We were heading to the peaks. The weather colder than it has been for a while and the skies were blue. I didn’t know what to think or feel. I was pretty apprehensive. I had been climbing strong inside these last few weeks, still dropping on my good ankle and rolling back when falling off. So I can’t say I’m back falling on my ankle, which didn’t fil me with confidence. But, I’d take the day as it came I was just grateful for being outside in the countryside.
We parked up, got the pads on our backs and headed to Curbar Edge and made our way to Gorilla Warefare (7a). I’d be happy if I could do one move on it. My boyfriend had done the climb many times before and was always good at giving beta and coming up with short person ways to do the climb. I warmed up and got on the first few moves.
It started with a left heel and a big reach (for me) to a good shoulder crimp then pulling with the heel up to a slopey pinch. At first I struggled to reach the good bit of the shoulder hold but by getting a heel/toe in I could reach it. I then managed to get the slopey pinch but come to realise I had to campus to the next hold. It was a positive hold but the feet were shocking. After 2 months of solid upper body training the campus move felt easy. I then flung my left heel up to shuffle my hands across the holds then it came to a big move up right to a sloper. With a big rock in the way if I fell off. This was where the mental side kicked in. I didn’t want to commit. The last few moves were only a foot or so off the floor which didn’t scare me so I could try hard on the moves. Plus, it was a sloper I was jumping to. I was satisfied with working the bottom half. But my boyfriend was adamant I kept going.
I’m glad I did, with his help I managed to work the next move and the top. The top was pretty scary. Knowing somewhere below was a big rock to fall on plus a relatively high fall, keeping calm was a challenge. The crimps on top of the boulder were positive so I took my time, reminded myself to breathe and did it. I only had to work out how to match the sloper and the move after the sloper going up to a good hold. The committing move up right petrified me. It was right above the big rock, my hands were slipping off the sloper and every subconscious thought was telling me not to go for it. what if I fall? What if I land funny on my ankle? I had a good spotter but these thoughts still come to mind. It was the first time in my life I had been scared to fall off bouldering. Breaking my ankle had woken the protective instinctive part of my brain and it was telling me not to go for it. not to jump for the hold. But on one go, I went for it. After working the moves for two hours I was done. I was more than happy with what I had achieved. But with the help of the boyfriend I managed to find the footholds I needed to match the sloper.
I had done all the moves on a gritstone 7a. Just 4 months after breaking my ankle. For once I felt quite proud of myself. Now I just had to come back fresh and do it.
I came back to it a different day, after watching my boyfriend climb his project, it was my turn to make the send. The conditions were good and I felt relatively good. I warm up on the start then got the liquid chalk out and went for it. As I went for the good hold after the sloper match my right foot skimmed the pad covering the big rock. I carried on but knew I couldn’t take the tick. The dab police wouldn’t allow it. I de-pumped and went again, making a conscious effort not to catch my foot on the mat. I hit the good hold. Not to finish it! I got the good holds at the top, kept breathing and finally topped it.
Normally I’d be over the moon with doing it. But at first it was more relief I didn’t fall off. Then I thought “why didn’t I do this earlier?!” But I had done it. This was after giving up on a 6A+. it was a big highball with a dodgy landing. The moves I knew I could do however, I got a foot off the floor and bottled it. practically in tears that I couldn’t just commit and the mental frustration from getting scared because of my ankle was getting the better of me. I changed my head game for Gorilla Warefare. I knew the moves, I just had to stay positive. And I did. My first grit 7a.
These past few months have been a roller-coaster. Personally getting over falling off has been (and still is) the biggest hurdle throughout the journey. However, I’m stronger than ever and more psyched than ever. The mental aspect needs a bit more work but that will come with time and experience. But breaking my ankle was not a curse. I defienelty don’t regret it. I’ve learned so much, trained so hard and I’ve come back stronger. I plan on pushing even further. I have my eyes set on bigger goals, and I can’t wait to push my limits to achieve them.