TECHNIQUE - Mark Smith has been climb­ing for over 20 years and is a pas­sion­ate ed­u­ca­tor to the climb­ing com­mu­nity.

“I give up. You won this bat­tle.”

The drive to the crag is al­ways filled with hope, but fail­ing on the last ef­fort of the week­end makes for a long drive home and a lin­ger­ing ques­tion that will slowly erode your mo­ti­va­tion. Re­tool and con­tinue the war or ad­mit that the en­emy of your habits and fac­ing dis­com­fort are too great a foe to fight any longer.

The beauty of climb­ing projects is that they don’t run away. Crux holds will stay where you left them and your project won’t no­tice­ably change sea­son to sea­son. In­stead, you’re the one who changes. Growth is in­evitable for us all and, as time passes, the other climbs we do and the ex­pe­ri­ences we ad­ven­ture through un­til we re­turn will shape us and help our later at­tempts.

For me, a project is like a mile marker in time that clearly shows me how much I have grown. If noth­ing is chang­ing each time I re­turn, then I need to slow down and re­ally lis­ten to what I am say­ing dur­ing my next at­tempt.

Dial 911 was the first route I took a real break from and it took about three years away to re­coup my dam­aged ego. Re­turn­ing af­ter a break let me en­joy the process while let­ting go of the con­stant de­sire to con­trol my climb­ing suc­cess. When I be­came aware and lis­tened to these im­por­tant com­ments, the send came quickly and ev­ery try pro­vided valu­able lessons.

Sit­ting at the an­chors for the last time and un­able to stop smil­ing, I fi­nally grad­u­ated from Dial 911. While savour­ing that spe­cial feel­ing of earn­ing some­thing through en­dur­ing hard work, only one ques­tion came to mind, “What will my next project teach me?”

The pur­suit of mak­ing our seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble, pos­si­ble, is a cy­cle. Ev­ery time we go through a rev­o­lu­tion, we re­al­ize that we are stronger than we thought and lim­its are only classes in life we have yet to at­tend.

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