Sunday, 1 July 2007

Trad Anxiety

The good weather seems to have been and gone; it's frustrating that the long days should be rendered useless by rain. I'm looking at it sheeting down now and hoping that it rains itself out by tomorrow. Having done so much bouldering and sport climbing so far this year, I thought it was about time I put my helmet on and got back to some trad. In my usual fashion, I will start with the easy stuff so as not to scare myself silly. Tomorrow may end up feeling like a huge anticlimax if all I can manage is a VS, but I am sure that longer term it will pay off not to jump straight on E2!

Yes, I am a huge scaredy cat when it comes to trad. At the moment, I'm atributing this to lack of practice. Tomorrow may change that view. I'm quite anxious about how Trad will feel, whether I will have lost my bottle completely. I hope that all the indoor training will pay off and my strength and technique will not fail me in my hour of need. It's my head that will get in the way (yes, even my little pinhead!).

Spanish bolts

Why is it that the psychologies of trad and sport are so different? I am happy to fall on bolts (well, relatively speaking), which someone else has fixed to the rock. I don't know when the bolts were fixed, by whom or how. But if I can at all help it, I won't fall on gear I placed myself 5 minutes ago. I will also try hard moves above bolts that I wouldn't in a million years contemplate doing on trad routes. I don't seem to be able to trust my own ability to save my own life, but I have blind faith in Joe Bolter's ability to wield a bolt gun and mix resin properly. [Apologies to those of you who might have bolted routes yourself - this isn't a criticism of your ability to place bolts, just an observation that I don't usually know who you are! In fact, it may be a credit to your skills that I am prepared to trust my life to your work.] In theory, if my gear placements are solid, they are as likely to hold my fall as bolts. But something deep down in my subconscious doesn't believe this.... I'm hoping (again) that practice and experience will help initiate some mind control so that I can match my trad grade to my sport grade. Maybe this is too much to ask of myself, along with my other goal of 7c by Christmas. Do I want the moon on a stick or what....??

High steps above bolts, not so easy above trad gear

Sunday Update
What is with this weather?? It's damp and horrible and it's rained all night so everything is soggy. So I decide to climb indoors. Two stamina sessions and 29 routes later, I step outside into beautiful sunshine! I am suspicious that the weather has a personal vendetta against me and my purposes for trad. Either that or this is an omen from the Gods, telling me that trad is not for me.


DaveR said...

I think we need to stop looking at forecasts and just get climbing. Wind and rain can be a blessing on most steep Scottish crags, the rain keeping the air cool, and the wind drying the rock and keeping the midges away. IE. I wadded through neck deep wet bracken on Sat evening to find the crags dry at Glen Ogle! Wish I'd brought my shoes :)

Niall said...

Hey Emma,
For trad I suggest the 3 Ms:

Mileage, Mileage and er, Mileage!

Try practice falls onto your own gear too, I am always a lot more relaxed after I've taken some falls and know that my gear in general is fairly safe...just find a crack climb somewhere with no downward obstructions and start peeling off...

alpinedreamer said...

Hi Niall,
I agree that practice falls are ood - they certainly helped me on bolts. But I just can't get my head around trying it for he first time. I clearly don't trust my own gear placements!

Mileage is always good too. Can never do enough miles....


michael said...

Theres even the trad slots in alien. Jump of onto them there sinkers.