Getting Past the Crux

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I’m still on a bit of an adrenaline high after climbing a 300+ foot multi-pitch route called Moscow (red line below) in Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon.

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I led all of the pitches, which is more committing than following lead. By committing I mean that it is more of a challenge — physically, technically, and mentally. To leave the ground takes faith in both the safety gear and my partner, and is simultaneously humbling and exalting. I absolutely love the dichotomy, and the physical and mental focus required. It takes the word “now” to whole new level of clarity. Inverse to any sort of subconscious death wish — which some people think I must have — climbing makes me feel completely alive.

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I snapped this picture near the top of the second pitch. An osprey was hovering over the water of the Crooked River, watching for trout. Not often in life are we not in an airplane and yet able to look down on flying birds.

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Normal 0 0 1 12 70 1 1 85 11.773 0 0 0 My good friend Tom (yellow helmet way down there) on the way up the final pitch.  

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It was a great climb, but not without its very tense moments in which I had serious doubts about my ability to continue. Below one particular crux (difficult section) of smooth rock, I came within an inch of abandoning the climb altogether.

 I bring all of this up because I find climbing to be analogous to writing — and any art form, for that matter — in that in the process of creation we often hit cruxes, or blocks, and have a crisis of confidence. I tip my hat to those of you for continue upward despite the doubts. As Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”