Summer Update

The thing about a blog is that it's a nice digital logbook. Little snippets of places, experiences, and thoughts that I felt were worth sharing. I haven't been keeping up with posting here lately and that's due to a number of things: lack of inspiration, ideas, and time. I've been climbing a lot and I have visited the Red three times in a span of a month. But on each of these, I didn't even bring my camera. Besides not wanting to lug around 5-7 extra pounds of equipment that is easily broken, I just haven't felt the desire to be the "documenter" of these trips. I want to be along for the ride and just enjoy it without  feeling........somewhat disconnected from everyone else. When I take a lot of photos on trips, it sometimes feels like I'm on the job instead of being on vacation.

At the same time, I do regret not having some quality photo memories of these little weekend escapes. Maybe next time I'll bring my gear and just take a few snaps to look back on, but for now. Here are a few iPhone grabs to show you where I've been in the past few months.

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Failing is Good for You

A few quick thoughts on failure after a weekend of climbing in Tennessee and not necessary succeeding. These are mostly applicable to my situation of being shut down over and over while leading a 5.9 named L.A.G., but maybe these thoughts can work in general life as well.

  1. Failing puts your ego in check. You aren’t as amazing as you think you are. Get your brain back down on the same plane as everyone else. Have confidence in your abilities, but don’t think you’re the most talented person in the room.

  2. It means you tried! Most likely, it also means you tried something difficult and or scary. Even if you didn’t nail it, you pushed yourself outside your comfort zone.

  3. You’ll do better next time. Even if you don’t finish, you’re progressing forward with each piece you put together.

  4. You probably learned something. Maybe how to do better and also have a better attitude next time.

  5. Anyone who has never made a mistake, has never tried anything new - Albert Einstein

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"It’s a tough route but it's all there!"

“If the weather’s good, I’d love to go outside this weekend”. Usually that sentence gets thrown around at the gym and it’s a lot of “I wish I could, but”....and then the idea fades. Somehow this weekend the stars aligned and a solid group of seven all committed to Kings Bluff.

It was almost too cold when we left in Saturday morning, but by the time we arrived at the bluff, the sun was shining perfectly on the rocks, and we were all shedding layers after we tied our figure eights.

It had been almost a year to the day since I’d been sport climbing outdoors. It’s amazing how much harder a 5.9 is outside than in the gym. It was a lovely and humbling reminder at how much strength is needed when you’re outside doing the real thing. Gym grades are sometimes inflated or exaggerated, but none of that really matters. The main thing is to have a good time, enjoy the climb, make some memories, and come home in one piece.

I think my favorite thing about a group getting together to climb, is the description of the routes/the beta we give. If only I had written down the ridiculous things we'd say to one another. One I do remember is this little tidbit of advice given when my friend had taken a pretty good fall and was trying to figure out what she’d missed before a second attempt. “Well, it’s a pretty tough route but it's all there!”. Noted.

Anyway, I'm already itching for the next trip and a few more quotes.

P.S. Shootout to Clinton for snagging shots while I climbed!

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What I Wish I Knew When I First Started Climbing

No one is judging you. We all started where you started.

And honestly, if someone is judging you, they are probably just a trash person to begin with. It’s your first time, You aren’t going to be a pro and no one thinks you should be. You do those 5.5 climbs on top rope and those v0 boulder problems for as long as you need. Everything is an accomplishment and you’re doing better than half the population who can’t leave their couch. With time, you’ll get stronger. Start where you start and don’t feel insecure about it.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The employees and members are happy to help you out 99% of the time. Not sure what the ratings mean? ASK. Don’t know how to do the next move on the boulder route you’ve been staring at for an hour? ASK. Don’t remember the belay method from the last time you climbed a month ago? ASK - especially when it's a safety concern.

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You’ll understand the lingo later on.

Google is your friend. I didn’t know what half the terms people were throwing around were when i first started, but now I’m just as annoying as they are…..
And if you want a handy cheat sheet I definitely looked at this one when I first started.

People are going to give you unwanted help.

I know I said you should ask if you need it, but sometimes half the fun of climbing is figuring it out for yourself. “Beta” - basically a term for “how to do the route” - is going to be spewed at you constantly. Especially if you are a lady climber. Feel free to tell them to cut it out and let you do it yourself!

Paired with this, if you're still a beginner, don't give advice to climbers who have clearly been climbing for a while. I said earlier that no one would be judging you...........but.............in this instance, they will. A fine line, I know, but you'll catch on!

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If you're hooked on climbing and decide to buy your own gear, make sure you buy shoes that are too small.

I didn’t believe what all the seasoned climbers told me and I bought shoes that felt awesome when I tried them on in the store………and just like they said, they are way too big and nearly impossible to climb in. $100 down the drain. Just deal with the discomfort, agony, and pain and then you’ll have the perfect shoes.

Along with that, if you’re still a beginner climber, all you need a harness, shoes, chalk bag, and a carabiner + ATC. Don’t start buying quickdraws, ropes, hand jammies, slings, etc. before you know how to use them. Get comfortable in the basics and then decide to grow your gear closet.

Those are just a few things that might help you out if you're brand new to climbing and worried about a scary gym atmosphere. If you have any climbing questions feel free to leave a comment or send me a message and I'd love to help you if I can! Happy climbing!