I took the leap into lead climbing about 2 years after I first got into climbing. And it took me 1-2 years to start feeling more confident about leading after that!
Despite my cautious approach, I did not go slow because I lacked a love of climbing! In fact I have enjoyed most every moment! I’ve had a lot of experiences that could have made me choose otherwise. From spending 30 minutes to climb a short 5.7, to desperately looking for a partner, to breakdowns from bailing on routes I know I could do.
Yesterday I got on the same multi pitch for the 3rd year in a row. It was an AMAZING win for me. As I compare my 3 year experiences on this route I can easily see that persistence to climbing has paid off.
Year 1 – Shaking, scared, Elvis leg, trying not to look down
Year 2 – Not bad, but made sure my partner lead pitch 3 (the hardest of the 3 pitches)
Year 3 – Guided a partner on it and lead the hardest pitch with no problems
I left there feeling really good about myself!
Not everyday is a good day
Good days, bad days, they are all about comparison. Comparison to you, comparison to your partner, comparison to a stranger.
Just the other day I walked up to a route that took me 3 years to consider climbing. As we got there the stars aligned and someone from my husband’s past life was there! It was this friend’s first time climbing. He definitely had hit the sport hard. He loved every minute of it! In fact on day 1 of ever climbing, he lead this same route that I was eyeing!!
That hit a little hard.
But actually it didn’t.
That day I did it! I tried a new route, in a new area, with a higher rating than I normally try. That was actually a great day for me. I had a lot of fun; I got to play outside and spend time with my favorite human! It’s a continuous struggle to remember, but the sooner I’ve accepted that I have different speeds and times the more good days I have started having.
In fact every time I had a bad day, there was plenty that happened to make it a good day! I got to climb with great people, try something new, reach outside of my comfort zone, encourage someone else to try something they haven’t tried, etc.
Don’t let high gravity high days get you down
For every bad day there are good days just around the corner! Keep trying, and keep crushin out there!