This is going to be a series of posts and ramblings.
I've been telling myself lately that my "will tank is empty". The last few big objectives I've attempted- I've bailed. I haven't had the motivation or mental strength that is a crucial part of climbing big routes- at least for me. The ECR was the last GREAT effort I gave in the mountains to date. It came to be after almost an entire year of non stop climbing- and ended after 6 brutal days with an incident that almost killed me. When I say "effort", I don't mean it in the way you'd try on a project at the crag, training, or even a long day out alpine style. I'm talking about multi-day enduro-marathons of pain in miserable conditions that wear you down mentally, physically, and emotionally- day after day- in situations and places where a lapse of judgment means your life. When you dig so deep you hit the bottom and still have to keep going.
The harsh truth for me is this is the environment I live for, but lately despite how fit, stoked, or inspired I feel, when it comes down to it something's clearly not there that used to be- and to be blunt I feel weak, scared, and exhausted. Filled with doubt on whether or not I "have it in me" to go all the way. How many "great efforts" do you get in a year? In a lifetime? A bit dramatic, but it's a question I've been asking lately.
A step back sounds like a logical step, but for how much time? It's hard when so much of me wants to set goals and push harder routes on bigger mountains, even when I realize that this invites the chance of events completely out of my hands. "Chance". It's not something you want to put your life on, but I feel like it is an enormous part of playing around on big mountains in the alpine. I think about this often, and so long as I can give my entire self to it, I can live and die with the outcome and control what I'm able along the way. But to give "your all" requires more than just strength and fitness- it requires will. And right now my tank is empty.
Photo: Going "extreme alpine" on the border of France/ Italy. 📷@chrisbrinleejr