The Road to 12a – Part 1.

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Villia Maria, Colombia

The last couple years I’ve been saying “This is it. This is the year I start climbing 12a.”

Yet one thing after another kept getting in the way of my climbing goals. Work, time, travel, excuses and excuses. It really mainly came down to not being able to balance work, life and finances to allow for enough climbing time.

2015 was a completed write off due to the Woods Canada Dream Job gig. Which was amazing of course, but I spent maybe 15 days total, climbing that year.

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Clip it, Clip it Good. 


It feels like forever since I’ve climbed. Since Potrero Chico in January. As I scroll through my photos and read all these climbing posts and like all these epic Instagram climbing photos I think “I can’t wait to clip it.”
  
For me that’s the ultimate moment in climbing. The clip. Your left leg is flagging while your right foot is balanced most precariously on a tiny crystal. Your left hand crimping hard on a microcrimp and then you realize you should have grabbed the microcrimp with your right hand and now you’re screwed so you try to cross clip with the right hand all the while trying not to pop off the wall. 

  
This is the moment. You slowly start to pull up the rope. It’s short. You yell “clipping!” The timing is off and your belayer is trying to feed the rope, while you’re pulling and it’s snagging. You’re starting to pump out.  “CLIPPING!” Don’t think about how far that last bolt is. 

“Slack!” 

“I’m sorry!!!!!! ” 

“Slackkkkk!!!!!” 

“I’m trying!!!” 

Clip.

  
You take a deep breath, your whole body relaxes. The pump is going away and you pull through to the next “jug.”

Sigh. This is my favourite. This push. To hold on when everything seems to be going against your favor. There’s a 95% chance you’re going to fall, and somehow you manage to mentally and physically push yourself through extraordinary means to stay on that wall. 

  
And then on top of that you somehow manage to send your project. Exhilarating .

There is no other passion of mine that gives me greater fulfillment than climbing. Yes, I love to paddle, do pottery, paint, act and play in the bush, but only climbing pushes my limits mentally and physically. 

  
Through sport climbing I have been able to experience such great failures and overcome the same failures. It’s incredible. It’s indescribable. That feeling to work on something over and over again and fall. Sometimes falling many times. Sometimes in the same spot. 

Then that one time you get a little bit of a better hold or get half an inch closer to the next bolt, it suddenly becomes all worth it. 

To clip that last clip. Even to clip just the next clip. It’s the greatest release of endorphins ever. 

This season I’m going to clip it. Clip it good.