Trip Report
The Problem
Saturday August 10, 2013 4:22pm
Credit: GDavis

This is a little story about a trip I went off to the Gunks in Tuolumne. I was stressing out about some drama in my life and needed to distract myself, and found myself grappling with The Arete and Mean Green with the same approaches. In the end I managed to climb The Arete (sans pad, because REAL dirtbaggers don't have room for a crash pad in their Sedan's ;D) and flail horrifically on Mean Green. Which is cool, 'cuz it's hard. So I wrote this short thingy. I hope you enjoy, I didn't take pictures (of myself bouldering... hard to do) so I attached one cool one from First Lake by Big Pine of a buddy - there's an awesome ~5.8 Offwidth just near the old mining cabin, so hopefully I'll get some Wyde love from y'all!

The Problem

Today I went to solve a Problem.

The Problem wasnít something I knew how to solve. I would approach it anxious and stressed over what might become of me through the process.

Hiking up the hill there was little else to think of. Seeing it for the first time there was a line of weaknesses on the face. Gingerly I handled them as I was repulsed by them.

There was no way these holds would bear my weight. There has to be something else. Scrubbing with a brush can reveal slight indentations on The Problemís crux holds, perhaps a clue to itís Answer. Feeling the smooth knobs and razor-sharp credit card edges was not re-assuring; it seemed The Problem was not going to go that way. There had to be something else.

Here, there, there were other distractions to focus on. I tried hard to grapple with them, to own them as truths. Pasting feet delicately on their crumbling bodies, they bore no weight Ė these were not Truths, this was not The Answer, and no amount of smearing could be held on their crumbly surface. No one had used these before, I must have known, yet I wanted badly for them to work for me.

Ask a friend and they might tell you The Answer. Hell, you might even listen, but that isnít getting you up and over the obstacle standing monolithic in your periphery. Indeed, even unsolicited beta might be the key to unlocking The Problem. It also might throw the key away as Iím stuck criss-crossed and sideways on someone elseís advice.

Perspective. See the whole picture.

I remember walking up to The Problem the first time, before there was time to think about the consequences of failure. I went back to the sharp edges and rounded bumps, intent on moving past them.

So much of my focus was spent looking for a way to skirt what I deemed insufficient, ignoring the face in front of me. Dead center, this was what needed to be dealt with. Not around to the left, not below and to the right, the way up this impossible issue was tackling it head on and giving it all of my strength.

The fingers slid off so easily. Soon skin cracked and blood seeped from weary skin, unable to take the stress of sharp truth. That was The Problem, and always had been. The Ego said it was anything else but lack of ability or flaw of character.

Walking away isnít failure but acceptance. At best there was something from The Problem I could take with me, some small truth about the way a weakness needed to be tread. There will always be Problems, and If looking deeply enough to see the flaws of my own strength isnít possible then once I need to call on it I wonít know where to muster.

I am not strong enough. That is The Answer. That is what I went out to find.

  Trip Report Views: 1,057
About the Author
Greg Davis goes bouldering sometimes.

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Social climber
joshua tree
  Aug 10, 2013 - 04:31pm PT

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Aug 10, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
take the low road, greg.
cancel your job interviews
and commit whole-heartedly
to a writing career.

it sounds desperate when
you're humbly poised below the giant,
insurmountable idea above and within you,
but believe me and believe yourself

that once you leave the comfortable
turf of complacency,
you will rise and morph to meet
the unexpected challenges (blessings)
that await you.

i don't know your story,
other than what i've read here.

but it seems that you've a stubborness
within that invites struggle;

or better put,
you don't easily accept a bullshite path
that conveniently falls at your feet.

so continue to heed the messages echoing off the
walls of the universe, for their's origin
is within your heart.

  Aug 10, 2013 - 09:48pm PT
Nice tale, I can relate.

Mean green = ouch sharp


Trad climber
Technically...the spawning grounds of Yosemite
  Aug 10, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Perhaps it is less about strength...and more about letting go...

You express yourself beautifully and on so many different levels. I really enjoy your writing!
Fish Finder

  Aug 11, 2013 - 09:06am PT
Things are not always as they seem.

The truth lies in your imagination.

  Aug 11, 2013 - 09:14am PT
Mean green = ouch sharp


I was surprised to see it rated a 7. Always thought it was a 5. And I was doing it padless back then.

But it probably has gotten a bit slicker.
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