How do your Small Moves help you Complete a Big Project?

Posted: March 11, 2012 by None Smith in Climbing, English, Training
Tags: , , , , ,

The long road ahead...

Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about rock climbing on the 360Extremes Expedition blog. Ben, in his last post, highlighted some of the places we’ve been climbing and why we think it’s so important to learn strong fundamentals of climbing. I wholeheartedly agree and actually spoke with someone the other week that reinforced this thought. In turn, it sidelined my Farewell to Arms review…

I want to talk about Jim Wing. I randomly (as with most internet findings) found a blog post on Jim’s website about his climb of Mount Washington and how he planned on doing a solo attempt. Since that time, he’s returned to New Hampshire for a solo attempt of the summit and wrote about it in a couple different episodes. I myself am interested in climbing Mount Washington but not wanting to pay the (sometimes) high price of a guide, I contacted Jim and asked him about training, what he did to prepare, and how he feels about going back alone.

Jim turned out to be a fascinating man. A Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) coach at the age of 50, he only recently has gotten into mountaineering and has the passion to pursue it with great success. As we talked about his past and his future in terms of technical mountaineering he recalled to me something his Mt. Washington guide said about his pursuit of the high peaks of this world: “Jim, if you want to get into climbing mountains, you should really learn how to rock climb.” So he did, and currently climbs at a local gym when he’s not teaching MMA.

Mt. Washington on the horizon as seen from the summit of Mt. Lafayette

Rock climbing, on top of teaching us technical know-how of knots, belaying, safety systems and more – which also translate to a variety of other uses such as canyoning, mountaineering, sailing and more – provides the participant with a mental aspect of training that I can only compare to other extreme sports. To rock climb or climb mountains successfully (or even to swim long distances and dive deep on one breath) requires a level of focus and commitment that can sometimes be strange to people not accustomed to it. This is not to say they aren’t focused or committed! But when your hands are on a crimper and the next foot hold is only couple centimeters wide and the only way to reach it is to have your knee in your chest (also called a high-step), there’s a certain level of trust of yourself, your body movements, your belayer and ultimately the rock. Trust – you need enough to believe that you’ll be able to reach the next hold without falling.

While top roping, a slip is less precarious and detrimental to the climb than in trad climbing. Last Sunday, while seconding Farewell to Arms I didn’t have a choice for a fall – I had to make the traverse. But more on that later. For now, it’s good to reflect on the small progressions we make towards our next move and how that helps us complete the whole pitch. Our small moves today for 360 Extremes will help us complete this whole project.

How about you? How do you break a project into small, manageable parts? How do you plan for your big adventures?

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