As of today, it’s been about 3 weeks since I’ve completed a V4 bouldering problem.  I’ve tried many new routes and a few V5s as well, but nothing’s worked out recently.  It’s unfortunate and frustrating because I’ve been close several times.  I figured it out though, there are three things that hold me back with my climbing.

First is my lack of ability.  I’ve been climbing for about 8 months now which isn’t a short time anymore.  That said, I’m not that great.  I’ll often see younger kids doing what I couldn’t.  Since I haven’t accomplished anything recently it’s hard to think of myself as a V4 climber anymore either.

Second, is my tenderized hands.  Since I lack some of the experience and skill that would help me climb more efficiently, I end up spending more energy.  Because I can only climb once a week, my hands aren’t exactly the tungsten carbide clamps I wish they were.  After a while it hurts to weight my hands and then I’m done.

Third, and most crucially is fear.  This week and last, I’ve been close to the finish and didn’t make it because I was scared.  Last week, I was at the last hold and didn’t pull hard enough to throw myself up to grab the finish on a V4.  This week, I was at the last handhold on a very intimidating V4 when I was too scared to trust my right foot and raise my left foot high enough to then reach for the finish.  I was also 2/3 up a V5 (a V5 you guys) when my left hand didn’t feel all that secure, so I dropped.

In each of these situations I had no excuse to not carry on.  The holds were solid, my hands weren’t sliding, my muscles were all working ok.  I would just get scared and give up.  I don’t want to fall, but I know it’s not the end of the world since I fallen many times before.  I’m obviously not afraid of failing in front of witnesses since I obviously give up anyway.  I don’t even know what I’m so afraid of.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.          -Dune