Remember that article I wrote about failing? Well, now I’m going to write one about succeeding.
On Friday, Rob, Mikey, and myself went up to Rumney again. I had been fighting off one heck of a chest cold for a week, so I was tired, coughing, and totally out of breath after a short walk. I had pretty darn low expectations for the day. If sitting on a crash pad was all I accomplished, I wasn’t going to be surprised or disappointed.
The guys quickly decided to jump on a 5.7 in The Meadows called ‘False Modesty’. For them – easy. Not wanting to be the downer in the group, I decided to give it a go on top rope… and it was a piece of cake. Weird for the girl who felt like falling over and turning blue on the short approach in.
Then I decided to repeat the climb, but this time on lead. I had been eyeing up a wide variety of 5.4’s and had even given some 5.0-5.1’s a thought after I had totally frozen up on a 5.4 just around the corner back in July. But for some absolutely bizarre reason – that 5.7 was just calling my name. So with Rob as my belayer, I started up. First clip – got it. Second clip – done and 25′ off the ground. Then came the third clip… and then the last one. With that, I completed my first ever outdoor lead climb and I wasn’t even pumped. Where was this physical and mental strength two months ago on that lousy 5.4?!
So the fun lessons of the day:
Good things come when you least expect it. I know from experience this applies to everything in life, but especially the outdoors. When you go looking for something super specific, you won’t find it because it is so well defined in your mind that no amount of reality will ever measure up. That 5.7 felt right and I gave it a chance. And I got it… w00t. =)
It’s all in your head – well most of it anyways. You’d think I have this lesson drilled in my head by now with all the times I’ve mentioned the mental barriers constantly throwing themselves across my path to success. But, I’ll reiterate. Fear is in your head and it’s a figment of your imagination. Tell it to take a hike somewhere else. Now danger… that’s something else and that’s pretty real.
As for the rest of the day, it was pretty great. We all took a turn at a 5.9 in The Meadows and had some fun with it. It had an unusually odd start sequence that required some fancy footwork, followed by the usual crimpy middle portion and a seriously challenging finish. Rob got to take his first big lead fall, but all was well. Next time we’re at Rumney I’m leading it!
Another important lesson we learnt was to never follow Mikey in the woods, so there’s lesson #3. We were planning on heading to another section of Rumney called Upper Vader. We ended up there eventually after hiking far too high, having to turn around at a 20′ drop, and some sketchy trails, but I’m fairly sure it involved free soloing a 5.4 with heavy bags. Once at Upper Vader we tried a horrible 5.7 that I don’t even remember the name of.
We finally wrapped up the day at the gnarliest but most beautiful area of Rumney – Waimea. Mikey attempted a route conveniently named Waimea (5.10d) and eventually got it. I was having fun watching some climbers work on a 5.13a right next to us that involved a whole lot of screaming and swearing.
All in all, it was an awesome Fall day. I am beyond stoked to have gotten my first outdoor lead and I’m psyched to get back up there for more!