Fear of Tan Line

I got my alpine start at the climbing gym this morning and worked on “Tan Line”, officially a V1, but what I would call at least a V1+, if not a V2, problem on the main bouldering wall of the gym.  I’ve been working ideas around in my head as to how to approach this problem because I get stuck in the same spot every time, with all of my weight on my left when I need to shift all the weight to a high right foot…or so I thought.  I recorded myself climbing as far as I could on the problem and stopping, of course, where I always get stuck.  I posted that for the MyClimb Genesis Challenge Team to give me some feedback on and they gave me some suggestions to try, analyzing the situation for me a bit.  Lou, who can at times seem deviously vague (but for good reason, because you have to discover these things for yourself in order to learn them and wire them into your system, haha), told me that this was the perfect problem for me and that I could learn a lot about body movement from it.  He suggested recording my footwork from several angles and varying my footwork while keeping my handhold beta the same.  That ended up being very helpful!  I recorded all of my attempts at this problem this morning.  With each attempt, I varied my footwork, and with each attempt, I got more perplexed at what I was trying to do with my feet.  I pride myself on my footwork, but it just wasn’t working this morning.  I paused and looked at the wall.  I looked up.  I saw the problem.

Do you know what the problem was?  Fear.  The next handhold was in a position on the wall where I couldn’t tell if it was good, bad, or ugly – crimp, sloper, or jug, either.  I had no idea what that handhold was going to feel like and it scared me.  It was holding me back.  I knew right then and there that I had to commit to that handhold and mentally prepare myself in advance for an awkward fall if I missed it or if it was a bad hold.  I asked my friend McKenzie, who was working this morning, what she thought the grade of that problem was.  She replied, “It’s an…awkward one.”  Yeah, she had that right!  I told her I thought it was a V2.  We agreed that it was at least a V1+.  She climbed the first little section of it right before we had agreed on that point.

I set up my iPad and tapped the record icon on the screen.  I got my feet into position, a position I had figured out from watching McKenzie that allowed her to get out of the left-weighted position she was in, and reached out.  I caught the hold with my right hand and didn’t have it gripped perfectly, but I held on and readjusted my hand.  I did it!  I brought my right foot up and was standing in a solid, balanced position on two different footholds.  Made it this far…might as well go for the next left handhold!  The footholds got sketchy after that, but it all worked out.  That, and the top three handholds, both in angle and in type, make this a definite V2 problem in my book!  I understood why Lou said what he did as soon as I figured out that I had to overcome the fear of the thing, which I didn’t think I had.  Of course, in the back of my mind where the concussion from last week’s fall is still healing, there was some fear lurking…

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