Sab­rina Chap­man

On­tario’s Pro­ject­ing Ex­pert

Gripped - - STORY - Story by Les­lie Timms

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

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