Friday, April 30
Sunday, April 25
Tuesday, April 20
Monday, April 12
I admire pursuits like skateboarding, freeride mountain biking and surfing because there is a special respect reserved for those who do things really well.. more specifically, athletes are applauded when they execute with impeccable style, even in the case that the accomplishment or trick is perhaps not the hardest ever. Obviously, the title of 'the best' would be reserved for those who command impressive style on feats of cutting edge difficulty.
Honed technique is always inspiring to watch, and every confident climber has a unique style of their own. I'm always captivated when climbers administer true style on a route or a boulder, using empowered movement and smooth connectivity. It's not necessarily that they make everything appear easy, but more that they exhibit their confidence and control in such a way that spells out S-K-I-L-L-S . We all flail from time to time, especially when we try hard- and it would be a lie to say I don't derive inspiration from watching a redline, hail Mary, final effort attempt. However, I will admit that I hold my highest respect for those that make climbing look beautiful- regardless of the number grade, regardless of the specific discipline. It would seem that in today's climbing world athletes have been reduced to a numerical worth, but I still believe there is value in style. Naturally we will all admire those pushing the limits of pure difficulty, but I'll always save some respect for those climbing with fresh technique and style, at any grade.
Secondly, everyone has strengths and weaknesses and given the shocking diversity of skills needed for all the many forms of rock climbing, it will likely always be this way. It would seem impossible to hone the strength and skill set necessary to climb all forms of rock at a top level at the same time. Let alone to focus on all the specific abilities such as lock-offs, mono-pulling, off-widths, underclings, footwork, etc (to name a couple). Given that all climbers have strengths and weaknesses (and no two bodies are the exact same size, etc)- it's pretty naive to think that a 5.13x to one will feel exactly 5.13x to another. Grades are merely a suggestion and a guideline. I feel that deep down it's all about how hard we try. Like I've mentioned before, the greater effort we put in, the greater success finally feels. No one but you really knows how hard you're trying- no need to lie to yourself, or others. Sometimes 5.11 (5.14, whatever) will feel easy and sometimes you're gonna have to work your ass off for it. I've flashed 5.14a's and also invested three days in the grade within the same month- one achievement might look way better on paper, but I know which send I value more.. If we all only pursued climbs that catered to our strengths, we might have a more impressive resume, but we'd never progress- and worse yet, we might never have the chance to really put in SERIOUS effort!