Monday, 16 May 2011

Failure... and Inspiration

“Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices, and everything is possible.” - Cherie-Carter Scotts

Ok so here is a bit of an abstract blog that can be applied to all aspects of life I guess, but for me is mainly climbing focussed.  

Failure. It's a word that has some big connotations, pretty much exclusively bad ones, in all aspects of life. For example; I didn't get the job, I couldn't climb the route, I didn't match my target time for my marathon, I failed my exam/driving test, I just broke up with my partner, etc, etc. All these are aspects of failure that are encountered in life, and usually looked upon negatively, and can sometimes even illicit negative feelings in the person for varying time periods afterwards.

For me the failures that I focus in on mostly come down to my climbing performance (I haven't applied for any jobs recently, I don't run, I am passing my exams* and am luckily still with my girlfriend) But I often fail in my climbing life... This leads to a lot of self-examination and soul-searching, often keeping me up for hours or distracting me from uni work. Looking back on my UKC log (, I have failed a lot since 2011 began; Cream, Sai Dancing, Poema de Roca, Yogur de Coca, Pilier Dorada, Stroll On, Bulling-747, just to name a few but I never try and hide my failures and always try to remain honest about them. However, in the past I have been guilty of not being positive or honest with myself about my reasons for failure. 

Since reading the Rock Warriors Way my outlook on failure has changed immensely. Whereas before I would blame coldness or whatever now I will try and look at what I did, the choices I made and work out where I went wrong and where I was just unlucky... This I think is a major breakthrough in my climbing, and one I have found has helped already. I went to the Orme this Thursday with Dave and he had a crack at Gritstone Gorrila, despite the freezing wind! After taking 2 lobs on the crux he got it 3rd go ground up. I had to second with the numbest hands ever, and knowing the crux was a stiff layback I was nervous to say the least. However, on getting to it I remembered why I failed to onsight the laybacks on Stroll On, got my feet high and kept the commitment up. I soon found myself holding the good hold at the end of the crux, though at this point I had to rest as I could no longer feel my hands! We quickly bailed round the orme and back to Mayfair wall for my first taste of Upper Pen Trwyn sport climbing. I chose Julio Juvenito, F7a for its sexual crimpyness. Psyched up for the onsight, I was cautious not to misread the sequence. However once I got into the meat of the climbing, coupled with Al Mason's shouts of; "Come on Dunc, Turn it on", I had to start moving quickly and was unceremoniously spat off. Realising the error of my way and that I had to do an unlikely looking boulder problem to gain good holds more direct, I was at the top and on the way down giving Dave the beta. He consequently crushed it... brilliant! Back up, I blasted on, threw the throw, then completely changed my original poor sequence for a more direct one, and it was done. Another F7a in the bag! I have decided that every time I go sport climbing I will try something of F7a or above, as this will be the way to improve and enable me to onsight F6c (and above) trad routes. I then tried to second Mason on King Krank, E5 6b and found out that english 6b is tres hard! With rain drops falling I pulled through the crux and got the gear out before a massive band of rain passed over! Phew!

Now back to revision I am beginning to gain inspiration from routes and people. Rob Greenwood being one of them, he does everything well, is mad for it and totally chilled in scary environments. Mikey G's positivity is also inspirational, and seems to be seeing him recover exceedingly quickly (along with the amount of sleep he partakes in). I'm beginning to see a trend of 'positivity gets you through sticky situations', which I have realised and put to use in a recent exam and it seemed to work... I am mega keen to put it to use on some hard (for me) trad, but at the moment with poor weather and exams in North Wales, I am focussing on maintaining my current level, so that once I finish exams I can have a couple of weeks of crushing before I head off to Squamish! Luckily the weather is absolutely rubbish in North Wales at the moment, so I hit the Indy yesterday in search of a good workout and some more training. The Indy, is a brilliant way of learning through failure as you can and will fail on V2s!! Unfortunately there was a lack of failure, so maybe no learning? Managed to bosh out my 3rd Indy V5 (albeit a soft one) thanks to some beta from Mr Carroll! I then set to work on what drew me here in the first place... FITNESS! A new circuit set at Fr7a+/b with a potentially 7c extension! After a rest I got on the 7a+/b and flashed it, I had looked at the moves and knew there would be a sting in the tail but once I got there, despite being mega boxed I kept pulling! It's probably more like 6c/+. Now the 7c? ext. This adds a hard, short bouldery section onto the 7a that I reckon might even be V3/4....uh oh. Unfortunately I failed time and time again pulling around onto the last section. I then ran (stumbled) home... today I feel broken and have eaten A LOT! But endeavor to keep doing a bit more than just wall sessions during exams and maybe beyond!

A few blogs to get you inspired: 

Scotch-wad Greg Boswell:

Brenin-wad Davey Morse:

So go forth and don't be afraid of failure, there is no other way to learn and become better at climbing/life/whatever you want to excel at... Dunc

*bar one which I will have to return to North Wales... DAMN... to retake :/

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