The last attempt day for Punks in The Gym was descent. I had some high hopes and perhaps even some unreasonable expectations when it came to sending that route. However; after the initial disappointment of feeling of failure I came to realize that what I gained from my experience on Punks was more valuable than if I would have just sent it.
I am not a mental climber yet… the head game that is required to accomplish these kinds of routes is something that can only come with lots of experience and lots of failures. Especially when it comes to a route that is at your limit.
What Falling Can Teach Us... Wrapping Up Australia - Ben Rueck
I remember sitting on the rope just underneath the crux move thinking that, “if only I could link into the rest right before the crux I would be able to crush through the rest of the route.” It seemed reasonable because I was capable of pulling on at that point and going to the top more often than not. What I forgot to remember was the climbing before the rest (which isn’t terrible but it can be draining); and my general lack of time climbing it.
I kept forgetting the sequences and subtle movements of my body that would save energy and time—I felt a pressure to get of the climb and so I would revert back to my older form of climbing—bouldering. As I have now learned that is not what gets you up sport climbs… especially the hard ones. What does get you up routes is keeping it together; and this is something that I have been experimenting with over the past few weeks being back in Colorado ( more to come on that later…).
Even though I didn’t red point Punks in the Gym I found something more valuable… an understanding that being strong isn’t always enough… hard work and gaining experience need to be coupled together to earn a send. I didn’t put enough initial effort into getting the route… but now I have a drive to and I will be back to climb that along with a few others down under…
Falling and what would be considered failing has made me a better climber—I can see that now… I am still learning from Punks and perhaps I always will… it seems that there is a catalyst route at some point in a person’s climbing career… a route that sparks a true push for understanding and potential… this was mine.
Hopefully you will find yours at some point too (if you haven’t already)…