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A Glimpse of a Different Outlook


 

by Bill Grasse

April 09, 2002

For the past few weeks Iíve been infatuated with a certain boulder problem. During school and work I find myself thinking of it and only wanting to send it. When I go to work on it and donít get it, I donít come away fulfilled or happy that I had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors or the fun of climbing. Iím totally consumed by this problem. Why? The moves are not that fun and the holds just plain hurt. When I think of the day that I succeed, I donít dream of the fun of topping out on the problem or the exhilaration of finally getting the sequence. The truth of the matter is that I dream of how great it will be to tell my friends that I got it. Why? How will I have bettered myself by bragging about a problem? Well, sometimes the achievement of succeeding can open our eyes to whatís really important. Thatís what happened to me and this is the story of how it happened.

There it stands, amongst the bushes with the sun lighting one side up to a warm orangish red. On the shaded side of the boulder, white highlights its flaws to display my reason for coming.

Starting from a sit start, you pull onto a side pull and throw into an under-cling dropping one knee. Then with an explosion of energy you throw your right hand and latch a small rail allowing you to spread your legs and stem. From here you cross to a pocket and lunge to the finishing jug. After the jug itís three or four moves of V0 to the top. Were you can rest and feel your success.

As I dipped my hands into my chalk bag I looked at the rock. It was a warm sunny evening and I came straight from work. It had just rained, so the air smelled green and grassy. I parked the truck on the side of the road and started down the trail. The sky was dark with clouds to the east and red to the west. The air was calm, and the sun was about to disappear behind the mountains. Iíd better hurry. When I arrived at the boulder, there it was, the problem, a test of my ability that I was anxious to start.

As I started to pull my weight off the ground I felt heavy. Holding on I gathered the strength and throw for the hold. As I climbed the V0 moves out of the shade onto the top of the boulder I was in awe. The crux moves didnít seem like they were desperate or even hard. It was though I had dreamed it. As the sun warmed my face, the bushes and surrounding grass glittered in the sunset. As I sat on top, I looked around and noticed something. I was just a small part of a bigger picture. Every thing that had previously driven me, all of a sudden, seemed irrelevant. To the east the storm rumbled, and in a field below the boulder some deer were drawn near by the allure of better grazing. The minute relevancy of my recent accomplishment was drowned out by the overwhelming peacefulness and joy of being right where I was at that moment in time. Donít get me wrong I will always want to do better and to push my limits. I still like to climb and brag, itís fun, but I will not let myself forget how lucky we are to be able to enjoy such a beautiful thing as nature. On that day I was not a climber out to obtain new bragging rights or a person practicing an athletic sport in the hopes of getting better. I was a leaf on a tree or a rock in a field. I was a part of nature and the remembrance of that is now a large part of my motivation to climb.



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