A Taste Of Struggle
This picture is special to me. It is pretty because of the rock and the landscape, but more than that Seth captured a lot of different emotions and a state of mind in this photo.
Trebenna, where the shot is taken, is the most popular crag in Geyikbayiri. This is because of its shady nature, so longed for by climbers in the typical hot temperatures of the summer and the shoulder seasons. The crag has a lot of mega classics, with climbers lined up with their rope bags, ready to do a try. It has a cave-like feeling to it and brings climbers in close proximity to each other, which means often listen to climber-bro talks and failure or victory screams.
On this day, the crag was empty. It was a rare cloudy day for November in Geyikbayiri. Climbers headed to the south and west facing crags.
I climbed this route a couple days before and got terrified at the middle section where I couldn’t clip the draw at all. I was captured by the aesthetic tufa that defines the route and watched various people climb it. At some point a woman climbed it and just skipped the draw. I was astonished. All of the sudden, the barrier in my mind broke down and I could imagine climbing the other part of the route as well.
The perfect conditions of slightly cold temperatures and no spectators presented itself. I took a very pragmatic and careful approach, by stick-clipping my way up it and gauging the fall potential and distance at this very draw. The climb was low angle in the beginning and became steeper to the middle and end of it. If I wouldn’t clip this draw and I would fall above it somewhere, I would fly a couple of meters down and hit the slab. Not quite a ground fall but a fall with injury consequences. I evaluated the consequences high but the risk of falling very low. An intense feeling of seriousness and cautiousness overcame me. I was really excited to have a chance now to climb this route, but I also needed to channel my energy on perfect movement and mental focus. After stick-clipping and setting the ropes up for Seth, I decided to climb the route. My seriousness and decisiveness created a unique climbing experience in sport climbing for me. Usually, falls are fun and necessary to test out your capabilities. Here, I was forced to focus on the rock features and not let exhaustion, fear and unknown movement sequences insecure me. I could experience flow on a route that was on my limit, including interruptions by falls in safer parts of the route.
This climb on this particular day represents a whole progression in part of my life. Despite its grade I felt like I should try that climb, especially after watching so many people on it. Then I got terrified, beat down and told (by myself or the route) that I can not do this climb. By observing others I found a different way and gained hope again. This time, the lightness of sport climbing and projecting was not there anymore. Seriousness took over and forced me to approach the climb in a different way. Still, I had an inner drive to climb and was able to enjoy this intense feeling of commitment, confidence and cautiousness.
In my personal life, I struggle with self-validation and confidence at times. A part of me drives me into these objectives – like becoming a guide or learning how to ski. I gain confidence with peers, the mountains and clients. Then I start to compare myself to other athletes, and that makes me feel unworthy of this path.
Recently I took an advanced guide course with a lot of confidence and drive to proceed my career, but then I got beat down by the instructors for deficiencies I wasn’t even aware of. A mix of feelings of being treated unfairly and unable to accept the amount of critique bring me into a frozen and denying state of mind. The emotions caused by this are keeping my drive and confidence down and I do not dare to look towards any progress. Lightness of life disappears in that moment and makes me distance from this guiding future. My decisiveness and belief in myself bring me back on to the path. Even though at times it would be easier to observe somebody else’s solution that I could just follow. I take on the task and implement more seriousness and intensity to my guiding path. I gain hope again and know that the limits of my life are not as close as I like to think sometimes.
Just like in climbing – you are alone on your route. Nobody can make a decision for you or show you the exact way to go. But behind the scenes there are always people.
Our connection to the world and to us goes through them. They can be a role model, mentor, friend, or partner who help you be yourself. After reflecting on my beat down experience I could feel how thankful I am for this very life and the turns, ups and downs it brings with it.