Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Up Down and Up again

To quote Isaac Newton (no relation) "What goes up must come down!"

This law of Physics is something as climbers we are all too aware of, we continue to invest huge amounts of time and energy into resisting gravity whilst travelling over vertical or overhanging surfaces. Only to then submit to falling off or lowering back down to the ground once at an arbitrary point has been reached.

On the face of it a seemingly futile and worthless exercise but the source of so much emotion, passion & obsession.

Up's & Down's in climbing can come in many shapes and sizes; Fit/Unfit, Injury/Peak Performance, Tired/Fresh, Good Conditions/Not so Good Conditions, Head Strong/Messy Jelly Head etc
It's our ability to deal with the attachment to perceived success that determines how well we cope with the "down" times.
Understanding what we have really achieved in an ascent is key and the answer never truly lies in a conceptual number (grade) or the conquering a piece of wall. It is far more personal and internal. My other blog The Tao of Climbing will expand on these ideas & practices.

My recent experience of up's and down's taught be some valuable lessons and reminded me of some I'd forgotten!

The Up
In November I had started to regain some former fitness which culminated in an ascent of "la Bestia" in Lliber on 11.11.11 - A notable day to be taking down the "Beast" !! Not a classic route by any means, La Bestia forms an eliminate that only has real interest for locals. A simple bridge into the corner will bring the route down to 6c+, but sticking to the wall is a whole different experience! A recent ascent proposed 7c/7c+, which given the sizes of the hold looked about right.
After a few goes I found a sneaky & technical heel placement that allowed me to bypass all the small crux holds and brought it down to the 7b+ ish mark.
Sending "la Bestia" - Lliber
The Down
Four days later - BANG - I find myself being prepared for emergency surgery on a Perianal abscess!
Several minutes post operation - high as a kite...
So now at least 6 - 8 weeks to heal and reflect!!!

Why had this happened?
Mainly poor diet, ignoring what I knew was unhealthy and questing forward blindly....

How do I make this a positive?
Make positive changes in my diet and lifestyle, return to my deepest motivation and source of enjoyment in climbing.

The return
It's only logical that "What goes down must come up!"

In the Christmas break I ventured out for some easy sessions and concentrating on building basic fitness and more importantly enjoying not being inside. Fortunately climbing hurt less than walking!!
Coupled with perfect winter conditions (blue skies, warm, not cloud insight...) it was very enjoyable to be out climbing easier routes I'd previously over looked and continue to remind myself why I enjoy climbing....
And even more importantly to reinforce & retain the learnings both from Dietary changes that increased my rate of recovery & ultimately improved performance, but also the philosophical perspective that encourages a healthy view of success & failure.

Perfect winter conditions at Gandia
Not before long my eye drifted upwards and caught sight of some old projects
Jan 9th 2012 - just before sending "Baila al Alba" (Dance at dawn) 7c - Gandia

Sending "Sugar Glass" 7b+ Gandia

On the crux of "Sugar Glass"
A big part of my recovery has been down to meeting up with Sol Fernandez again and experimenting with his UpRaw snacks and dietary advice to power my climbing days. These dietary improvements have brought fruit to undeniable results and positive changes. The most profound result came from completely removing Bread from my diet!!!!


Looking forward, the 12hr climbing rallys are only a few weeks away so I will be training hard and putting UpRaw to the ultimate rock climbing endurance challenge...