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Nov 24, 2003, 11:39 AM
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Nov 24, 2003, 2:41 PM
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Re: keeping a journal [In reply to]
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Instead of keeping a journal of what you plan to do or what you have done or how a climb made you feel, you might keep a journal of what you learned on each climb.


Nov 25, 2003, 10:11 AM
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Here are two examples of climbs I recorded in my journal this summer. Keep in mind that I only read Arno's book at the end of the season, and this format will change next season / next roadtrip I take.

[example one - "A Lesson Learned"]

COTTER CRACK - 5.10a Trad

[Cotter Crack Buttress, Luskville, Quebec]

I think I learned more about myself on this bail than any climb that I sent this summer. I bailed right before the off-width section at the top, sadly enough about 8 feet from the top out. I just didn't have it in me that day, but as opposed to previous bails there wasn't any sense of shame this time around... probably because I was being honest with myself. Learning a new skill, (off-width climbing) on lead at the limit of my trad leading ability wasn't something I was willing to put myself through that day. I didn't properly assess the consequences of that section of the climb, and paid for it later.

I made it up halfway before calling for take. I was happy that I made it up that far. Bring 3 number 3 Friends... they'll fit in near and solid jam. The jams hurt. Really hurt. Tape up next time. Good feet, but try using the crack more next time. Really, really nice moves, with an intimidating and hard start in a thin crack and bulge. There's a number 8 Metolius stopper wedged after the lower crux. It's pretty overhanging... when I lowered off I was about 15 feet away from the base of the climb, down the slope at the base of the crack. Definitely something worth trying again. I'm just happy that I gave it a try. Slowly but surely I'm beginning to piece together a mental strategy for climbing routes that intimidate me...

Lesson Learned:
Always try... your first time on an intimidating route will always be the worst. I'm discovering that my fear of climbs goes away after at least inspecting it on top-rope or trying it ground up at least once. Next time, take it a step further and try climbing the wide crux crack at the top. No matter what, remember that any attempt is always going to be a learning and growing experience regardless of the outcome.

[example two - "For Posterity"]

GROUND ZERO - 5.8 Trad *

[Mount Nemo, Milton, Niagara Escarpment]
(Some bolts, from a contrived variation which intersects with the original line... 3 or 4 depending on how many you feel like clipping)

A nice, long lead as long as you run the two pitches together. Make a gear anchor for your belayer on the ledge about 10 feet off the ground to cut down on rope drag. The first pitch is 5.6 and the 5.8 part is the face climb above the ledge which is now protected with three or four bolts, (I didn't clip the fourth because it seemed a bit out of the way). There are two *great* resting ledges on this climb. A bit of everything for gear. Even though the top gets wide, you can find smaller placements and some long slings. I onsighted it despite having a rappel rope tossed into my way from above by an inexperienced party, and then having a conversation with said party while trying to place gear and clip at the crux. I think the ludicrous and comical nature of the entire exchange kept me from losing my temper, or beating them senseless with a #4 Friend when I reached the anchors. Two bolts for anchors at the top.

[example three - "Thoughts on a Project No More"]

WISH YOU WERE HERE - 5.12b - Sport * * *

[Baby Pneu, Western Cwm, Eardely Escarpment, Quebec]

Redpoint. Personal project which I took a break from for a couple of months after two sessions of working out and wiring the moves. Sustained, (well, you're pretty pumped when you reach the "rest hold") and excellent. Slightly overhanging, beautiful rock, technical footwork and good crimps. Originally, my falls happened at the crux deadpoint to a pinch above the third bolt; I was just too pumped to hang on.

I came back later in the season, early Fall, with about the same endurance but with a better head and some bouldering under my belt. My footwork wasn't as smooth as I would have wanted, but I definitely fought my way through that route, something I couldn't do earlier this season. I found that locking off with my left hand before the crux, (basically sacrificing it to the pump) and clipping and shaking out my right allowed me to hit and stick the pinch, and then let go and stack my fingers into the slot above the pinch. Mentally, the hardest part was leaving the shake-out holds and make the last moves past the slopers to the anchors. The moves to the anchors are no give-away, especially when you're pumped. Spectacular climb.

I made a paragraph-long note for the majority of climbs I did this summer. Mostly, I did this to remind myself about the gear, and what climbs I enjoyed. Hope this helped!

- Evan


Nov 25, 2003, 12:59 PM
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Registered: Nov 25, 2002
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One of the ego's favorite and most effective tools is denial -- the fact that we simply "forget" what we've been doing or what we did. We likewise easily forget a promise to start making changes. Most all of this is involuntary, and we remain unaware of it all to a large degree. That's why we must continaully remind ourselves, or have a teacher remind us, of what the hell we're actually doing. Our habitual patterns, if left uninspected, will simply go on mechanically, we no participation required on our behalf.

So a journal can help loads to spell out what we are doing and remind us what we are deciding to do. You are developing a new set of patterns, and rote is really the only way to get the thing established. A journal can help on all these counts.


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