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.