The Slump

Every year, as my climbing schedule is pretty demanding, I go through an annual slump. For those of you that don't know, a slump is a period of time (for me usually lasting a month or two), when my climbing is just not going the way it should. I feel weak, I can't send things, and therefore lose motivation and feel pathetic every time I go climbing. In 2008 my slump came around springtime, just before my summer trip to France. This year it seems to have come pretty early and the worst of it has hit in the past few days.

Yesterday, I went to Eldorado Canyon in hopes of climbing two boulders that I have always been syked to try - Lost and Elegant Universe, both V11 and both amazing lines. Upon arrival I warmed up and started trying a V9 on the warm up boulder by the parking lot (not sure what the name is). On my first go, I pulled through the crux and missed going for the lip, not seeing an obvious good sloper right next to where I slapped. No worries I thought, now that I knew where the hold was I was sure to do it next try. However, for some unexplainable reason, it took me another 12 tries or so before I could finally pull through the crux again and top out the boulder. I was a little surprised at this, but figured now that I had the flow going I would head over to the Lost boulder and try the problems over there. After the grueling, epic hike to get there I re-warmed up and decided to start trying Lost. After 30 min or so I was unable to unroll from the weird pinch (3rd move) and even make a fable attempt to grab the crimp under the lip, so being disappointed, I walked over to Elegant Universe to see if I would feel any better on that. I did the stand start (about soft V10) within a few goes and figured since the sit only adds like 4 not so bad (V8 maybe?) moves into that, I would probably send it quick and get back on Lost to try to pull through the weird pinch move. The first move of Elegant Universe is a weird slap move from two small underclings to a good edge, a move that isn't easy per say but once figured out doesn't seem to be very hard for people to do consequently. I started trying the move and once again, I don't know why, it felt way harder then it should have. I could do it maybe one out of every ten tries, and even then it was very desperate and low percentage. I worked the boulder for about two hours and managed to make it into the stand around 6 times, but didn't get very close to doing the jump move on link. The bottom was very taxing for me and every time I got into the stand I was already very tired and simply didnt have the energy to pull and throw high enough to grab the lip. It was a wierd feeling, losing so much energy on four not so hard moves on pretty good holds, and after a few decent tries I felt so bad that I wasnt even able to pull off the ground anymore.

So first off, this blog post isn't about me trying to go on an ego trip and assume that since I cant climb V11 in one session I must be out of shape. The point I am trying to make is that I know my body pretty well, and know that usually I don't feel like this when I climb. I felt like I didn't have my usual power, finger strength, or explosiveness while climbing, and felt heavy and uncoordinated while on the wall. However, the root of the problem seems to be more of a mental thing rather then physical. Many times in the past I have felt weak, tired, and hopeless, but have been able to pull things out of nowhere and send climbs on the random. For the past few weeks (or even months), I seem to have lost this ability. Ive gotten really close to a lot of difficult climbs (for my standards) but cant complete the last step of the process, AKA the sending part. Once again I'm not sure why this is, perhaps its due to all the change that has going on in my life and having to live on my own away from my family. This is all very taxing for me and not always easy to deal with, having to take care of myself and plan things on my own. Hopefully, now that I am getting settled in and am back on a normal daily schedule, things will be easier to deal with and I can focus more on climbing and turn things around. Or, this could all have nothing to do with that and I could just be climbing like shit for no real reason at all.. who knows.. All I know is that I am getting really tired of all this and want to turn things around, to be back in the prime again and take things to new levels. I will tart training harder then before, putting more focus on performance and not accepting failure or loss of motivation. Perhaps the slump is not as uncontrollable as I think, and rather then complaining about it and not knowing what to do I have to force it instead and take myself out of it myself. One part of being a successful adult (I am referring to myself as that, because of the above mentioned reasons) is not having to fully rely on external factors to achieve your goals and instead making things happen for yourself. From now on I will take steps to do just that and try my best to take down the slump and move onwards to greater things. Shizaa!