Thursday, 9 May 2013

The True Line: Where did it start and where will it end? By Jen Wilby

" It is better to travel well than to arrive"

Early morning view from the van in the Peak

I wrote a blog some time ago about why we climb, it looked at what drives us to climb and how the non-climbing community perceive us. However what about our individual motivations ?

When I started climbing about seven years ago, I started on trad. I was taught to select something to climb because I liked the look of it. Be "it" a stand out feature, the location or just because the line was a classic. Something done "back in t day" by a climbing legend without the equipment we have today. This gave me an appreciation of what makes the history of climbing. 
Of course a lot of it at the start was about pushing myself and seeing how far I could get. My competitive nature pushed me. Now, however, its about the beauty of the line, about being in the environment, kipping in the van, the moves and being away from the hustle and bustle.

This is not the same for everyone, and although I don't wish to use these blogs as a method of venting my frustration or anger or to push my views out, this is an area I would like to open up for dicsussion. 

Over the last 12 months I have been fortunate to meet many different types of climbers who have many different motivations. The breed of climbers I have encountered more than not are those who strive for a all costs. 

I was once asked for recommendations in the Peak District, when I inquired about what kind of thing they were looking for, the response was "7b", I asked if they had ever been before, the answer was no. I was shocked. There seems to be  no more exploration, no more apprenticeships on rock, getting sand bagged, going on an adventure. There are so many fantastic lines out there that this generation will never experience...this angers me. Why? I'm not sure, maybe its because I remember some fantastic times, exploring, looking for blocs, getting sandbagged, wondering how folk back in t day did it...all very memorable. Or maybe its because I'm about to turn 30 and I am getting old and cynical.

A classic example of this is the black circuit at Buthiers in Font. I went there many moons ago and had a fantastic time with friends going around the blocs and finding them very hard for the grade. In Nov last year I took my climbing partner to look at these wonderful lines (it was a wet day!) however to my dismay, the blocs looked dirty, like they have not been climbed on in years. I pondered why this might be....? Because the blocs are old school technical, not jumpy, because you can't match the last hold and jump off, because there is nothing on the circuit about 6c...I find it sad. 

The ethics around dabbing...when is a dab a dab? Where do you stand on the matter? Can you start a bloc on the holds that are within reach, often meaning for the taller they would start a few moves in? With the development of technology many folk are using videos at the crag to get beta. Whilst this will help in locating blocs, finding lines you like the look of, what happened to figuring it out, solving the problem? Where is the satisfaction at not being able to do something one minute then with a little thought and a little tweek, Ulrika! You did a move....! Can the videos be trusted? Are they promoting different ethics or are the ethics changing with the generation of climbers coming through? I witnessed a case recently where a video was used and the person in the video started the bloc two moves in...This generation is missing out on a whole heap of experiences which makes us better climbers and I believe people.

Where did it start and where will it end? is it due to an increase in activity in indoor climbing walls? The "match the hold" and drop off mentality because " the hard part is done"? No more standing at the bottom and not finishing until you are stood on top of that bloc....

Why are we scared of trying & failing? Surely it is better to try and fail than to never have tried at all. My brother is Mixed Martial Artist (MMA) and he recently spent months training, cutting it weight, being constantly hungry and super focused, made many sacrifices ready for a 3 x 5 min round fight. He said he never felt as prepared for a fight. He got knocked out towards the end of the first round, he said he had never been hit that hard...and he's been hit! I questioned why we sacrifice so much only to be shut down. He said the same, better to try than never to try. He publicly put himself out there & I admire him for that. Climbers often climb in remote locations, sometimes in front of many people, sometimes alone. So why are we scared of coming back from some where, faced with the question of "What did you do?" and saying " nothing...but I tried a lot & my hardest"? Why do we have to say we did something? Why do we believe doing it somehow makes us accepted? 

I personally don't care how hard folk climb, all that matters is they went and matter that the outcome....

Apologies if this comes across as a rant or if I have inadvertently offended someone with these questions, I hope that it sparks some thought into it and debate...or it will prove I m just getting cynical :) Off my soap box!!!

The last blog I wrote was post Font, the importance of rest & training. I have now finished my strength phase and I feel stronger, however I do struggle as soon as one hand leaves the hold or campus rung. So this is an area I am to focus on over the coming months. Oddly I can pull my body weight up on a campus rung, but not a bar....any ideas on why that is???

Core has been the other area I have been focusing on and I feel so much better for it. With the Grit season being longer than expected, I've had a fantastic few outings in the Peak trying to tick some blocs, the most satisfying one I did was Soft on the G at Gardoms, desperate until you know how...

One of the most stunning and classic lines in the Peak for me though is West Side Story at Burbage West, I love the line & and balance it requires. I haven't done it, but have now got to the 3rd sloper and jumping...just got to keep trying and I love trying it.

I'm now into my power phase which is moving dynamically between holds, this was a huge weak area for me and I feel like I have improved heaps so I am very happy with this. Still work to be done though.

I've taken this week as a rest week as I have very little skin left and tonight I am off to North Wales for a long weekend to celebrate not being in my 20's any longer. I'm gutted the weather has taken a turn, but the boulder, trad & sport gear is I hope to find something to climb! I'm looking forward to taking the new addition with us for the adventure...Podey the Podenco...

Thanks to Gaz & Kate for the destruction, chaos and adventures he's brought!

Happy Climbing

Sit start via the crack of the Matterhorn Arete at Almscliff

Trying Electrical Storm at Burbage South Edge

No comments:

Post a Comment