There must come a point in your climbing 'career' (Is there something presumptuous in calling it a 'career'? Climbing isn't a career, it's fun) when you stop getting better, and start getting worse?
From an athletic point of view there's definately a peak physical fitness age, when one can be the most beastly, but with climbing its so much more than beastliness (or should be). Perhaps that's what keeps us interested? Such a complex activity - so many facets, variables, opportunities and things to get wrong - its rarely just a simple question of strength (although be under no illusion, that helps).
I wondered whether i had reached my tipping point. I'm sure I used to be better on the board, more bouncy, better at comps and so on. But on consideration - i don't know that that is the case. I haven't been on the board as much as i used to go on it - I've been out rock climbing. So I might not be as strong, but am I a better climber? possibly (hopefully!). I think I've done more things, and I feel more competent, but where in the past I would have done some reet hard moves to get up something hard, now I have to climb it more efficiently. Within us all there is a ceiling limit of how good you can be with the resources (time, genetic muscle makeup, ability) we have. Or is there?! I'm all for boundless optimism, but realism creeps in, undermining my aspirations of burning Neddy off or doing one armers on the belay of Mecca!
Ah Mecca, Mecca, Mecca. Object of desire for so many, and more busy than the M62 on a friday night just lately. What does one do when confronted by the prospect of sitting in traffic? One does something else and waits for it to calm down. Then I saw Char's video :
(Sexy guy at 20m - for 10s)
and that got me all psyched to go on it again! It's a cool route, and I dont like to leave things undone. But I dont lie awake at night thinking of the moves on it. That I think is because its already turned into too much of a siege. I should probably have gotten my head down and sorted it out already, but for various reasons - time, skin, fitness, child, fear - I've so far managed not to do it. But, watching the above, and being reminded of what I consider the halcyon days of limestone sport climbing, has made me want it again.
Perhaps because of my advancing years my project desire (i.e. the drive to get stuck into projects) has been tempered by a love of getting to the top! what I mean here is that I like doing hard moves, but I like succeeding more. So whilst I would like to climb 8c, i recognise that the effort required to make that happen would detract from the fun i could be having climbing more temperate things. Maybe then, this is the tipping point? instead of getting on dead hard things with blind optimism, maybe now I'm more realistic in my goals???