A Matter of Perspective


“After being back on those big routes for a couple of days, sport climbing feels pretty casual.”

My partner was having a great afternoon at the crag, climbing beautifully up steep sport routes, even though we’d spent the last two days thrashing around on big climbs in the canyons of Red Rock. I was tired from all the adventuring, and this was supposed to be a rest day, but he unexpectedly had to leave the trip early, and so he wanted to get one more day in. I wasn’t sure where he was getting all his energy from, but he explained that compared to what we’d been doing, which was a little outside his comfort zone, this felt so carefree and casual that he was easily able to let himself go and have a blast.

The other day I led a very runout pitch at the top of a 10 pitch climb. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t dead easy either, climbing chossy rock up a sparsely bolted slab. You’d certainly get hurt if one of the sandstone nubs you were standing on decided to separate from the wall. Looking back it seems excessively dangerous compared to the the rest of the route, but at the same time it was a rewarding lead, requiring deliberate focus and attention. And after that pitch, other runouts I encountered later in the week seemed casual, especially if they involved big holds.

Our first day here, I had planned a casual intro day, and instead we did 1800′ of climbing, starting out the trip in style and setting a solid precedent for the days to come. When that’s where you start, it can only get better, and you put your mind in a different place. Something “big” becomes the norm, and your goals get a little bigger as the park suddenly seemed like a big playground, where anything was possible.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really interested in working on my weaknesses this year, and so much of that involves perspective. If I think it’s hard, it will probably feel hard. But if I can get my mind in line, and change my perspective, then anything can happen. This is so clearly illustrated in a quote I love by Italian author Primo Levi, “…I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong…” If I can keep an open mind, and change my perspective, I have no doubt the sky is the limit.

2 Responses to A Matter of Perspective

  1. It was great meeting you BJ! Glad you enjoyed yourself in RR.

    Royal March 31, 2014 at 1:52 pm
    • You as well! Sorry we never connected on those stickers, I can still send some if you want, let me know!

      BJ Sbarra March 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm
Locals Corner

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