Gravity doesn’t give a fuck about who you think you are.
That’s the real beauty of climbing.
I hadn’t expected to find the same kind of emotional satisfaction from climbing as I get from writing or painting. It really took over lately and it’s not a career plan in any way which is also part of its appeal. It simply is only a fight against yourself and there is absolutely no purpose behind it.
It is the way I used to write and then the way I used to paint and maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. There’s no contract attached to it. I don’t need to answer to a potential client or (non-existent) public.
It’s taken me away from the focus of novels for over a year now and I am powerless against it.
I am especially fond of the bloc. I like the falling part of it. I like how you can’t cheat it and rest on the rope. I like how you have to complete all of it in a single set and it’s impossible to do it otherwise. It’s downhill if you slip and I hit the wall, twist, turn, do everything I can to keep at it but again : gravity doesn’t give a fuck who you think you are.
It pushes me to my most visceral self at times. It really works on the nerves, and I mean physiological nerves. My body is lean as could be, my muscles are stiff. My muscular capacity can hold my weight just fine. The muscles could take it but it’s driven by sheer will power to hold at this point till the pain is too much for you to even move. It hits you in the nerves when it’s too much. I do it to exhaustion and then crash on a pad and life is a bliss for a couple minutes.
There are muscles on my body I didn’t know existed and I can’t lie, I like it.
I like the very moment when I take on a very small crimp. I like the very instant when I shake my hand, place the phalanges of my fingers exactly where they need to go. A millimeter more and I would slip and fall. I like the moment when I tense up and get ready to put all of my weight on exactly two square inches on my own skin and pull.
I like to look at the path, the way, and see the space underneath it. I like to get a feel for the angles. I like how I have to listen to my body, the weight of it, the placement of it. I like how I can only force it so far and have to listen to what the path requires instead of trying to power my way through it. And then I like to break that rule down and prove to myself there was a second way to get to the top, a third way to get to the top, that a moment of arrogance and strength can be enough to overcome the problem and see it through.
I like to nail a 4 or a 5 only to see someone else in there fly through a 6 or a 7. It humbles you to see what the human body can do. If you look at it with passion, you start to see the person’s foot placement, hand position, the way they shifted their body, that little heel hook that keeps everything in place for two seconds in a transition.
I often use climbing as a metaphor for my entire life now.
Snowboarding had a similar feel when I was younger. I wonder if it would still have it. The freedom of not having a purpose in life for a minute except than to live for yourself and yourself alone, see if you still got it in you to make it through.
In the end, I guess it comes down to three lines I keep writing over and over again.
Pick a line,
Stick to it
Don’t fuck up.