We got an email from Meredith that it’s time to get back to the blog and write about our climb now that we’ve had some space to digest it all. I didn’t think I had that much to say, but I guess I might. Here’s random thought #1:
You can never really be ready for a trip like this. People told me this and I read this and I told myself this I think I even blogged about it but really, really you can never be ready. Listen to me people” YOU CAN NEVER BE READY. AT SOME POINT, YOU JUST HAVE TO GO.” All the training and reading and talking to people and working through spreadsheets and gear matrices… it’s great to be prepared and it eases your mind and makes you feel more in control than not training. It will never be enough.
I’m not saying not to train. If nothing else, the confidence you gain from training is invaluable, after all, and I lack confidence, for sure. This is without a doubt my biggest weakness. I think women more than men struggle with this (See Amy Cuddy’s TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en)
It’s this idea that we can’t be fully prepared for life. It’s like if we could research the heck out of something and train away all our self-doubt, we could somehow glean some control over the uncertain world.
And women worry about appearances more than men, I think. I don’t want to look like the foolish, middle aged lady who doesn’t know what she’s gotten herself into. I definitely don’t want some guy to have to rescue me. That would be proof of my incompetence.
So if I were to say there was one big lesson from Denali that I knew before I left for the climb, but now has finally been hammered into my dense skull it would be: prepare, train, yes; but then in the end, just go.
So I’m starting to train for two new projects and here are my new thoughts about being ready:
* A Big Wall Climb of El Cap. Maybe Lurking Fear or Triple Direct?
So I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time ever since I went to Yosemite for the first time and saw it. I think anyone who loves rock would look up at El Cap and say to herself “I need to do that.” And for the full experience, I really want to do it big wall style. And now I actually have a partner and we’re starting to plan. I’ve convinced Stef that in 2017 for her 50th birthday, the two of us are heading up. Stef asked me early on, “Do you think we can be ready in time to do this?” And my answer is “no, of course not!” Neither of us have done more aid climbing than the occasional french free and the bolt ladder on Monkey Face. We need to climb together and we need to learn how to aid climb. But we’ll figure it out. We’ll hire someone to help us. We’ll train. We’ll practice our systems together. We’ll read the book (I shamelessly just bought my copy of “How to Aid Climb” and have been taking notes, even). And in the end it will still be a mind blowing experience where we’ll make lots of mistakes (small ones, we can recover from only, please) and there will be some Euromacho guy who will want to pass us just because we’re middle aged ladies (and maybe because we look like we don’t know what we’re doing, but I doubt that.)
*Kimchi Suicide Volcano, Coflax.
I was at the gym a couple of months ago when Anita turned to me and asked me to do this route with her. I, of course, said “Sure!” as I always do before I even know what I’m getting in to. And here is a different preparedness dilemma than El Cap. I’m not sure I *can* do this route, like ever. It may be over my ability. While I may never *feel* ready for an El Cap big wall I may actually never *be* ready for this climb. So in this sense training for it takes on a different element. I’ve started training and I’ve started climbing with Anita every chance I get. I may never climb this route, but I’m going to be a better person for training for it and I’ll be a better climbing partner to Anita for training with her. And even if I can’t do this route, I would love to skip up there and have a look and maybe do the route next to it.