This fall I took on a new route that I had bolted last year. I am calling it the Infinity Round after my training program. It clocks in as a route that challenges my weaknesses of liebacking and open handed slopers and power endurance. It is on a granite wall in Unaweep Canyon and is north facing. It is slightly overhanging and is in the middle of a 250ft tall wall. It took days to clean off the layers of loose granite that had been wanting to exfoliate from the fragile wall and now that it is clean, its great fun to climb on.
I spent 8 weeks deep in a very specific training program to increase my power endurance while building my sloper strength. My opportunity to attempt the route was once a week and lasted only one burn due to the fact that I am a busy guy! I got on the wall without a real warm up to make sure that it was cool enough to hold on to the slopers and then would give it about an hour of effort. After that I would trade belays with my partners on the single pitch routes nearby until about noon or one pm and then head back to my family to play with my boys and go camping.
After 8 weeks my program and effort brought me to the level of actually sending this challenge. I was able to one hang it on 2 occasions and felt like I was ready mentally and physically to send. Then my other obligations began to take over. I have slide shows to present, clinics to teach, family to visit, parent teacher conferences to attend, science meetings to take care of and the list goes on basically eliminating any after school chance of attempting the route and killing any weekend attempt for weeks.
Is this a bad thing that I got so close and then couldn’t pull the trigger and send? I don’t know. I do know that my training and prep was dead on. I know that I had a ton of fun hanging around on the wall trying to complete the route and sharing it with those partners who were willing to join me on the wall. I know that I can and will complete the route either later this fall (or in the spring if necessary) but does it really even matter, that is what lingers in my head? Does it matter that much?
As a person I pried myself for getting things done, whether its cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, teaching my kids or providing my high school students great learning opportunities and experiences or being a good father and husband. Where does a send of a route on an obscure piece of a wall fit in?
For some of us, it is the only piece of the puzzle and for me years ago it was a huge piece. Earlier on in my climbing the send was something that was the end/success/sometimes a reason to fit in/sometimes self worth/fun. Now the send for the most part is 1% of the route and the training and people and journey and effort and problem solving and establishing and adventure are the bigger pieces and the most important to me. My partners and their experience are important and its not just another ego boosting send that I can brag about.
So what’s in a one hang, many things? Will I complete the route, Yes but have I already completed it, that is for me to decide, not you.