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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mental Warfare - The Redpoint Game

Last night i asked myself a simple question. Which of these is the most fun:

a) Crusing up a big cliff with the sun on your back in a beautiful place. Stopping on a ledge every now and again taking your boots off bringing up your mate. Gaining a glorious summit high off the ground and finishing off with a couple of pints and a big fat dinner.


b) Spending multiple days on the same route, constantly tiring your skin and muscles whilst battling factors that are out of your control. Suffering stress, despondency and mental anguish all in the hope that one day the torment will come to an end and you'll be free to go and do the same thing again on a route 6 metres to the left/right.

Sounds like a no brainer on paper doesn't it. Then why oh why do so many of us put ourselves through the mental torture of trying routes that are so hard for us? Redpointing can be fun but i'm sure for the majority the fun days are vastly outweighed by the stressful, torturous days. And when it goes to 10 days+ you're on a one way street to a mental breakdown. I definitely struggled with the mental aspects of redpointing early on in my redpoint career. I remember being on the Catwalk at Malham in 2003, i was just about to have a redpoint of Raindogs and the self doubt in my mind was overwhelming. I was literally telling myself i was going to fall off. Ten years on i guess i'm a seasoned redpointer and have become quite resilient mentally. However it still only takes one bad day or even one go when you grease off and you can literally feel the doubt creeping in. It's so so hard to keep the perfect frame of mind. You need to be relaxed but also aggressive at the right times. You have to know within yourself that the end will come (this part is obviously easier the more you've done). Pete Robins (no stranger to the seige) says: "you've just got to keep going, through all the shit days where everything's wrong just keep trying. So when that good day comes you're ready to finish it". I'd love to know Mark Leach's state of mind after 45 days on Cry Freedom. He must have thought the end would never come. I guess the answer to my question is who wants an easy life? If we did we'd all be single and working in McDonalds. Most obsessives want to see what they're capable of and is there a better feeling than sticking a big number on your scorecard? Of course not. The epic ticks are ultimately more memorable, more rewarding. I can't remember much about The Cad or Lord of the Flies but i can still remember how i felt when i clipped the lower off on Melanchollie. It's a long hard slog with little rewards along the way but it's pure motivation and obsession. And that's what many of us need to get us going.

Neil Dyer after cliiping the lower off on his epic seige FA, Megalopa, LPT.

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