Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Where am I coming from?
When I was first approached by Kyle to write this blog, I was absolutely ecstatic. I was not completely sure about what a blog really entails but I hope that I can make it up with time. One of the main goals of my blog is to share with others in South Africa what it took for me to reach the level that I am at in climbing.
But before I start telling you about how brutal training can be, I'd first like to give you some background to who I am and what life means to me. I'm currently 26 years old and I'm a master's student at the University of Pretoria. The field I'm in is Research Psychology. The best way I can possibly explain what research psychology is all about is this "research psychology is for people who love psychology, but don't want to listen to other people's problems forever." Basically research gives one the opportunity to have a career in psychology, but not as a clinician. Personally, I'm moving into sustainable development and environmental psychology as I feel I can make a change to the world (at least in my small way) from here.
I may have only started climbing in April of 2006 but from the second I started I was hooked. I felt instant inspiration by watching these complete strangers lead their way up the 28 meter wall at the University of Pretoria. I only touched rock for the first time that September but I was hooked!! Competed in the Boven Rock Rally that year and onsighted my first 20 the second day that I had ever been on rock. After feeling all the energy in that competition I knew that I was in for good. Climbed Miss McKinley (23) in March 2007 and did Chunky Monkey (27) in December 2007. During September 2008, I climbed my first 28: El Dorado, in Waterval Boven. By March 2009, 29s began to fall.
I spent the rest 2009 training harder and harder. I made it on the the Rock and Road trip in July, which was quite unsuccessful for me. I spent the rest of the year trying to break the 30 barrier and when I did, it was on trad gear in the USA, the second trad ascent of a line that was opened by Hidetaka Suzuki in 1986, with 4 bolts. The line had seen several ascents as a mixed line, but I was present for the first trad ascent. Inspired by this, I spent the next weeks projecting the line until it went down on January 10, 2010. This same trip also saw me onsight my first 28 on the limestone at the Dry in the Arizona desert.
2010 was a very eventful year. In my mind I broke through to the next level. This was also the next level of University, my coursework for my master's degree which was absolutely grueling and time consuming. I was however fortunate. I had a 3 day work week, at the most. This left me time for the busiest year of my life, so far. I spend about 180 days on rock and most likely 280 days climbing, possibly more. The result for the year: 7 routes of grade 30, 7 routes grade 31 and 1 route grade 32. There were many more routes than just these, but this was what I had been working for since I began to understand what hard climbing was all about.
This brings us back to the why I'm here, writing this story about myself. I want to share the psyche that climbing gives me with other people out there. South Africa is full of young climbers who have so much potential to be so much better than I could ever hope to be; climbers like Guy Patterson-Jones, Dylan Vogt and Wesley Black are the new guys on the block that will inspire everyone else. I want to inspire anyone who is interested to be as psyched as I am and through this psyche, I intend to provide a path to training techniques that will better your climbing.
I am going to share my training routines and also tell you about the routes that I climb on rock, especially those that are really tough and are a real journey. A great deal of the training that I am busy with at the moment is power training. The reason for this is my current project in Boven, a 7 bolt line that I bolted in August 2010 and is just brute power on tiny holds... I've currently spend 14 days working this line and I felt like I was not making enough progress, so I have gone into a reclusive status to train for a month before climbing on rock again.
I've been training constantly of two weeks now and I feel stronger than ever... Next week I'll tell you a little about what this training entails.