Thursday, 3 July 2014

Without Hope or Ambition - By Jen Wilby


What is this raging fire
And anguish that consumes the heart?
Why is it so strong
As to rip mind to pieces
And temper heart into sweet complacency?

My passion lights my blood ablaze
And inspires me to travel
To the edge of the earth for answers.
The most complex and unforgiving problems
Seduce my mind,
Clutch at my very soul, and tear out my heart.

Why does my ambition plague me so?
Why does this endless restlessness
Grip me so harshly?
Why must my emotions entrench themselves in such
Cruel whimsy,
Swerving like the raging water in a river?

Shall I sit in this agony as
it Stains my soul?
Shall I lie as this torrent glimpses my weakness
Lulls my defence,
And, as a phoenix bursts to flame, takes the flesh to ashes and I along with?
It is man’s most insolent beast, that which craves and aspires.
And there are none to comprehend the depth of nature to desire.

Hope, the optimistic attitude of mind, based on an expectation of positive outcomes, something which I believe we should not have, as it focuses the mind on the future without actually taking control of it and focusing on the present. Ambition, the strong desire to do or achieve something, which I have in abundance…in winter.  When I first started climbing it was all about routes, and they were awesome, bouldering was just something I played around with in between. I’m not sure when the change happened, when I realised that I enjoyed bouldering so much more, and I’ve never really thought about it up until now. Bouldering for me allows a sense of freedom, I get so much satisfaction from just one move, one single move can consume so much time and energy and the happy dance comes out when that move is achieved, even if the whole boulder problem has not been completed – that’s just an added bonus. However, I am also incredibly stubborn when it comes to boulders, if I get that “feeling” that it will go, I will try and try and try, until physically I can’t any longer. Sometimes this pay’s off, sometimes it doesn’t. When it does, the feeling is amazing, when it doesn’t, it’s so frustrating. I walk away wondering if the time I spent on it was worth it, sometimes it seems like such a waste of time. Spending so much time, and often skin, on one move. Forget all that, it’s totally worth it even if I then have to have a few days off to grow the skin and stop the aches :D Climbing is awesome!
However, and odd realisation this month, has been that I actually get more satisfaction from completing a route than a boulder problem, maybe this is because I find routes a lot harder, requiring more than just power, but the knowledge of when to rest, how to rest, recovery, reading holds and moves. So when the chains are clipped, there is so much satisfaction and after clipping the chains of something which has taken so much work, I often re-live that route in my head for many days after. I sometimes do this with boulder problems, but not often. I’m normally read to move on to the next one.

This month, I tied into the end of a rope for the first time in two years. It’s taken long enough to admit that it’s the time, as going to the Lakes or North Wales to boulder every weekend is just not an option, and now I live in Yorkshire, it would be a crime not to get on the Limestone!  The first stop, Trollers Gill!

Trollers Gill
I wasn’t overly psyched, just because it had been so long, but Trollers Gill is in a really cool location up a dry river bed in a gorge. The walk in is very pleasant and it’s worth going just for the walk, beyond the crag to view some awesome Yorkshire scenery. We were the only climbers there, so I could express my sincere trepidation, but I found I was keen to just get on with it. I find if I have time to think about things, I tend not to perform, this has been evident since my swimming days. So off we trundled, laying low on the 6a+ warm up first – pumped, so so pumped by the time I got to the top. This is when I realised that if I wanted to do anything on routes, I would have to invest a lot of time on power endurance. A few years back before heading back to Catalunya, I spent weeks and weeks just going up and down routes, lapping for 20 mins at a time, and found myself able to recover of some of the smallest holds. Am I prepared to do that this year for routes…no, honestly, I’m not. This year is all about preparing for the winter, to get on more physical problems, get on more problems, and be a physically stronger climbing. So, and I quite Freddie Naish, the attitude towards routes this year is “without hope and ambition”, but is it? At Trollers Gill I still got on some harder routes, maybe with a little hope and ambition.

Despite not focussing on routes, I still want to explore the Yorkshire Limestone, so the next stop was Giggleswick. The guidebook showed this crag to be a perfect mileage destination, which I thought would get me back into the swing of things. I don’t know whether it was the time of the year we went, however, it wasn’t what it was described as. Some routes were loose, not very inspiring and it’s a very bad crag for hayfever sufferers, you have been warned! So we decided mileage was not an option, off to Hollywood Bowl it was!

Hollywood Bowl
This crag is not your usual Yorkshire Limestone destination, it has tufa’s! However, it quickly becomes apparent that these tufa’s are not your European tufa’s, those grippy little things which you love grappling with. Be warned, these tufa’s are Yorkshire Limestone tufa’s, slippy, even when not wet and it takes some cunning and brute power to crack them! It’s all goof fun though and there are a few good routes here.

The next stop – Kilnsey! The classic impressive crag.

The stunning crag of Kilnsey

I’ve been to Kilnsey once, a few years back but didn’t do much, so I was keen this year to actually do something on this awesome crag. Bearing in mind, I have no endurance, I went for the shortest route a 10m 7a+ at the far right hand side. It’s got an awesome little boulder problem at the start and then some big moves between big holds, it’s a very enjoyable route!
Comedy is the route which sticks out, a short bulging route which is described as “a modern test piece which is easy for thugs”. Well, that’s not my style, so best get on it. I’ve always wanted to do it, but with that description and with the fact there is always a rope on it, I’ve never been on. I am now fortunate enough to be able to go on an evening, so one Friday evening,  I would like to say I was keen to get on it, but I feel I was bullied into it – however, I loved it and treated it as move for move, not thinking about the chains at the top, but just about the next clip. I enjoyed it so much that first go, I’ve been back again after work to have a go at trying to make some of the moves a little more efficient, however, it is as I feared, thug your way up. Although I haven’t finished this route, I am keen to tie back in and get on it! Who would have known! I got on Comedy because I have hope, hope that one day I will do this route, and I have the ambition to do this route. Whether I am willing to put the work into get there is another question, which is were hope proves void. Therefore, I am doing routes without hope and without ambition, to just enjoy the moves for what they are, individual moments in time which take you away from the past and from the present and provide so much satisfaction. What more is there to it?

Photo's of Comedy - taken by Freddie Naish - MD of The Project Climbing Centre


This week see’s the end of the first training cycle. I was due to be doing power endurance over the last few weeks, which should have tied in nicely with routes, however I’ve done very little PE work and just used the time to climb. With the Tour de France this weekend, it marks the start of a couple of weeks of rest. I’m not too sure how I am going to cope with that, but I will use the time wisely and look at what I want to achieve during the next cycle, which I am super excited about starting. My last blog detailed how I was going to change my diet, I am still going to do this, but I am going to start it when I start the next cycle so I can see the full effect of the supplements and be able to compare more easily to the cycle of not really caring about the nutrition side.

That’s all for now folks, I’m off for a decent rest, lots of sleep, a detox and another planning session.

Happy Climbing!

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