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Those of you who follow my Twitter/Facebook feed might be wondering how the Evolution story ended. Unfortunately there was no happy ending but the story isn’t over yet and all being well, a new chapter will begin again in the spring.
I’ve not climbed now for about 3 weeks but up until that point all my climbing days over the previous 6 weeks were spent on Evolution. That’s about 2 days a week with no training days in between. It’s amazing how quickly you can rack up the days when fully committed and Evolution in terms of days invested is now probably number 2 on my all time list behind a certain route at Kilnsey. Hopefully the outcome will be different this time around!
After getting bogged down on Evolution’s second crux for several days but still doing big links I finally got the breakthrough I had hoped for and during 1 session red-pointed all the way through to the last move 3 times. Unfortunately the last hold was seeping and I got spat off while setting up for the last big move. Although frustrating I was really very happy because I was sure I could do the route, maybe even this autumn. Unfortunately, as is often the case in sport-climbing this wasn’t to be and 2 days later I popped my left knee on the crucial heel and toe lock on the lower crux. It made a sickening sound as the ligaments tore and my body suddenly felt very vulnerable. I knew immediately that was it for the year.
It’s so strange being back into redpointing after so many years away. It’s so much more high pressure than bouldering, basically because you invest so much more time and energy, both mental and physical. I guess that’s why I gave it up in the first place. The flip side of this is that the rewards are huge if you do succeed. One of the most inspiring bits of news this year was Paul Reeves eventual success on Cry Freedom after many days effort over many years at the age of 51. When I bumped into him at Ravens Tor several months after his successful red-point and asked him how it felt to finally clip the belay he told me he was still basking in the glow of his success. That feeling is a big part of what’s driving me on.
I know it’s not for everyone this single-minded focus but I do love to be working towards a goal in my life and I am sure Paul Reeve feels the same. Since getting back into sport climbing I have really enjoyed the mental and physical challenge of working and redpointing a hard route. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride but you’ve just got to roll with the punches, embrace the failures, hang in there and hopefully you will get the outcome you desire. I don’t say that flippantly because I know how hard it is to do that. Another major factor driving me on is my age and not knowing how many more years of pulling on small crimps my body can take. Hopefully many more but I am not taking anything for granted.
I hope you all had a good 2013 and I wish you good health and happiness for 2014.