Ontario’s Projecting Expert
Last summer, Sabrina Chapman became the first woman to climb 5.13d at Lion’s Head, with a remarkably smooth ascent of The Man in Me, a world-class test-piece first climbed by Daniel Martian.
In a day and age of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and countless other social media outlets, it seems as though fame is no longer just a representation of one’s climbing abilities, but instead a ref lection of how well one can market oneself. Some talented rock climbers choose to stay out of the spotlight, motivated purely by a silent love of the sport and not for sponsorships, fame and public glory. These unknown crushers are quietly cruising your projects in the shadows. Chapman is without a doubt Ontario’s methodical projecting machine. She has accomplished incredible feats under the radar, as a weekend warrior.
The Man in Me is one of the most technically demanding routes in Lion’s Head and it requires absolutely f lawless footwork, precise technique, and incredible finger strength. Many strong climbers have been thwarted by its shallow mono crux, which Chapman specifically trained for in the gym, with finger board work and core exercises to help support the body tension needed on these improbable holds. Lion’s Head is notorious for its tall blank walls with small pockets/crimps and limited options for feet, making the diff icult routes especially hard for the vertically challenged. But this fact has not stopped her from ticking away many of the areas hardest routes. She describes her experience on Man in Me as “pretty relaxed.” The humid conditions took a lot of the personal pressure off and when she sent the route it was unexpected. Ref lecting on her ascent, Chapman comments:
“I remember getting through the crux and suddenly being aware that I might send. I felt a rush of adrenaline, and then a thousand thoughts started racing through my brain. So when I got to the rest before the redpoint crux, I counted off 10 one-minute intervals as a way to stay present and avoid psyching myself up too much. When I came out of the rest I had no distractions and felt completely in the f low of the route.”
It is mental tactics like this that have furthered her success in the hard projecting game, along with an ever positive attitude and the ability to look at things logically rather than emotionally.
“I try to keep in mind that who I am is not how I perform. It’s easy to get down on yourself when you’re not seeing progress as quickly as you expect to, and negative self-talk can sometimes be the outcome of that frustration. I remind myself of small improvements I’ve made in a move or sequence, and set small goals for the route so I don’t get overwhelmed, like linking through sections, or climbing into and out of a hard sequence. If the difficulty is physical, I try to be honest about what it is that’s giving me trouble. Is that hold really too far, or is there a higher foot somewhere? Maybe I need to work on climbing more dynamically to get to that hold. Pinpoint the weakness and address it in the gym.” Chapman doesn’t let ego or competitiveness cloud her view, and is one of the most supportive and sportsmanlike climbers out there.
Sabrian Chapman on Man in Me 5.13d