|Haffner: The Perpetual Checkdown Day.|
I am part-way into an abbreviated ice season with an already diminutive amount of quality climbing. Over the past two seasons I’ve climbed four quality ice routes: Unholy Baptism, Redman Soars, Mean Green and Goatsbeard. In the alpine realm it is a wash with a few quality local ascents and one solid trip to Alaska balanced against a lot of waiting, taking the tools for a walk and one lousy trip to Alaska. I’m climbing the same grades on rock today as I did three-years ago.
After doing a cost-benefit analysis, it just doesn’t add up. I’ve invested untold amounts of time, effort and money over the past three-years but haven’t seen the benefits. That being said, I have had a lot of fun days repeating routes, mixed climbing, cragging or alpine climbing on easily tackled objectives.
I’ll admit it; climbing isn’t just about having fun for me. For me a big part of climbing is pushing perceived boundaries, working toward goals and doing things that I previously thought impossible. There are easier ways to have fun than climbing which often, is at best, only fun after the fact. Though I suppose diminishing returns should be expected, the balance is in the red.
I’m sure I’m to blame.
I haven’t changed my modus operandi in years though I haven’t progressed in essentially any facet of my climbing in the same period. I climb the same rock, ice and mixed grades as I did a couple years ago and I’ve made no changes. I convinced myself that people who were progressing or were having more successful days in the alpine were just lucky or in a better position. Either may have been true at times but still I did nothing to change my station. I have fallen into a rut and somehow I had convinced myself that I could keep doing the same things and expect different results.
People make difficult choices all the time and those regarding climbing amount to the easiest among these decisions. I’ve made choices that have pointed me away from maximizing climbing and I don’t regret them. The dilemma is not about regretting the life decisions I’ve made. The problem is that I have failed to allocate the time and effort I have available toward climbing in a way which is gratifying and reinforces what I love about this sport.