Day 364: For our second day of climbing together, Jason and I decided to go back out to Calico Hills and do some bouldering. I would do only the bare minimum and rest myself for the last day’s effort. The weather was cold again (30s) but sunny enough that it wasn’t too bad. I felt pretty low energy, and unmotivated to do much climbing–and Jason really provided some much needed psych! I actually felt relieved that he had some motivation for some harder bouldering. I was dragging myself through the motions, encumbered with concerns about my project, but Jason was ready to get after it.

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I warmed up on an “easy boulder” while Jason checked his sugar. Nick suggested a short boulder problem that he assured me was “super easy” that he wanted to shoot us climbing on. I followed the group over to this area and set up some cameras to get video of Jason bouldering. Nick shot stills, Stefanie shot more video and Nick’s friend Bryce came along to climb with us. I tried this “easy problem” several times and failed to send.

 

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I didnt want to pull too hard, and my arm was starting to hurt. Bryce and Jason, however, were climbing strong.

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After I managed to put the moves together and we had all completed the problem, Jason said, “Ok, let’s do something harder!”

I was happy to do more filming than climbing at this point. My arm was still hurting and I was excited to see Jason get to work on a hard boulder problem and I wanted to support him. Our previous days outing was more of Jason supporting me so I was ready to pass the ball and let him push himself. I hadn’t seen him really climb at his limit so I was curious to see what he would do!

He got on a V3 and hiked it with minimal effort. I was impressed. He moved over to a V6 and began working the moves out with Bryce, who, it should be mentioned is a very strong kid. I was tempted to try their problem but I restrained myself. I felt the starting holds and as sharp and small as they were, I knew no good could come of it, so I stuck to capturing video!

After only several attempts Jason sent. This is my favorite shot because for a number of reasons, but I especially love the fact that you can see Jason’s pump, along for the ride.

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I was blown away! It was his hardest climb ever and he made it look pretty easy–and these holds were tiny! It wasn’t that I didn’t think he would get it–I was impressed with the fact that it seemed like he had no doubt that he could send–and that focus allowed him to unlock the moves. When you are climbing at your limit, maintaining poise and emotional control is so hard for me. Seeing this display of control and mastery from another type 1 climber– was super inspiring at a time when I was personally at low ebb.

For the remainder of the afternoon I helped out with spotting Jason and Bryce as they climbed together, intermittently taking breaks to help Stefanie shoot video. It was really enjoyable to be “off” and just to enjoy the camaraderie of climbing with friends! These two shots are of Bryce working a dynamic boulder problem called the Angel Dyno (V7).

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Bryce and Jason wound up working on some more problems (V4-V7) and it was really inspiring watching the process from the sidelines, seeing the effort and the adjustments and the failures and successes. It’s sometimes easier to take lessons from “the process” when you’re seeing someone else working through it!

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I haven’t sent harder than V5 myself so I was really happy to see Jason, a 20 year type 1 veteran put up a V6 like that in the cold. Jason is a man with a job and a family. I am a man with no job and no family. Between the two of us we agreed that we eliminated nearly all of the most commonly used excuses that people cite for not trying to push themselves!

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Not only was it good for the mentality of the group to see Jason’s success on a hard route, it really motivated me to match Jason’s level of intensity. I have never been competitive–so it’s not like I wanted to prove anything or do one better than him, but I truly felt like we were united in our climbing effort to raise the bar for the entire community of people living with diabetes. His effort made me want to try harder–he inspired me to push myself!

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Jason’s send got me out of my head for the day and changed my perspective. I was proud of him and just knowing that the true importance wasn’t about what grade routes I was sending (or falling off of!) but rather what we could do TOGETHER by motivating each other– and that was just what I needed. Jason’s support and intensity set Project 365 up perfectly for its culmination!