What Projecting Means to Me.
Projecting is a term used by climbers to describe the process of working on a really hard route or problem. All of us, climbers or not, know the process well but may call it something different. Goals, targets, maybe even ambitions. This process seems to be a big part of everyone’s personal, as well as professional lives. We have all driven ourselves up the wall because of it, and also enjoyed the benefits of its effectiveness.
Below I will share with you my most recent personal journey with projecting, and expand on the little things I have learned that help me make this process manageable and effective for me. Though everyone and their projects are different, I hope that by discussing our processes and telling our stories, we can help one another succeed.
Standing at the base of my summer climbing project, I felt calm. Booty Juice(12c), is a steep climb I have had my eyes on since the start of the summer when it was introduced to me by some good friends. Even though fall was beginning to step on our heals, and with it the end of outdoor season, I felt it didn’t matter. I have done all the work, I knew every move and position backwards if needed. I also put the time in to train the necessary strength and endurance. All of the pieces are in place, ‘I can do this.’
I start up the long bottom technical section of the climb that marks the first half of the route, this first section is shared with an easier route that I marked off as completed only months ago. After this section the softer graded route wanders to the right, but I intend on going straight up and tackling the harder of the two finishes head on. This was not my first attempt at this, therefor predictably, the moves felt natural. No hesitating, no hold searching, just consistent flow upwards.
Reaching the middle of the route, the business begins, the hardest moves and smallest holds this route has to offer are just a head. I calmly flow through the first few crux moves. The crux is just a fancy word we climbers use for tough part, the show stopper moves if you will. These sections are the most likely to make us fall, but I had no intention of falling. At this point, one of the sections where I tended to fall on earlier attempts was behind me. Now for the last push.
Tired, starting to get physically weaker from the consistent climbing below me, I move in to the last tough section. “This is it.” I pulled the first few moves by the skin of my teeth. Only 6 moves short of the end now, clear headed I go for the last hard move, after this one move, the route is in the bag. With a fast beating in my chest I get myself set, and make the last hard move. “Yes! I’m there!”
This little victory came short lived…
I look at the next move and realize the sad truth. I do not have enough power to finish. My scream echos through the valley below, and just like many times before this one, my hands slide off their holds and I fall yet again.
Strangely enough, I was not terribly hindered after yet another attempt came just short of the top. The first few moments after the climb, the feeling of frustration was certainly present. But after some careful reasoning, and some time taken to reorganize my thoughts I looked at the attempt as a solid and worthwhile learning experience. The ability to look at these attempts in this light has really helped me remain driven and motivated.
There is a lot of different methods out there for dealing with the mental challenges of projecting and goal setting. In the next post, I hope to brake down my process in detail. I am very interested in how it differs from your own and perhaps we can gain from the lessons learned from each others adventures.
Till next time.