‘I haven’t led for a few months’ she said. ‘I want to build back up to it, but I’m not fit enough yet’
It was twenty years ago for me, but I could recall how leading a climb is appreciably more dangerous, especially when you are putting your own protection in. But how that extra commitment draws out strengths you didn’t know were there.
There’s that quote by Terrance McKenna ‘Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles.’ (Google the rest of you haven’t read it)
Maybe the ‘nature’ part of that idea, those forces that can feel elemental, are really just the release of abilities that lay dormant while we are in a comfort zone. So powerful and unfamiliar that they seem to be not of our own making. I don’t really need the answer to that; either way or something in-between is fine with me.
We agreed though, that stretching yourself to touch that power from time to time, can leave you deeply grounded and calm for weeks; a feeling that I suspect big-wave surfers know too.
Then the rope finished uncurling at her feet. Her cue to start climbing. She peeled-off, one move after I took this picture and swing away from the wall. The way she glared back at the rock told me that her and that route now had some unfinished business. I’ll bet she leads it one day.