The Austrian climbing journal Climax has released its annual “Olga” awards for achievements in the climbing world. I was surprised and happy to discover that I was named “Journalist of the Year” by the editors.
My article on Chris Sharma’s five year battle–as both a climber and a human being–to send La Dura Dura, the hardest rock climb in the world, struggle with his place in the climbing world and relinquish the reigns to the younger generation’s most leading climber, Adam Ondra–and then of course, ultimately send La Dura Dura for himself–is now appearing in the pages of Climb Magazine in the U.K.
I’ve already been getting some feedback on Twitter:
— Simon Carter (@onsight_simon) November 28, 2013
— Mark Savage (@Photo_Savage) November 21, 2013
— Rebecca Williams (@Smart_Climbing) November 21, 2013
@EveningSends That was a great story in climb mag, I nearly gave up my job it was that inspirational.
— Stephen Byrne (@Sherpa8a) November 20, 2013
In climbing, attaining those ten minutes of Zen can be frustrating and humbling. As you practice the moves on the route by climbing on it day after day, ultimately striving to one day link all the moves together without falling, you begin to feel like you are at war with yourself. Before each attempt you may feel nervous; then, your foot slips on an easy section and you fall. You may find yourself distracted and drawn away from main goal when you begin measuring yourself up against others. You fall again. The scariest part is when you begin to doubt yourself and wonder if you might never be good enough. You fall and fall and fall again while trying to untie each and every one of these mental knots.
Waves walloped the seaside wall from which I hung—barely, I will add—by my own saline fingertips and wet climbing shoes. The waves struck with such force that mini earthquakes reverberated up through the rock and down my wooden limbs. I could feel a filigree of nerve endings in my body trembling, like the Aspen leaves do back home in Colorado in an autumnal gust of wind. Don’t think I even breathed. Everything I’d ever learned as a climber was in upheaval, churning in aqueous tumult and thoughtless panic.