Projecting a hard route or boulder can be nerve-wracking and sometimes frustrating. For me, the most fun part of this process is usually the beginning, where you start figuring out the moves and try to find a solution that works for you. Doing new moves is always fun and especially the realization that you may be capable of doing a problem is quite motivating. In the next phase, you start trying to link the moves and try to work towards an eventual send. If you make progress, this is a lot of fun. With stagnation I sometimes struggle to keep the motivation up. Which is probably I climbed most of my harder problems in a few days and failed on everything I tried longer…:)
I have friends who don’t care about sending things at all and who get their satisfaction solely from trying new things. I think this is really admirable and in the last years my motivation for climbing has definitely shifted from a goal-oriented to a more process-oriented approach. After all, even if you don’t send anything, if you always had a nice day outside you are a very happy person. Once in a while I still try to stick with projects, as it is a great challenge to stay motivated in a good way. Learning how to be happy even with the smallest progress, learning how to deal with failure, evaluating what to change…it’s a bit like a research project really;)
Sometimes, projecting can be easy though. This year, after a very cool trip to Fontainebleau my motivation for bouldering was dwindling. By chance I ended up on a rope climbing crag called ‘Wasserstein’, whose central pillar is home to one of the most impressive lines of the Frankenjura, ‘Headcrash’. From the first day, I was blown away not only by the beauty of the line but also the quality of the climbing. Especially the upper part of the route climbs incredibly well, though with my non-existent endurance -this was my first day on a rope this year- I could hardly make it from bolt to bolt. The crux is lower down, after about a third of the route: An uncompromising bouldery crux consisting of only two moves revolving around a barely-there shallow pinch.
Since I had never tried such a difficult route, I could not assess whether there was any prospect of success. Thus, the ‘strategy’ was to continue trying as long as it’s fun, without any expectations. At first the progress was quite slow; it took me several days to do the first crux move and to link the upper part. After a few days (I didn’t count how many), I climbed through the crux for the first time from the start. On each of the following moves, I waited for my elbows to go into ‘chicken wing-mode’…but surprisingly I didn’t get pumped and climbed to the top!
So I could climb my by far most difficult route (my hardest route before Headcrash was an easy 8b…) … without any drama… which makes this success even more valuable for me:)
Thanks to everyone who was there with me for the great time at this peaceful spot!