Thursday, July 28, 2011

Love and other alpine climbing drugs

It's hard to climb in the alpine and feel comfortable, and that I mean completely free in my mind.  Free to just climb.  To remove my self from the "world" and think about the next three meters, the next wire behind the ice'up flake, the next breath to take to fuel the muscle. To look at an alpine route at my level and just climb it.  No negative thoughts, no backing down, Just up.

I yearn for this, each season I secretly live for another climb that will grab me and take me away.   And most seasons some and go without the experience.  In the years that I have been climbing I can only think of a very small amount of routes that I have climbed and and been only in the moment.  And when I think about these climbs, I instantly think of my partners on the route, and less of the actual route itself. I think about the Why?

It comes down to the route, the moment, the conditions, the partner, the Love.  I think that the Love for my partners on that route is what made the whole experience complete.  The love that I have for the the other person tied in to the rope, holding my life in their hands, and theirs in mine.  That bond, That love has allowed me to release myself and just climb. To climb at my limit, high off the ground and push myself into new territory.

The last time this happened was in Canada.  My partner and I went up to a route that I have wanted to climb for a very long time, roped up and went to the top.  We had the whole mountain to ourselves, the ice was thin, the rock was shit, the runouts were a bit long, the verbal communication was lost in the wind, the crux was mental with ok pro.  I was in the moment, I was completely set free for those 70 meters of the crux pitch and it was all because of who was holding the other end of the rope. It's all about the love.

I have attempted numerous other routes with partners that I don't/didn't love, and might never. I have failed on some, made the summit on others, but that is it.  They were just routes climbed, a check in the guidebook. No mental progress was gained, no real personal progression into the world of alpine climbing.

I can think of one route that I have backed off of before because of my partner.  The connection just wasn't there, and I wasn't willing to make the next move, so the second rope came out and down we went. Back to the "safety" of the ground, back to the car, back to the same place I was before I awoke that morning...

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