Finding my Other Self

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ladyscarlett

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 13, 2013 - 05:14pm PT
Iíd done it, in a silly fit of crazinessÖ

Ďwanna lead?í

Ďyeah, sure, I can lead...í


I think Iíd poked the fire with an ongoing comment that at this stage of my climbing n00biness, I only lead what others solo. But hell, climbing is fun and leading especially so, even if everyone else solos where I haul gear.

ĎThe hardest part is the first few movesí

It looks steep...it IS steep. More continuously vertical than anything I can remember in my recent lead past. Heís right, the first few moves are stretch for me.


Strangely my sanity stays intact for the first few pieces, Iím in it now. This is a whole different kind of climbing for me...sustained, vertical, and continuous. The pro is there, but difficult for my n00b eyes to see, and I know in my head that with this kind of vertical terrain, my strength saps faster with every extra moment I am not moving upward. I can feel it in my fingernails, that my body, already pushed by two pitches of hard climbing at the farthest edge of by climbing ability, is coming to itís limit. Not now, not in the next 3 moves, but itís there, and I can feel it running down the back of my neck like an icy breeze. It worms in my brain as I continue to move upward, burrowing into a tenuous confidence that has taken a beating from being hauled up two roofs like a sack of potatoes. Iím not good enough to do this, except that Iím doing it, and the only way out is up.

My rack is getting lighter, the ropes are getting heavier, thank god for long slings. I hear that itís supposed to get easier high up because Iím less likely to hit the ground, but my brain and body donít believe it because my pro is desperate at best. Elvis leg is only one of all my problems. For the last stances, Iíve had to actively use the various fear management techniques that as a n00b are never automatic. Left is right, right is left, down is a painful looming reality, and up is still the only way out. And then thatís itÖ

Iíve stopped, I canít go any furtherÖand Iím not at the top.

When sketched out, Iím supposed to place pro, but the pro I need is 20 feet below me, supposedly keeping me safe. I canít do the move and thereís no pro - to either protect the move or bail (which really stopped being an option 8 cams ago).

Thereís no way out and panic blacks out my brain. Rather than freezing in my tracks, itís worse, my hands pitifully slap the surface of the rock and my feet alternately slide hopelessly across the smooth rock as my body goes through strange convulsions of desperation. Iím not in control in any way and I have no idea what my body is doing.

And then strangely, someone moves the fingers that are trembling in front of my face along a thin unlikely crack. My arm takes one of my remaining cams, and places it into that same crack, clips the rope. Someone is using magic and my body flows up the last steep face...I find my body on the first solid ledge Iíve felt in the last 30 feet and my body is mine again. As the emotional realization that Iím not going to die yet floods my brain, I chant out loudÖ

Ďitís not over, get to the top, get to the top, keep goingí

At the summit, Iím not entirely myself, but that other person is gone, back to wherever she came from, and itís me, feeling the physical and mental effects of a summit earned one drop of fear at a time.

And yeah...it still feels good.

With all the things in my past that have stopped or derailed me from a plan of action, I have years of proof that I am the kind of person who will quit at the first sign of hardship, to freeze upon danger, do anything possible to not break a sweat. My self confidence is based in the reality of my failures and weakness.

Yet sometimes...on magic days...I can find my other self, that person who can use magic, can walk up walls, and stick to smooth polish. Sometimes, I can be with that person who can overcome what lies ahead to reach the top.



I find out later that no one really solos that climb...so much for that!

Cheers

LS
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:17pm PT
Nice send!

Can you please lead my first pitch on the Captain for me next spring??
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:20pm PT
Well, somebody had to get the rope up that thing for those two old dudes.

But, kidding aside, well done.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:22pm PT
Strong work!

Can't believe that I live a couple of hundred miles from there and haven't visited.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
That's really cool. Evocative.
Thanks for a wonderful post.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:33pm PT
Gunks!
With rgold?
perswig

climber
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:36pm PT
That moment becomes a touchstone, waiting to be summoned at the next crux.

Nice work.
Dale
Leggs

Sport climber
Tucson, AZ
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
And then strangely, someone moves the fingers that are trembling in front of my face along a thin unlikely crack. My arm takes one of my remaining cams, and places it into that same crack, clips the rope. Someone is using magic and my body flows up the last steep face...I find my body on the first solid ledge Iíve felt in the last 30 feet and my body is mine again. As the emotional realization that Iím not going to die yet floods my brain, I chant out loudÖ

Ďitís not over, get to the top, get to the top, keep goingí

At the summit, Iím not entirely myself, but that other person is gone, back to wherever she came from, and itís me, feeling the physical and mental effects of a summit earned one drop of fear at a time.

And yeah...it still feels good.

Beautiful.

Great job, LS. ~xx
Curt

climber
Gold Canyon, AZ
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Welcome to the Gunks !!

Curt
anita514

Gym climber
Great White North
Nov 13, 2013 - 05:56pm PT
which route?
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Nov 13, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
WOOO HOOO!!!
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Nov 13, 2013 - 06:10pm PT
Nice to read. Tiffypoo.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 13, 2013 - 06:26pm PT
Cool report, thank you for posting. You and DMT seem like a good partnership. Don't see too many people climbing with one partner all the time! Well done!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Nov 13, 2013 - 06:54pm PT
LS....that is a stunning report. It just took me along.
Beautiful...the Gunks and surrounds are quite stunning aren't they? I miss them.

Susan
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Nov 13, 2013 - 07:29pm PT
Very nice tfpu.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Nov 13, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
Nice on so many levels....
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Nov 13, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
enlightenment is like matter:
it cannot be created nor destroyed,
only cycled,
thus in order to find your other self,
you had to shed some other infinite aspect
of your being.

that's completely rad,
im way into losing myself
in order to create voids
into which,
according to the inverse of bernouli's principle,
knowledge flows.
Evel

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Nov 13, 2013 - 09:34pm PT
Gunks in the fall are Most Excellent!
Leggs

Sport climber
Tucson, AZ
Nov 14, 2013 - 10:31am PT
Bump!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Nov 14, 2013 - 12:05pm PT
like
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