The last month has been rough. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the life that I live, but my mental state hasn’t been in top form. After 9 years of dedication to the sport of climbing, I’ve become very accustomed to the cyclical nature of progression. Throughout each year there are high’s and low’s in strength, flow, and motivation. The waves are inevitable regardless of how we try to fight them. In the last few years, I’ve brought a lot of my own attention and focus to the cycle, and have done my best to cope. Luckily (or unluckily), my yearly finger injuries in the past have more or less defined the low points. Injuries force abnormal amounts of rest, hinder the furthering of one’s limits, and generally put a serious damper on motivation. The whole body recovers during this time, and when the injury is healed, motivation spikes and progression continues. However, this year was an odd one for me. From early April of 2010 until the end of the year, I suffered zero injuries, motivation was at abnormally high levels, and the progression in my climbing was obvious to myself in an extremely rare way. Everything clicked and kept clicking. The high point of the cycle seemed unreachable. Understandably, this inspired a peak in confidence in myself and my abilities on rock. This carried over into all parts of my life, for better or worse. I became blind to the cycle, and set myself up for something that I hadn’t yet experienced. Sometime in the first week of February 2011, I crashed. And it was a big one. Without warning, my body went into complete system failure. It felt like my body was entirely rejecting rock climbing. Or at least that’s the best way I can describe the feeling. I know what bad days are like, and this wasn’t one of them. This was a month long string of failure. Regardless of how hard I tried to push through, everything continued to feel very wrong. And so I succumbed to the obvious mental side effects of such a fall. My confidence as a climber dwindled to nearly nothing. And I pretty much stopped climbing for the whole month. ABS Nationals came and went with a disappointing result and I spiraled into a dark hole of anti-psych. I began questioning the future, who I was as a climber, and tried my best to ground myself to the original ideals that inspired me to take up climbing in the first place. I had fought the cycle, and the cycle won. It’s easy to become addicted to the power and control found in high end bouldering, and the loss of it all resulted in a unique set of withdrawals. The cure to it all slowly became obvious. I had to be completely alright with the fact that I might never climb “hard” ever again, or if I couldn’t then I might as well quit. Coming to a definite realization was a very grounding process. Obviously, I wasn’t about to quit. So I spent a lot of time focusing on the things I really enjoyed about the sport aside from the difficulty. All the things I have taken for granted in recent years became apparent. The amazing community of people that exists in this sport, the camaraderie, my friends, being outside in amazing locations, are all things that I’m very lucky to have in my life. And I don’t need to climb “hard” to have them. With new found clarity, the frustration subsided. Time off allowed my body the rest that it needed, and I’m happy to say that I’m back. Fresh, new, and with a better outlook on everything. Of course, I will continue to try and push my limits, but it’s no longer my foundation for success.

I also have a new project! It’s in Boulder Canyon and it’s called The Game. I’ve spent 4 days on it so far, and my last day out there I linked from the 2nd move to the top! I’m not really sure when a send will happen. Anything is possible. For now I’ve just been enjoying the process. If anyone wants to get out climbing, as always, let me know. I’m psyched on anything and everything.