My man and I headed to my favorite climbing locale last week. Finally, for the first time since we started climbing outside a couple months ago, I felt good. I don't know what was previously going on, but every time I'd climb something (except for a run up Montezuma's Tower in the Garden a couple weeks ago) I was terrified on every single route I started up. But on this day I finally felt on top of my game again, even though I'd not climbed anything yet. It was just a feeling I had - partly because I was sick of feeling freaked out for no good reason and had given myself a good pep talk.
After leading a climb I'd done many times, I scouted around for a couple others we could do. We headed toward the right side of the rock face and found one that Mountain Project said was a 5.9. I looked at it, said, "I can do that," and started roping up. I noticed that halfway up there was a bail-biner - a carebiner someone had left there because they couldn't finish the route for some reason.
When I got to that point, I understood why the previous climber had bailed. It was definitely the crux of the climb. Mountain Project said there was an undercling, but after looking at it, I knew there was no way I could hold onto what was there. It's happened before, me climbing a route differently than intended. I'm sure others do it, too. I hung there at the bolt the previous climber had bailed on and looked and looked at the next move. My man was holding me tight (at my request), while I maneuvered my feet over and over, trying to find the perfect stance. After probably six or seven "attempts" (still being held taut), I called, "Give me slack, give me slack!" And then I was up. I don't even really know how it happened. It was like my body decided my brain was a hindrance, took over for a few seconds, and completed it with sheer physicality. Without really consciously realizing what was happening, I was over the crux. And yes, definitely back on top of my game.
While I have no idea why I'd been so freaked out about climbing for so long, what really concerned me was that I was and I didn't know if the feeling was permanent. I'd actually even debated whether or not I should climb anymore (when it comes down to it, I'm too stubborn to give up, though). Glad I kept at it, because there are other things in life that scare me, and it's a good lesson learned - if I just keep trying, at some point I'll be over the crux without hardly realizing how I did it.
I don't know how I've lived in/visited Colorado as much as I have and never heard about the Pain Mines. They're only about an hour outside of the Springs and, depending on where you live, they could be as little as a half-hour away. I read about them online a couple weeks ago and today decided it would be a good summer excursion for the boys and I.
When you arrive at the parking lot, this is what you see. Colorado grasslands ad nauseam.
But up the trail a ways you crest a ridge, and look down on this. It still doesn't look like much.
Until you're in it. The rock formations aren't high, but they are definitely interesting.
And they get more interesting the further in you get. Whites, yellows, pinks, and browns all come together to color the formations.