Over 10 days it took me. I probably spent about 40 goes on it. This route had no repeats. This route was Chimera. Since summer last year I’d been trying this monster link of Fisherman’s Tale, Postman Pat and Tuppence which goes at a top end 8b+. I would describe the route as an 8b consisting of a V7 and a V8 boulder followed by an 8a+.
We’ve all been there trying a route that is right at our limit and just being able to do each move on it. This was me at the start. For the people who push on they find a sharp improvement curve were the moves start to get easier. This wasn’t me, the moves were too hard and holds too small. I realised I’d have to do more than just try it, so I got training. Each session I would punish myself with a good 100 pull-ups before starting the session and hours working on finger strength. This was when I started improving. I went from falling off the 2nd draw to falling on the 4th draw to falling on the last draw. It felt amazing improving so much and I bet every climber finds getting better one of the best experiences. Am I wrong? There was one move which stumped me again and again, this one move was the hardest move I’ve ever come across on a route. This move didn’t just require all the strength I had but also a clinical accuracy to every movement through it. This move was as a real stopper. One day though, it was the 8th of February, it all clicked. It was like a key fitting into a lock and I felt the move go like the unleashing of the lock mechanism.
Then the pressure came. I’m not sure if I’m the only person that feels this but it grows slowly and you start to think about succeeding. I try not to though. I try to force myself into a mind-set of calm where I can focus on the moves. For I have found success to only come from this mental state. I went for it, I climbed through the crux, and the first time I’d done it. Now it was on. I believed I could do it. Got to the final moves and thought it was going to be easy. I fell. I was heart-broken I knew I’d have to do it all again. I knew I could do it now there was no doubt so the only thing I could possibly do was focus on pulling as hard as I possibly could. I climbed Chimera. This is what really doing a route at your limit comes down to.
Projects, I’d say, are the things that provide me with some pure motivation. I feel that now as in the back of my mind I think about what I’ve got next. Supercede, 8A. It’s a childhood dream, I remember climbing with Mikey and Tom as they were trying to do the first ascent and thinking how that looked like the hardest moves out there. Also Poppy 8b+, the next route at Anstey’s, the next obsession.