I’ve been climbing for nearly 10 years, and am very thankful to have never had a serious injury while rock climbing. A few weeks ago Tess and I were in Blodgett Canyon and I led off on the first pitch of “Cornlier Ridge.” The opening moves were much harder than I expected. I fell hard just off the deck, and through various circumstances burned and lacerated my right pinky. I recovered my gear and we headed back down. The experience rattled me badly, and suddenly this thing that I have loved so much didn’t really seem so great.
My hand has healed quickly. I’m not sure if it was the bill from ER, or wanting to clear my head before my upcoming trip to Squamish, but Sunday felt like the right time to give it another go. I didn’t sleep well Saturday night. I’ve never asked myself to go back to the site of an accident and try again.
To progress, we have to be willing to look deeply at our mistakes. I’ve run away or given up on plenty of things, but it’s never felt comfortable. This didn’t have to be one of those things. Sarah and I hiked up to the route on Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen, but felt pretty sure it would go well if I just gave it another go.
The lower crux pitch took me a while to lead, and still scared me. I sent with good style, but could feel myself grunting and gripping harder than I have on most other, harder climbs lately. I pulled to the anchors in good style, and sent the upper crux without issue. We agreed that the climbing is probably only 5.10b. I’ll have to do it a few more times before it really feels comfortable. The accomplishment felt strangely empty. Perhaps because the climbing is well within my capacities, maybe more likely because fear is such an empty enemy.