When I started this blog I wanted to share my climbing experience and also motivate myself to push my comfort zone and grow. To be honest, I didn’t do that much since then. Pushing comfort zone is scary and uncomfortable. And you need some courage and motivation to do that.
I also realized that since past 2 maybe 3 years I was stagnating in my climbing performance. I had a feeling that I was stuck at a certain level and didn’t progress that much. And I know it happens. I have heard from other climbers that there are moments when the progress reaches plateau. And I guess also the more advanced you get is harder to keep the same progress as it was in the beginning when starting to climb.
Recently I noticed that I was also not so happy about where I was in my climbing journey. I saw my friends progressing and going for harder levels and I wish I could do the same. Well recently I had some good and honest discussions with one of my friends about my fears and how that holds me back. The conclusion was that if I could step over those fears, I could grow again in my climbing experience. We ended up making a deal, that I’ll start working on them.
The challenge – long overhanging routes
One of my fears is fear from high and overhanging routes. So in order to deal with that I have a deal that every practice I will do one long and overhanging route. So in our gym longest routes are about 20 meters and I believe this one is about that.
In order to deal with it in a better way I do long routes with as good grips as I can get so that only challenge my mind has to deal with is height and not feeling that I cannot hold. I chose a nice long 5c with good, deep grips and a nice flow. I’m now doing it since about 4 weeks, and last 3 weeks also climbing twice a week so about 6 or 7 sessions so far.
How is it going
First week of the challenge I skipped the long route. I did some other challenging ones that I was quite proud of but not a long one as I promised to myself and my friend. Felt a bit guilty for that, as we had an agreement. I also understood that if I am not pushing myself through my blocks, I won’t be able to grow. And growing was what I missed. So I needed to go through that discomfort….
Since the challenge started, I was always arriving to the gym quite anxious thinking my whole ride to the gym about doing long routes. I had to push myself to do that long 5c, even when feeling scared and uncomfortable. First times was over gripping and scary. First few sessions after that long route I always finished with so pumped arms that I needed a break of 5 min before I could belay. But it also gave me a proud feeling that I went for it and didn’t skip. Every session is a new battle to get on long route but after that I’m proud that I got myself to do it.
Results so far
At the 4th or 5th session I realized I could finish this 5c with just slightly pumped arms and quite an ease on my mind. And that was the moment when I saw the payback for my efforts – climbing with my mind connected to the movements and not over gripping.
After that I also did a long and overhang 6a which starts with a slab part then goes into an overhang and then straight wall again. Maybe a bit higher then that 5c. To be honest, I was not planning to do that route for a long time, as it was intimidating. But I had a good chat with my belayer about how to approach it and I said to her and myself, that I’ll go as far as I can and if I am completely freaking out, I’ll stop. Well, I managed to reach the top, not in one go yet but I went for it and felt really proud of my self. It was quite tiring and I got super pumped arms but I went for it even when I was quite scared getting into overhang part. To repeat it again I’ll definitely need some courage, but would be cool if I could get to do it in one go :-).
During the last practice I worked a lot on overhanging but shorter routes and by end of the evening I realized I didn’t do any long ones as I was supposed to. So I picked a new 5c as my last one. And guess what I actually enjoyed it. Even though was quite pumping my arms and I finished with quite some pain in my forearms, I was quite in a ease in my mind, I climbed mindfully, thinking about each step and didn’t bother myself about height. I must admit that route also had some good grips but even though as last one of the session it still was a good practice.
I’m really proud of myself for doing this challenge. In each practice I need to remind myself why I’m doing this. But I start seeing first results which is more ease of mind and less tired arms. I’m not comfortable with the heights and overhang parts yet, but I’m getting there. After doing this long route I feel I can push harder on shorter ones and therefore go for higher grades, as my mind is calm.
I’ll keep the challange up and when it feels more comfortable I’ll add a higher level or some other challange. In our gym there are plenty of things I can work on which scares me 😀
As said in the beginning of this post, pushing comfort zone is uncomfortable and scary and you need to agree with yourself to go through it. But once you do, you see that it was worth it.
I’ll keep you posted on how I’m going with my challenge. And hope it inspires you to explore what’s a step behind your comfort zone.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!