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I joined a women's climbing circle last week. I had been thinking about it when it was advertised last fall, and then the start day came and went without me. But this time around, I didn't overanalyze or let insecurity creep up. I put my name down on a list and paid the fee. I've been climbing most weekends with Steve since I moved to Boulder in June, indoor mostly now, though I touched some real rock this summer. 

"Use your legs and remember to keep your arms straight," Steve reminds me. 

In the past seven months, not only have I improved physically, my mindset has transformed. I'm completely content with not being the best, most graceful climber in the gym. I used to be hypersensitive to what the person on the route on either side of me was thinking about me tying into a top rope 5.8. "Too easy" and "what a noob" and "weak" were my own voices of self doubt, not theirs. There will always be someone better, as with anything. I'm normally really hard on myself, never feeling good enough, but that needs to end. As world-renowned climber Alex Lowe said (and Steve's other reminder to me), "The best climber is the one having the most fun."

Seeing progress is part of the fun. I hit two milestones this past weekend. I bouldered a V2 after confidently climbing V1s for probably too long. And then the next day, I made it to the top of a 5.10b with only one hang more than halfway up. By the end of the five remaining weeks of climbing circle, I hope for a solid lady climbing crew and I want to be sending 10bs like nobody's watching. 


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