Tuesday it rained on and off all day. I did laundry and Dan worked. We planned to climb the next day. I spent the day contemplating the lead climbing. Would I be able to overcome my fear and lead before we leave here?
I wish we could stay another month. It’s cold at home and there’s nothing I want to do there. We can ride our fat bikes, we can ice climb. Neither of those is super exciting to me right now. I want to explore the rock here more.
Wednesday we woke to rain and high winds. After a couple hours, the rain cleared up but the winds were strong and cold. There was fresh snow in the hills. We decided not to climb. We were still tired and used the day to rest.
I thought back to my climbs and experiences here in Joshua Tree on this trip. It was hard to not feel disappointed with myself. I really thought I would be able to lead some climbs and I just couldn’t. I recalled a quote from Hazel Findlay. She said:
“Expectations are the thief of flow for me. As soon as I expect to climb something a certain way or with a certain ease I find it harder to be in flow. I prefer to start climbing with an open curious mind. Trust the body and let it move upwards. Some people thrive on expectations and pressure. I can manage pressure but one way I manage pressure is to maintain that open mind and curiosity even when the pressure is high.”
I expected to lead, I expected it to be easy climbing and I set myself up for disappointment.
Our last day was great. Instead of climbing, we decided to just hike. It was cold and we were tired of shivering at the rock, shivering building anchors, shivering while belaying. We hiked out along the Boy Scout Trail, heading to West Siberia, East Siberia and Outer Mongolia. We wanted to find the Asian Fever Buttress.
After a good walk, we branched to the right off the Boy Scout Trail. We could see the crags in the distance and pick out the various climbing areas, including Asian Fever Buttress. We followed trails as best we could to the crag.
The climbs looked really good, lots of fun holds on all of them and good gear placement on the trad lines. Definitely a place to go back to on a future trip. Only problem was the belay stance which was in a boulder field and seemed awkward. Dan felt he could onsight lead the easier lines so no need for walk up.
Overall, a great trip. I learned so much about trad climbing and got some great practice. Our anchor building skills were formed and developed using both gear and natural features and learning how to extend the anchor to the edge of the cliff when the anchor had to be built far back.
I did more gear placement on this trip than I’ve done in all my life before this trip. And although I didn’t end up leading, I had some great experiences.
I am a person who likes to set goals and have a plan and then I push myself hard to carry out the plan. When I fail, I feel like a failure. Of course, this really takes away from the whole climbing experience and makes it a lot less fun. I came to realize that climbing should be fun first, above all else.