the numbers game or a lapse in judgement

8 07 2008

we are proud to present a guest post from the one and only the reverend.  this post signifies the beginning of what we are calling “the summer of best content” summer content drive.  for the next few weeks look for exciting posts from all your favorite post authors as we plumb the depths of rockclimbing’s barren spiritual landscape.  ’til then, keep rockclimbing upwards!


Here’s the spoiler of the article, right up front: my lapse in judgement was my short-sighted loss of this or that grade-attainment. Which brings me to the article. . .

Ever since I hurt my back in march, I haven’t been the same. Pre-hurt-back Phase (PhbP, not to be confused with PhbP: Post-hurt-back Phase -which I will get to soon enough), was the hardest I’d ever climbed.  Other climbers started to turn their heads when I was getting on a cool-looking problem or route to check out my sickness on the stone. My friends started getting jealous of what I was climbing (totally wishing that I would fall, just so they didn’t look so bad). And girls loved watching me climb with my shirt off. This one time a girl told me straight up to take my shirt off.  Nevermind that i was complaining about the intense spring heat while wearing a long sleeve thermal shirt; she wanted to see dem ‘gunz’.  Anyway, long-story short, I was the up-and-coming local badass.

Then came that damned POP! A strained muscle right in the middle of my back. It hurt like a b!tch. And did so for almost 2 weeks. To which I ponderously thought of as a good time to take a break.

Boy was i wrong.

Contrary to what “they” say, it is never a good time to take a break. You get weak. Period. Don’t believe otherwise.  If NOT climbing made you strong, gumbies would be rock gods.

Which brings me to PhbP (Post-hurt-back Phase). When i started back from 2 weeks off with no physical activity, I thought it would be a good time to regain the “joy” of climbing. Just to have fun and not worry about doing the next number in the V-scale, or breaking into the next number in the YDS (Yosemite Decimal System. They use it in rating routes… you know, unnecessarily long climby things… with ropes… and gear… Oh, never mind… You’re a boulderer aren’t you?!)

Anyway, here I am almost 3 months later. Still unmotivated. Still not liking to climb (read: not even liking indoor climbing. Zing!). It’s not because I haven’t tried. I have. I’ve gone to the Red a couple times. While the comraderie was good, the climbing was just so-so; I wasn’t climbing anything special. I’ve even tried climbing at the Cooper House (the latest and greatest in lex-town indoor technological urban lifestyle -which is to say, the pinnacle of climbing: which is an indoor bouldering home-gym. Zing!). But all of this to no avail. It’s just not fun.

And I’m starting to figure out why. To truly enjoy climbing you need grades. Otherwise It’s like masturbation -something you do but don’t tell anyone about. So what fun is it to do a really fun V3 or some really fun 5.11a? There’s not much compared to saying you finally did these two super-fun 7Cs in a day, or how you just flashed some really cool 7b+. (which actually isn’t that much compared to doing the hottest new climb, Fifty Words For Pump at the Red River Gorge, 8c+) And the comparisons go on and on. . .

As i was saying, what fun is it to do a problem or route that one of your friends can’t do (and that they think is hard) if you can’t tell them you did it (while pretending that you didn’t think it was that hard)? There is no self-worth in not being able to do that! Without grades you can’t prove that you are climbing harder than you have before. Which makes you feel good, and which is fun. Which also would prove that you are climbing harder than your friends. Which makes you feel really good, and which is also really fun! Without grades, climbing is just, well, climbing; Monkeys do that.

Right now i’m not as good as i once was. But hopefully, when my judgement relapses and I realize that climbing is about the grades, I’ll be psyched to check out the cool-looking problem or route that your having so much trouble with. I’ll be able to do it within a couple of go-s and give you some beta on it. Then maybe you could get a high-point. That would totally make you feel good about yourself,  and I’d finally be having some fun.

So what are you waiting for, go have some “fun” (e.g. sending harder and harder grades!),





3 responses

8 07 2008

this is a very brave and humble post.

i’d downgrade it, but it’s not rated.

8 07 2008

seems contrived.

8 07 2008

don’t nobody be hatin’ now! besides, i’d never grade a post. i’d wait for a concensus from the masses. of course i’d then reply whether or not they were right or wrong.

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