Of Pro­ject­ing

Three tips to make work­ing a route faster and more re­ward­ing


Your heart rate is pound­ing and you’ve just fallen at the same high point on your project, again. While low­er­ing to the ground, your mind loses that trance-like focus that you had while hold­ing on and the ques­tion­ing be­gins. “How many times have I fallen in that same place now, 20 or 30 times?” and “Why do I feel so weak?” Your skin is bleed­ing be­cause grab­bing the same holds for months has left your fingers with gashes. Your muscles ache and beg for longer and longer rests. The pres­sure of send­ing builds with every try and a melt­down like you had 10 tries ago doesn’t seem far away.

Tak­ing on a long-term project has one guar­an­tee and that is when it’s com­plete, you will not be the same per­son you were when you started. You can’t be, you have to grow and adapt and learn in or­der to get past a limit and get to the next level. The growth and learn­ing that goes on dur­ing this longer pro­ject­ing process is like a slow-dos­ing elixir to per­sonal growth and im­prove­ment. It’s chal­leng­ing to find an equiv­a­lent any­where else. At least that’s the story I tell my­self in or­der to keep smil­ing dur­ing the 80th try on the same climb.

My long­est project to date took roughly 10 years of work from the first day I tried it un­til the red­point last Novem­ber. That was not the only route that took some time (and tries), but it was one of my most mem­o­rable. I worked on de­vel­op­ing and ref in­ing bet­ter strate­gies for pro­ject­ing. Send­ing quicker is one such strat­egy, but more im­por­tantly, mak­ing the process more en­joy­able over­all is the focus. Th­ese three strate­gies helped me push through the tough times and in the process el­e­vated my climb­ing to an­other level.

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