Monday, March 26, 2012

A Successful Failure

Saturday, March 24th
Lewis & Haggle - American Fork Canyon, Hell Wall
The mourning came quick & wonderfully. My eyes opened, & out of bed I was at 4:30 am, full of revitalized energy; all of the week's doubts & insecurities seemingly swept clean by a few hours of sweeping solid sleep. I had decided the night before to let it all go, to stop expending precious energies on that which I was forcing upon myself. To unleash the BLANK, relinquishing all worked. & I was ready to attack Half Acre, knock it out of the way & move on...

We pulled over into the pull-out for The Hell Area, & unpacked the car & let Deuce, our dog, out & threw a leash around his neck. The weather was overcast, an illusion of a sun trying desperately to make itself a reality, light translucently & weakly burning thru thin clouds. We both looked up & both hoped it would succeed.
Lewis & Haggle - American Fork, unloading the Buddha Beast
It wasn't cold, by any stretch of the imagination. It was warm. Much warmer then we were used to. Just after 9, the gauge in the Buddha Beast was reading 53. Wonderfully warm climbing temps. As we walked down the road, Haggle w/ her pack on her back walking next to & holding Deuce.
Haggle & Lewis - American Fork, Hell Wall, Romeo's Bleeding 11.b
 Me, trailing, shouldering a heavy pack & holding the crash pad, ('are we taking that?' Haggle asked me earlier. Yes, I replied. 'Why?' So we can relax on it if we want...& the second clip on Half Acre is a hard one, I told her matter-of-factly...Haggle ended up taking a small little nap on it...lucky for her), craning my head back to watch for on coming cars. The closer we got, the more excited I became. The weather was churning something w/in me. Far better weather today, then the day of The Blight, I told myself. I could feel a smile creeping across my face, & for the first time in a long time, I didn't try to hide it, or hold it in. I let it take responsibility over my entire facade....

We had talked, on the drive down, about starting out on two very easy looking routes we had spied on our way out the last time we were here. The promise (not of doing easy routes) but of doing routes we had never done before along w/ the fact that they aren't in the guide, tickled our fancy. Un-shouldering our packs underneath the first climb, I said (looking up), looks maybe like 5.6. 'Easier then that,' Haggle snorted. I asked her to get things ready if she didn't mind. I wanted to run up & take look at Half Acre, my route of the day. I speedily walked up the trail, & stopped dead as it came into view. Spreading like two massive fingers, were streaks of still-wet, still drippings stains of water. They criss-crossed over the second & third bolts. For the first time of the day, disappointment settled like a lazy dog into an unfamiliar cozy bed, sure & concrete in its resolve to take a nap. Staying positive I returned to Haggle, telling her that it might not be a go, & gave her the reasons. 'Well, the sun should be coming out in about an hour... I bet it dries out.' So we goofily made out way up the first '5.6' route, theatrically grunting & cursing , laughing at one another, & moved on to the next route directly to the right. Earlier, after coming to terms w/ the fact that Half Acre might not be climbable today, I ran over to The Hell Wall, thinking we might instead make our way up Reaching For Razors, a 5.11d. It too was wet half way up. Switching plans yet again, I settled on Romeo's Bleeding, 5.11b. A long(ish) route, that had always caught my eye. It looked interesting & contorting. Somewhere during the day, I unconsciously let Half Acre (or any of my other 5.12 climbs) go. Project 31 slipped from my mind...We ended up climbing Romeo's Bleeding & Reaching For Razors. More simply put then any writer would care to, we had fun. & that was the lesson of the day, for me. A big, Arching lesson that I am undeniably grateful for...

Sunday, March 25th 
Lewis - American Fork river
Driving home after a long day of climbing is always serene, quiet, & a little more then perfect. There exists a spiritual overtone that seems to saturate everything, & anybody who finds themselves in its wake falls victim to the  enticing spell. There is always conversation, but usually it is hushed, as if the voices speaking & the ears listening are ensconced between pillows of cotton; you don't mean to, but you end up speaking as if in great museum or church. Rarely do I have these moments in the 'outside' world, sometimes it occurs just after waking from a potent dream, sometimes when writing, but always, always w/out a flinch, it occurs driving home after an interminable day of climbing.
Lewis - American Fork, El Diablo Wall, Gateway 5.12a
It unearths thoughts past, hopes of near or far future; it paints a wild array of imaginary possibilities – it makes you feel the humble energy of the earth , or creates a demonic narcissist w/ grandiose abilities. Either way, this serene energy of depleted vigor accomplishes one thing: it makes you feel. & inward you turn, for thru the depletion of your body's resources, a strength of curiosity froths up & roils undeniably up to the crust of your surface...'s been a day since being released from medical withdrawal & I have been allowed to enter the Gen-Pop of this place...this Rehab compound. & that is exactly how it feels. A compound. It is getting late in the day, where sun begins to wan & give way to the oncoming dark of night. As I stand here, atop a hill that over looks Monterrey Bay, 2 miles away, & straight out more into the pacific, I can watch the sun descending slowly toward the curving horizon. It has been a long time since I've seen the curvature of the earth; it has me hypnotized. I stare & stare, no particular thought going thru my head. I am not well. Feel alone utterly, discombobulated, twirling out of control – a feeling of falling overtakes me, & I have to sit down. There is something off. Something not right, & I have a hard time placing what it is. Pressure begins to build in my eyes as I continue to stare off into the ocean. I blink, feeling moisture. I hold back, hard, not wanting to let fly a tearful, streaming river of salt. 'How's it going, lewi?' The voice comes from Phillip. I've dubbed him Philly Phil. He was a drug runner from Philadelphia. A gangster of Italian decent in every definition. We had been together thru Medical, & subsequently bunked together in the Withdrawal Cabin, located miles up & away from the Gen-Pop campus we now found ourselves. Nothing, I said. I don't know, everything, man. All fucked up right now, & can't place it. Philly Phil laughed a little, waving his hands at our surroundings. 'Maybe this has something to do w/ it. It's not prison, but might as well be.' No, I came back, it isn't THIS, per say, but... It hit me, & nothing I could do would hold back the tears. They began to flow. I stood, & walked to the outer edge of the hill on which we were standing. I arced my hand, pantomiming the curvature of the world, the outer most edge of the ocean. This, I said, I feel naked. 'What the fuck are you talking about, man? You high?' I smiled at his inability to think about things in a different manner, outside that which he had been taught. All Philly Phil knew was the street, albeit smart & cunning – we were just different souls caught up in the same shit – I didn't feel like explaining... wasn't sure if I could if I wanted to. Look around you, I said, what is missing? (I didn't wait for him to answer.) We are screamingly naked in this place, no sense of real direction. I'm used to feeling closed in, womb-like. Where I am from, I am constantly surrounded, hugged... I've forsaken that which I love most & that which has always given me a sense of peace & safety. There are no mountains here man... I walked away from him. He stood there, looking out into the great expanse of ocean. Perhaps pondering what I had just said, perhaps not. It didn't matter. For the first time in a long time I had hit the nail on the head, as it were. I now had a small, beginning sense of direction on how to fix all that was wrong in my life. I knew I never wanted to feel naked again...

Lewis - The Gateway, 5.12a
They look so fake, so beautiful. Other worldly, really, I say to Haggle as we drive down I-15 back toward the city. The mountains slowly passing by us on our right illumined  in Alpine Glow. The Dream state wrapped around me stays. I feel revitalized. Renewed. I know I am on the right path, for me. & I have someone to share that w/. Unaccustomed am I to such a feeling of....'correctness' that I have a difficult time accepting it even as it flows thru my spirit, my existence. It doesn't matter, tho. It exists, & for now that is enuf. So much so, that I let my failure of the weekend to redpoint any 5.12's on my list, slide on by me. Half Acre, still wet on what looked to be crucial holds was a no go.We set up on another .12, The Gateway.Gave it some great meaningful goes, climbed it 3 times but was unable to get out of my own head & send it on Redpoint – loosing the sequential dance needed to get over the crux between the 3rd & 4th bolt. It wasn't for lack of trying tho, & for that I am proud. Failure is the best thing in one's life when one fails after giving it their all...failure before trying is the worst imaginable sort of practice. One that will cut you down, & suck the spirit & soul out of possibility. I lay down into bed, my fingers feeling like rusty pitons, proud to have failed.
The Crew, wrapping up the climbing day - American Fork Canyon
Monday, March 26th
Lewis - At the anchors on 'Gateway', disappointed it wasn't a redpoint completion
The weather has turned considerably worse. Temps have dropped, winds have picked up. Climbing is most surely out of the question today. Brief thoughts of time ticking away linger on the out skirts of my consciousness. W/ Half Acre yet attempted, & Gateway cutting me down to humble size, I can begin again to focus on the training of the coming week. Pin-pointed focus on contact strength & durability. Good eating, & good living.

Have not decided if I will give Gateway another go, or move on to something else. As they say, time will tell. I believe in Time. I learn from it. It is steadfast & snails on, no matter what, second by second, minute by minute. Such is a lesson I am learning more & more each day.

1 comment:

  1. "I arced my hand, pantomiming the curvature of the world, the outer most edge of the ocean. This, I said, I feel naked."
    Shivers. I can feel what you mean, in a completely different sense.
    The mountains truly were beautiful that night, and at every moment.