Falling is Part of the Process

Falling, failing, missing the goal, shot, net, hole, hold, catch. Losing, tripping, crashing, hitting the ground, all of these things happen and all of these things are part of the process.

This last weekend was my first real trad climbing trip to Index, that’s all we did, place gear and climb cracks. Our first climb was called Aries. It’s a 3 pitch 5.8 with a wide start, a flared chimney, and a bit of a roof. All things I’m not super stoked on or good at. So I was a bit stunned by Mike’s reply when I asked him who was leading what pitches. “You’re leading all of them” he said. Shit… I’m getting more comfortable with placing gear and climbing cracks, but a lot of it still feels foreign and up until now I had never taken a fall on gear before.  

I racked my gear, started up the wide section, placed a blue number 3 cam and tried to get my fists to fit in the crack. None of this was graceful by the way. I was cursing under my breath, huffing, pissed and staring at that cam thinking “I’m totally about to take a fall on this… Fuck it! Here we go…” I groveled my way up a few moves past my piece, was smearing with my left foot and trying to find something substantial for my right, but it was awkward. I was almost there, fingers touching the hold that would secure my passage on to the ledge in front of me, and my foot popped. Falling is part of the process.

I gave a bit of a frustrated cry as my gear and Mike caught me. I sat there in my harness out of breath, frustrated, panting, and a bit excited honestly. YES! It totally holds! I mean I knew logically that cams are supposed to work, but it’s another thing entirely to have the experience of one working. I looked down and had a very nice three tiered rope burn from my ankle half way up my calf with a definite bruise and bloody knee pending. Mike was stoked, I was stoked, we laughed, I caught my breath and got to the ledge my second go. The rest of the climb was great too, I had fun in the try-hard frustrating sense, but ultimately I felt really good about my performance and my efforts.

Climbing cracks still feels like another language in many ways, but I’ve got the falling figured out so it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the equation is translated.

Weekend Warrior

Urban Dictionary has a long list of definitions for "weekend warrior." The most popular being "a person who regularly parties on weekends."  I certainly don't "party" in the traditional Urban Dictionary context, but I have my own malleable definition and try to celebrate every moment of my weekends in the fullest adventure style possible. 

To recap the month of May... 2500 trip miles, 615 photos taken, 11 days climbing outside, 4 states, 3 hot springs, 2 new phones, 1 yoga retreat, countless bruises, and more laughter then I have embraced in a very long time. My weekends, my evenings, all of my time is meant to be full of awesome! I have chosen to have what I call a big-girl job and that takes up about 40 hours a week, but there is plenty of time left over to "party!"

I'll admit it is hard sometimes to get home from a trip after midnight, unpack the car, make food for the next day, and shower only to get 5 hours of sleep and still get things accomplished on Monday. But it's worth it. It's worth it to have my ankles bruised to the point of limiting my professional foot attire, my muscles ache to the point of limited movement and my car/road-trip-rig smell to the point of limited breathing and almost embarrassment. I'm not embarrassed though and I know I'm not the only one that lives this way.

Some people like myself live many lives in a week. I have my business casual life during the weekdays and on the weekends I have my wanderlust adventure warrior life. There are moments of frustration on sunny days behind my desk, moments of anguish on rainy days hiding under rocks, and moments of chaos when I can't seem to counterbalance my two lives, but again it's worth it. I learn more and more about myself as I transition between my two lives, reflect on the importance and benefits of each, and try to grow and adjust as necessary.

So for the time being I'm stoked on my business casual/adventure warrior juggling act and since nothing is really set in stone, if I choose to take an extended trip or spend the weekend at home in my hammock that will just have to fit into my definition of "party."