I’m going to complain.

It is so ridiculously stressful to center my life around climbing when I live nowhere near any climbing while I’m going to school.  So much planning goes into every single trip that I go on; every trip outside AND every trip to the gym because both are so time consuming.

Every trip to the gym, I have to ask myself if I have 5 hours that day to commit to driving over an hour to the gym, staying long enough to get a sufficient work out, and driving over an hour back.  I have to think about how much work I have done, how much work I have to do, how many tests I have that week, how many tests I have the next week, how much time I’m going to have to spend making up the work if I decide to go.  I have to ask myself if I have the $30 ($20 for gas, $10 for the gym fee) to make the trip each time.  $30.  Every. Single. Time.

Every trip outside, I have to ensure I have absolutely nothing major the next week.  I have to make sure I have at least 10-14 hours that weekend to commit to driving.  I have to have done enough work in advance in order to not be swamped with work when I return on Sunday.  I have to make sure I have the gas money and the food money.

I have to religiously check the weather every day that week leading up to the trip.  I have to decide if it is worth the money and time only to know that the weather might not work out and I can end up not climbing.  A waste.

I have invested countless hours and hundreds of dollars that I don’t really have to pursue this sport.  I get so stressed over not knowing when the next time I’m going to climb is and I get stressed just trying to stay psyched.  The question, “Why do I do this?” definitely runs through my head.  I don’t even know if it’s worth all of the effort… it’s not even like I have some exceptional talent for climbing that would be a waste if I didn’t indulge it.

I guess it comes down to the fact that I’m not going to not climb.  I’m not going to half-ass it either.  I’m not going to climb once every three weeks and be happy with myself.  No, I’m going to put all I can into if I’m going to do it…and it looks like that’s what’s happening.

It all comes together when things work out.  When I’m sitting on top of a boulder I just finished and the sun is on me, the breeze is blowing, and everything is so perfectly picturesque.  In those moments, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and everything just makes sense.  The problem is, most of the time I’m not sitting on top of the boulder.  I’m sitting in Charlottesville, in class having people talk at me for hours, in the library working my ass off, or in the car making the 70 mile drive to the climbing gym.  In fact, I’m no where near that boulder.  And it just sucks.

But I’m going to keep going, because stopping is not an option.

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NEW GIRL CRUSH ALERT!

Surprise, surprise, I’ve found myself another climber girl crush. But come on, this chick’s a BADASS. And it’s all thanks to Reel Rock 8 which I was fortunate enough to see last night (my school bought the rights to the film). The films in the series included Daniel Woods crushing in Japan, escapades on Everest, and a short segment about the Stone Masters in Yosemite. But by far, my favorite film was the one centered around Hazel Findlay, a British trad climber who has more balls than 99.5% of the men in this world.

When the film first started (titled ‘Spice Girl’), I honestly was not super excited. My assumption was that it would be some story about a girl who was good at rock climbing. Which is always something I love to see, but Daniel Woods sending hard in the first film was a hard act to follow.

I feel like a complete idiot for those first thoughts and regret having them run through my head. Rather than a video about a girl who climbs hard sport or boulder grades, this film was about the unbreakable mental strength of a hardcore trad climber pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a female climber in a sport, and sect of a sport, that is so male dominated. My favorite quote went something like this (I don’t remember the exact words):

“It’s obvious that men are physically stronger: you just have to look at sprinters in the olympics to see that. But that doesn’t mean that they have to be mentally stronger. Women can be just as bold.”

I have never thought about that.  Here I am getting terrified on completely secure, overhung sport climbs that have no bad falls, and I just giggle and say, “Oh, I’m a scaredy cat, woops!” Damn, do I feel lame.  I knew I had a lot of mental work to do but I have been so focused on bouldering that I haven’t ‘gotten around’ to building that strong mentality (I’ve been on Chapter 3 of The Rock Warrior’s Way for about 5 months now).  But I’ve definitely been inspired to get my act together (gonna need a solid head when I try Spanky at LRC next month!).

But anyways, I’ll just sum this girl crush up.  Not only is Hazel hilarious, gutsy, and inspiring, but she’s relatable.  There’s a clip of her and Emily Harrington trying to get psyched to do like 5 more pitches after the sun has gone down (not only is it extremely dark, but it’s also cold). Emily suggests, “we should have a dance party!”  To which Hazel responds, “Yes!!!”  Then they put on some music and danced like maniacs on this fucking ledge like 11 pitches up in the middle of the night.  And I’m like wait… didn’t I do this same exact thing (ok well I was on the ground next to a boulder) 3 weeks ago?  When my friend and I danced like absolute freaks to warm ourselves up on a 20 degree day?  Damn, this girl is rad.

**NOTE** All of these characteristics have been officially confirmed by my friend who ran into Hazel at Earth Treks last week.  She’s a cool cat.

The Best Line in Charlottesville

Sadly, the best line in Charlottesville went down yesterday. I say this is sad because after finishing this single climb, I have officially exhausted the lines on this particular mountain (we call it Wintergreen). There are a few “project” boulders, but I’m not psyched on them. The one I did try is probably around a V10 and the best way I can describe it is “fucked up”. Maybe it’s because I’m not strong enough, but the boulder is not appealing at all. Jason and I hiked around the mountain for over an hour looking at boulders and we did not find a single gem. Choss, choss, and more choss… quite disheartening.

I’m not sure what this means in terms of my future with the local bouldering. I’d love to be able to get on real rock every weekend, but there just isn’t any around. Charlottesville is not looking too promising, so it’s up to me to keep my psych up. Hulllooooo plastic!