A Beginner Again

It’s been about 14 years since I began climbing. I wouldn’t call myself a beginner when it comes to sport (although in many ways, I still am). Yet, this fall I’ve been trying something new, and I have indeed fallen into beginner shoes again!

Traditional climbing is the name of the game in Squamish, and although I’ve always said to myself, “Oh, I’ll get into it one day!”, I’ve lived in Vancouver for about 4 years now and haven’t done a whole lot of trad. This summer, I bit the bullet and plugged a few hundred bucks into some shiny new Black Diamond cams. They’re beautiful!

My shiny new cams

After returning rather empty handed from Canmore this summer (Read about my summer through my Five Ten blog!), I was eager to refresh my spirit and open my eyes to new possibilities and opportunities.

Trad climbing is HARD. It’s hard not only physically, but very much mentally as well. My first day climbing trad this year, I whimpered and whined my way up a 5.8. You could have walked up it. But I was scaring myself, and I ended up getting a cam stuck and I was grumpy and frumpy and thought that trad climbing was not for me.

Being a wimp with my helmet all askew

However, the next day out, Tom and I headed to the Bulletheads and played around on the East Bullethead and the Campground area. There I onsighted my first 10c trad climb, placing my own gear and everything. I have never fought so hard, or sweated so much for a 5.10. It was thrilling and humbling at the same time!

Tom cruising Rainy Day Dream Away (5.10c). My first real awesome trad lead!

It seems that the more people I talk to, the more I realize that that’s the name of the game for trad climbing. You have good days, where your head is in the game and your body knows how to fit in the cracks. Then you have not so great days, when you’re scared, you can’t commit and everything feels hard.

We all have different ways of dealing with stress on the trad lead. Tom swears. Alot. I seem to cry. It’s not the best solution, and I might need to find a new outlet. Maybe I’ll try swearing. Or singing.

If only pictures had sound. You could then hear Tom using his creative outlets to deal with stress on the Filibuster pitch on Right Wing. 58m of laybacking can lead to some creative use of language!

It’s incredibly fun overall, and I’m stoked that I have discovered a new passion, where I can see daily progress! I’m learning more and more each day, and getting stoked on all the new doors that have opened!

Tom Tom getting psyched on ‘Milk Road’!
Tom nearing the end of the pumpy, splitter 5.11 pitch on Milk Road, Tantalus Wall

Yay for Beginners!!

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