Whitecaps flashed against a sandy shoreline. From my lofty belay 10 miles east, I braced against a frigid breeze off the snow-clad Alta Roca mountains. The cold of the Mediterranean island of Corsica had been the first surprise. The difficulty of the route Delaney and I had been trying was the other.
It would be nice if things came naturally or easily, if I was just talented enough to send quickly and walk away. If I wanted easy, I’d choose easy, but without a challenge a victory is hollow.
So choose the hard road every time. If it isn’t hard, then it isn’t worth doing –– the bonds that we form with all aspects of our lives are only as strong as the energy we put into them.
Hitting emotional and mental rock bottom often, I developed intuition and experience subconsciously. Eventually, those key learning stones developed an awareness that there was a much better way of approaching climbing, and to be honest, it wasn’t even a new idea!
I skipped the bolt. The crack crumbled as I brought my foot even with my hands and tried to shift onto the last foot smear. Four meters above my placement I launched into the last jam. My pinky slid into position but I choked as I felt it creep slowly out of the crack. I didn’t generate enough momentum to lock solidly and I was slipping.
For ten days I fought terrible conditions. Nature was not being kind to my plan. Key finger-locks were wet, holds had broken, and sequences were marred. The temperature was too hot and forced me into concentrated efforts in the evening but I was still one falling. 6 days into my session a rare-deluge soaked everything. I didn’t really take it well– this was my last chance...