Friday, 21 February 2014


Hey Everyone,
Its been a while! A lot has gone on since my last post, including making my first open bouldering finals alongside two fellow Youth A competitors, the end of the bouldering season and the start of lead. But that's not really what I want to talk about, as I've had a lot on my mind involving climbing. And thanks to the help of someone a lot smarter than me (you know who you are), I now know how to say it.

Climbing has changed in almost every dimension since I started competing nationally 6 years ago, especially in the past year or so. It started out where I just wanted to compete, and win. I also knew that if I climbed as I know how, I could win and that was pretty exciting. But back then there were pretty much only three or four others that were around equal to me. As the years go by and the sport gains popularity, the amount of incredibly strong competitors has skyrocketed, and now there's around 15 people in my category that could conceivably win on any given day. I only see about 5 of them at the local comps, and so I've gotten myself into the mentality that it doesn't really matter if I win a local comp, because there's so many people I didn't beat. I also realized that if I want to win at a national level, I'd need to climb better than I ever have before. That mentality keeps me training as hard as I can, and so on that level I think it's positive. I just take how I climbed and how I felt, and then move on. I've just used these comps as a way to track my progress against my competitors and friends that I've been climbing with for 6 years.

But then I sorta realized that that is a major change for me. I used to care a little too much about what the results from the comps were, and now they carry little effect. The other thing that has been a major change is that I no longer exclusively climb to train. I find myself getting sucked into the gym and just seshing, because that's what I want to do. The excitement that used to come from doing well at comps is slowly being drained away, but in its place comes this overwhelming desire to just climb, and improve my weaknesses and just see what I'm capable of on any given day. My previous motivating factors feel almost superficial, because they come and go. This new desire and motivation feels almost more real, and that's got me excited.

I also feel that as the level of motivation I get from succeeding at comps declines, so does my motivation to compete. I feel myself drifting away from the goals that have been cut out for me, and moving on to pursue passions that are purely mine to discover, that are completely unique to me. On the other hand, however, I feel that I can't abandon competing on any level, or else I might get lazy and stagnant with my training, and that once the people breathing down my neck are gone that I'll just plateau, and that'll be that. Don't get me wrong though- I will compete as hard as I possibly can, and will have absolutely nothing left once I'm off the wall.

There's also another side of climbing that I'm starting to appreciate more, and that's the whole giving back aspect. If I'm not competing, I'm wanting to volunteer. If I'm not busy at any moment at training, I'll see if there's some piece of advice or help I can give to one of the younger members of my team that would be helpful. This sport and community has taught me so many things about sport, competing, climbing and in life itself. It's shaped me into who I am. If I'm not doing anything to contribute back to that, then I'm doing something wrong. It's not me being charitable, or even kind. It's just me doing what I think any decent human being would.

So I really just don't know where my life in climbing will lead, and at this point I don't really care. It may be in the gym just having fun, it might be training to compete, and it might be traveling to find beautiful personal test pieces out on rock. Really the only thing that's certain at this point is that I will be pushing myself as hard as I can, and that I'll be loving every minute on it.

Tribal Wallfare Finals. Photo: Eduardo Lopez

RJF Lead. Photo: Pam Eveleigh © 2014