My time in Canada is quickly approaching the end, and for my final weekend Jon and I decided, last minute, to head to Squamish. We had plans to go sport climbing at the lovely Horne Lake, where you can find spectacular spanish-style limestone, but due to our overall desire to be stacking those pads versus clipping those bolts, we took the ferry over to the mainland.
I consider myself more of a sport climber than a boulderer, not just because I tend to send harder routes than boulders, but mostly because I enjoy it more. I love the mental challenge of sport climbing-of pushing my absolute limit through a crux and having to keep my mind (and body) together enough to reach the anchors. The idea of pushing higher on harder and harder routes is captivating. When I think about previous difficult routes that I have accomplished and how my body felt, I actually begin to crave that feeling. Or when I think about successful lead competitions, I crave those moments. But for some reason, I just can’t find that crave right now. Or rather the motivation to fulfill those cravings.
Maybe it’s because of the amount of coaching I’ve been doing since June. Or maybe it’s because I have had an unusually long ‘rest’ period because I didn’t have a Lead World Cup to compete in this fall. But in all reality, it’s probably the combination of the two. And I can’t really say that this ‘rest’ has been a bad thing, since I recognize it’s probably a good thing for my body, overall, but it still doesn’t make it any easier. Especially when I think of my accomplishments on rock last year – I can’t help but feel behind on my performance this year. I mean, I’ve done one difficult route this year and that’s all (and it was absolutely amazing). I haven’t even tried anything harder, much less, put on my harness much at all, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad. But when I let my mind get the best of me, I do feel a little bad.
I haven’t put my harness on much this year because I’ve actually found more motivation for bouldering. So when I noticed the sun was going to be shining in Squamish, I jumped on the ferry to the mainland immediately and skipped the Spanish-style limestone without much thought. Squamish is one of the most beautiful bouldering settings I’ve ever been to…most of the boulders are located below The Chief within what feels like an enchanted forest. It’s easy to get turned around within the maze of moss covered trees and endless boulders scattered everywhere you look. There’s mini-boulders and giant-boulders alike, and I’m pretty sure anyone could find a few boulders that taylor to their own style.
My mission for our quick trip to Squamish was to simply climb. I told myself that I was not to chase grades to makes myself feel better for feeling somewhat ‘behind on my performance,’ (because I realize that’s such a silly thought to have anyway) and instead I was going to climb whatever I could (that looked motivating) and to support Jon, who had some boulders in mind that he wanted to accomplish.
And what a lovely weekend it turned out to be. Jon and I played around on the mini-boulders each morning to warm up – we would climb, and I would run to stuff my feet in my jacket and hand warmers to combat minor raynauds that I get in my toes and fingers. And we just kept going all day Sunday and Monday. We searched for boulders, warmed up on top 100’s, took some iPhone photos, and chased puma through the forest. Unfortunately everything that Jon had his sights on was wet due to the moss on those boulders, but he did manage to do some hard boulders! And for me, my proudest ascent was Baba Hari Dass because the temps were perfect and it’s slopey, which is not my normal style, but also because it was so FUN! 🙂
Being in the forest with Jon and Puma reminded me that climbing is all about fun. Sometimes I get stressed about the thought of not sending harder (and more in quantity) routes than I did the year before and I temporarily lose sight of where the FUN actually is. I’m not really sure when I will find my motivation to tie into a rope again, for training and rock climbing alike, but I know that when the time comes I will know, and I will be more powerful than before 😉
Until then, I’m going to continue bouldering, because I do have motivation for that, and I’m ecstatic about our upcoming trip to Joe’s Valley! It’s lookin’ like 50’s and sunny all day, every day!