Bouldering is something that fell into my life. Two years ago I had no idea the sport even existed, or how much I would love it. Within this short amount of time I’ve learnt and grown as both a person and climber, and experienced so many new and exciting things. From buying my first pair of climbing shoes to visiting different climbing gyms, it has been a very fascinating time. Confusingly, it’s equally easy and difficult to pick out a single memorable moment. As a fairly new climber everything is exciting, and for this reason everything feels like a milestone. However, within this mass of adventures there are a few treasured occasions that come to mind.
One of the most memorable climbing experiences for me so far has been the ascent of a project. Every climber has a project, even if they don’t know it yet. Regardless of level or grade, working on something that you find extremely tough but realistically achievable is addictive. Trying hard on moves, breaking the problem down, switching foot placements, and tweaking beta is all part of the process.
I can recall my first project perfectly because it is still seared into my mind. In fact if someone gave me some holds, a wall and a drill, I could probably set the problem from beginning to end. This particular climb lived on a small overhang at my local gym. It had everything I had never experienced before: the holds were smaller, making them harder to hold, and the movements were foreign to me. Despite not being able to even start the problem for the first week, it had me hooked.
I would daydream about it in work, thinking about different ways to reach holds. In retrospect, it was a weird obsession. I kept coming back to the problem, trying to break it down a little at a time. After trying it again and again for what felt like forever and a day (but was really about four weeks) I walked up to the little red holds, took a deep breath, and climbed the problem like it was nothing.
I was so elated to have linked everything together; there is no feeling quite like the rush you get from sending your project. It was in those first few moments of the climb that I felt like everything started to click together. Not just with that particular problem, but with climbing in general. The movements made sense and throwing for the holds was so scary and yet so satisfying when it connected; it was such a nice feeling to understand myself in that environment. I can only really explain it as a lightbulb moment, and a massive step up in personal progress and confidence.
As I mentioned at the beginning I’m still pretty new to the climbing scene, but I’m so excited to experience everything the sport has to offer. I can’t wait to get outside on some real rock, learn how to rope climb and gain some more memorable climbing experiences in the process.