'One man's success is another's failure'
Recently while climbing in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky Meg and I discovered a nice 50 foot climbing route.... and by discovered I mean in the guide book. The route, named Boilerplate, was tucked away in one of the furthest reaches of the Pendergrass Murray Recreational Preserve.
Now, just to be clear, I don't crush it on 5.11, 12 or 13. I'd like to climb 5.9 without falling... so finding a four-star 5.8 that was described with phrases like 'excellent route for the grade' and 'pull on solid plates' really got me excited for the hike in and the climb! When we arrived the route did look awesome... except I started to second guess myself. The 'steeper run for the chains' looked really steep and the first bolt looked way up there. I was all stoked to climb this highly recommended 5.8 but I didn't want to go all Alex Honnold free solo to the first bolt!
I made it to the chains of Boilerplate... on top rope. Yeah, it pains me to say that... I didn't climb the whole route on lead. I hung all over the crux and mentally fell all over the place. That's one of the things that makes climbing so unique from other sports. While I feel like I failed climbing that day, that might have been someone else's highest moment in the sport. Climbing a stiff 5.8, on top rope, without falling. Is one way bettern than the other? I try and tell myself not to get caught up in the numbers, don't worry about the grades, just enjoy the climbs. Truth be told... I do enjoy climbing but I want to succeed on my terms.
When the astronauts of Apollo 13 (that's right, I'm about to use an Apollo 13 reference in a climbing blog) didn't make it to the moon, but made it back to earth safely the mission was dubbed a 'successful failure'. I feel like Boilerplate was my successful failure. I climbed the route, but I didn't do it the way I wanted to. I think more than that I mentally failed at a climb I am physically capable of doing.
Is pulling on gear or hanging on a draw wrong when climbing a route? I don't see any referee blowing a whistle at the bottom of the line. Does climbing on top rope count as climbing? You made every move...
I say all this to make this statement: Most of us climb because we enjoy it so maybe I should just lighten up. Nope... I'm going to climb Boilerplate and succeed on my terms. Good thing Rocktoberfest is coming soon...