Confidence doesn’t come naturally for most of us. Often it is our anxiety that holds us back. By understanding the mechanisms behind how these emotions develop we can help tip the odds in favour of building confidence. The story of my friend and climbing partner Andrew Banks is a great example of this.
They say the journey is more important than the destination. If this is true, then walking the path towards something that is truly inspiring for you must be the ultimate journey. Whether its pursuing your dream drop, starting a passion project, building your dream home or indeed, climbing a beautiful mountain; it will be these journeys which weave the great tapestry of life.
For a week, Andrew, Ryan, Morag and myself headed into the Santa Cruz valley of the Cordillera Blanca with the intention of climbing Quitarraju and Alpamayo over 7 days. In this blog I play with the idea of a video diary to give an insight into the week. Please let me know if you would like to see more of these videos and what aspects you are most interested in.
In the spirit of the Vertical Year ethos of chasing dreams, my partner in life, Bec Perkins shares her story and experience. How do you talk about this dream with your partner or family if it means you are contemplating moving away? How do you know if your partner is going to support you or panic at the idea and potentially give you an ultimatum? How do you do the ‘long distance relationship thing’ or even talk about that as an option?
Today I realised a dream. I climbed probably the most iconic and one of the toughest ice climbs in the world - Polar Circus (V, WI5 - 700m). Probably my proudest achievement is that I lead my first grade 5 ice pitch on this route. To do this on such a classic climb is something very special to me. It has been the culmination of a lot of work and progress, mostly on the mental side of climbing over the past month.
Bourgeau Left is one of those lines that when you first see it, you stop dead in your tracks. A sprawling flow of ice, 185m in length, appearing like a singular white scar against the Limestone southern face of Mt Bourgeau. It is long, aesthetic, challenging, committing, has a colourful history and is respected. It is a route that provides everything you could look for in an ice climb and it certainly represents the best qualities of climbing in the Canadian Rockies.
Death and the mountains are inextricably linked. As climbers we expose ourselves to fear, anxiety and sometimes the very real possibility of death more so than the average Joe. I am resolute in my belief on the benefits of doing that, however I don’t think this makes us immune to mental illness. It is not a cure and we cannot fall asleep at the wheel. Hayden’s death is evidence of that.