It’s my party and I’ll climb what I want to

I haven’t had much time lately to write on my blog.  I’ve been trying to, but it seems I have all these big ideas for posts that I get a few sentences into before I realize it’s late and I’d be better off sleeping.  I’m going to try to get out of that habit and it will start with actually finishing this post and getting it up before going to bed!

This weekend I saw Margo Talbot at the Banff Film Festival and we had a great chat about being a beginner ice climber.  She said the most important thing (amongst other helpful advice!) was to get out and not worry about grades.

Then today, I read the latest post on Steph Davis’ blog.  It was a response to two letters that had been written to her by women who were frustrated with the level they were climbing at.  One part of her response in particular resonated with me.

“So just keep climbing, and figure out what works for you. If you feel more comfortable toproping all day, with an occasional attempt at leading something below your ability level, that’s okay. Just make sure you are enjoying your climbing. When you are really ready to push yourself, you will. The worst thing you can do is to push yourself when you are not ready for it.”

It’s taken me awhile to realize how true this is.  It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others or even your own expectations.  I’ve found that while it’s great to have goals, it’s not helpful to expect happiness will immediately come upon achieving them.  At first I wanted to be able to climb 5.10’s in the gym.  Then I wanted to climb a 5.11.  Then I wanted to climb a 5.11 on my first try.  Then I wanted to learn to lead climb.  Then I wanted to learn to multi-pitch climbing … etc.  I can see now that there always be a next step.  There will always be one more thing I’ll want to learn how to do or master.

When I started climbing, I wasted a lot of emotional energy wanting to be at a certain level.  Lately, I’ve made a concerted effort to not be bothered with grades or comparisons.  I still have a lot of goals I’ve set for myself and things I’d like to experience but I’ve found the journey there tends to be the best part.  Sometimes I feel like pushing myself hard and sometimes I don’t.  The less I worry, the more I’ve been enjoying myself and finding that things often fall into place when I least expect it.

ps.. here’s another article by Jenn Fields on the same topic which I really enjoyed reading “The competition is you”.  I could definitely relate to this!

pps.. I might have recently flashed my first 5.11!  Definitely felt like a bit of a rock star after that – pun intended :)

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  1. Woo, congrats on the first 5.11! Everything you said in this I have felt or feel about climbing. I often have to stop and remind myself why I love climbing. It’s not the grades, even though those are easy to get caught up on, and whether I’m leading or on top-rope who cares! Great post!

    • Thanks :) It is so easy to get caught up in things that are not important … I know I’m guilty of it many a time!

  2. Right on! Nicely done. I agree. Like any big project or ambition, it all starts with a step. Keep climbing and write whenever you can!


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