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Inspiration

Hitting the Wall

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Hitting the Wall

First of all...Pun intended..

In Climbing everyone talks about "The Plateau". In running you might hear it as "hitting the wall" in reference to when you're running a long distance and you hit your breaking point. The two things are different slightly, in climbing your "Wall" is more of this looming number that is seemingly impossible. 

I've had Bouldering Plateaus & Rope Plateaus, for bouldering it was the famous V5-V6 gap that many climbers struggle with as they turn from moderate to serious climbers. On Ropes my first "wall" was the 5.11 - 5.12 chasm that seems impassable to most. 5.12 is the antagonist in most rock climber's push to climbing harder, and it fights back hard for sure. 

When you're first starting off climbing, a 5.12 seems physically impossible, the moves are usually very technical and the holds aren't the best. I have heard countless times "Dude, I don't know how in the world you do those 12's". The answer is that I couldn't and sometimes still can't do them, I have to keep climbing them to get them.  One day I just decided to start climbing 5.12s and I sucked at it, like hardcore... but that's the point. Rock climbing is funny, in that you can climb 5 moves of a 5.13d and fall and have learned more than "On-Siting" fifty 5.11s. My mentor Mario says all the time; "At some point you don't get any stronger, you just get smarter." and it's so true, I mean I train all the time to get stronger of course, but the time I put into falling over and over again on 5.12s made me smart enough to send them now. 

In climbing if you're not failing constantly, then you're not training right. I remember watching Mario climbing a route at Reimers Ranch in Austin on my very first climbing trip, it's called Pay the Pump and it's a 50 foot roof, and I thought to myself "That is absolutely impossible, he is a mutant" and now I've gotten the full roof pieced together (Check the vid). It's not like I waited 5 years to go try out this insane 5.13b, I went out and worked the moves over and over and over and over until I memorized every intricate heel hook and jug hold. 

Basically the morale of the story is nothing in climbing is given to you. The best part of it to me is getting to go out and surprise myself when I try something I think is crazy hard and I get to climb it into submission

Myself sending "Ghost Dancer" 5.12a, a project from 2016 that I came back and sent February 2017

Myself sending "Ghost Dancer" 5.12a, a project from 2016 that I came back and sent February 2017

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Why Do Anything?

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Why Do Anything?

Why do we do anything? Why do runners go for a run, even though it sucks. Why do DJ’s make music, even though it takes loads of time. Why do I rock climb, even though it hurts me, bruises me, breaks me, frustrates me, scares me, and intimidates me. I’ve had this thought in my head for a long time now, trying to figure out why anyone does anything. People don’t HAVE to do go running, there are certainly easier ways to get in shape. It’s much easier to just get plastic surgery than to actually stay healthy, just suck away all the extra fat you don’t want. Humans don’t even need to be strong or fit anymore, unless you work a physically demanding job. So why do people do anything?

    It’s a strange question but I recently started scratching the surface at the reason I do anything. More specifically rock climbing, as most these blogs are. I don’t know why but it’s so easy to talk about rock climbing. There’s just something about it that is just so unnecessary to a rational thinking person. We don’t NEED to climb things, we could just fly to the top of whatever we want.. We WANT to climb things. There’s just something about looking at a wall that seems impossible to everyone else, and you have the thought, “I wonder if it’s possible” and that’s all it takes.. The second the thought of possibility enters your mind the route is stuck in your head. 

    I’ve recently identified why I rock climb. I always hear from various different movies and professional climbers that rock climbing is a selfish act. And I never really understood that really. I understand that when you climb you’re the only one climbing usually, which makes it a solo act, and therefor a selfish one maybe. But I never got to the core of it. I rock climb because for those 30-60 seconds i’m on a short route, I don’t care about anything else in this entire world. People disappear, noise is ignored, and I engage into a hyper thought process that almost speeds time up for me. I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but when I touch the wall I’m in the zone. I don’t come out of that zone until i’m off route, either by falling, or snapped out by lack of holds. I finally understand at least why rock climbing is a selfish act for me, in that selfishness is the non care for others, simply defined. And it’s the truth! People may argue “Well you care about the belayer.” To which I can respond, If you ever have to worry about your belayer.. you probably should be climbing with them. It’s really not fair to you if you can’t dive wholly into this void of concentration.     

    So I apologize if you feel as though i’m ignoring you, or acting too seriously on a route...But the truth of it is I don’t care.. I’m in the zone. Go find your zone.

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Movies that Move Me

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Movies that Move Me

I am a very empathetic person. It’s easy for me to be watching a movie and insert myself into the place of the character on screen. Because of this, depending on the movie, when I leave the theater I am extremely excited or amped. So I thought I would list the 2 movies that stand out in my mind that really get me excited and why.

The first movie is probably in the running for my top 5 favorite movies of all time. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an awesome story. A quick synopsis; an average man, Walter Mitty, has worked for a magazine company who is shutting it’s doors due to the internet boom. Walter is in charge of the last cover photo but has misplaced it. In order for him to find it he goes on an adventure in search of the photographer. 

 

    What really stands out about this movie to me is this quote from one of the movie posters “Stop Dreaming, Start Living”. Those words sum up part of the problem I see in today’s youth. With Instagram and Twitter showing us super rich people going on amazing trips, it can seem as if the adventurous lifestyle wasn’t meant for regular people. When the truth is regular people live this way every day, they just aren’t in the mainstream view. Another part about the movie that stands out to me is the photographer, Sean O’Connell, played by Sean Penn. Sean O’Connell is this enigmatic character who, to me, is almost like the Dos Equis man, “The most interesting man in the world”. Sean O’Connell is the mysterious, adventurous camera man. They don’t really know where he’ll be next, and his life to many seems incredible. It’s only when Walter tries to hunt down Sean O’Connell that he starts becoming an incredible person too. His travels take him on many adventures most would consider meant for someone extrordinary . When he eventually catches up with Sean up in the mountains, there’s a moment that really caught my attention. Sean is on assignment to photograph a snow leopard, and when he finally spots one he only looks at it. Walter asks him why he didn’t take the photo, and Sean replies “sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.” Sometimes it’s best that we enjoy the environment around us, instead of trying to show it to everyone else. A picture can only relay so much, to really understand something, you have to experience it in person. That is what adventures are. They’re experiencing moments and growing as a person. If you take an amazing picture of something in your travels, it may get a lot of likes, but those people won’t know how it really felt to be there until they themselves have. 

 

 

    The Second movie that makes me want to get out and explore is "Meru". This is a documentary as opposed to a fun fiction such as "Secret Life of Walter Mitty". It follows the story of Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker, and Renan Ozturk and their attempts at climbing Meru. 

    

    A little backstory on the movie:Mt. Meru is 22,000 feet tall. It has only been summited once. Conrad, Jimmy, and Renan are the only people to have ever completed the “Shark’s Fin” route. Needless to say Meru is an insanely hard climb, even for experienced climbers. The movie starts in 2008 with Conrad, Jimmy and Renan’s first attempt to summit Meru. They got extremely close but had to stop 300 feet below the summit due to weather conditions. This part of the film brought forth a realization for me. One of the marks of a great climber is knowing when to throw in the towel. These guys could have very possibly gotten to the top of the mountain that day, it was only 300 feet away. Though if they had, there was a high probability that they would have died on the mountain. It brings forward an important question that every climber must ask themselves. What is more important? Getting to the top, or coming back safely? Sometimes you can’t do both. The middle piece of the movie is comprised mainly of what Renan and Jimmy were doing in between the 2008 attempt and the 2011 attempt. Both men would go through near death experiences just a few days apart. Renan would fall off a cliff side, damaging his skull and spine. Jimmy would get swept away and survive a Class 4 avalanche. Both crazy experiences that each man would need time to recover from. Fast forward a few months and they’re all back together (Renan, Jimmy, and Conrad) on their second attempt on Meru. The second attempt is FAR more interesting and filled with adrenaline rushes than the first attempt. While already half way up the mountain their port-a-ledge breaks in the middle of the night. Luckily, they are able to jury rig up a fix for it and hope it holds for the rest of the trip. After that, Renan has a sort of half stroke, due to his head trauma from a few months prior. It leaves him not able to speak for part of the trip. Despite all of these problems the three make it to peak. The mountain really threw everything it could at these three men, but they pushed on. 

        To some people, seeing how incredibly hard these men pushed themselves to summit Meru would deter them from even attempting. For me, seeing them on that climb made me want to get out on a mountain as soon as possible. There’s a certain allure a mountain holds. A sort of dare, as if saying “I bet you can’t do it”. I think this is present in the minds of most climbers. The thing that pushes them to finish, to see if they really can do it. 

 

    Both of these movies capture the spirit of adventure. The epic-ness of exploring something new to you or to the world. Movies are an amazing way for us to escape to a new world for an hour or two. I hope that I do get to experience the same spirit of adventure like Walter Mitty, or the same ground breaking exploration like Jimmy, Conrad, and Renan did on Meru. Only time will tell, but for now I’ll continue to train and look for more inspirational pieces that make me push myself harder.

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