You had been working on this route for weeks if not months. You had reached the crux numerous times and fell. You had been visualizing the crux moves during your daydreaming time at work and just before you sleep. You had seen numerous beta from other climbers who had cruised through the crux without even breaking a sweat. Every time you climb to your crux you start to panic, your hands start to shake and your legs start to wobble, you yell and you grunt like Adam Ondra, everyone looked up to witness your epic climb and you fall…… on a 6a.
Judgement by others
If you have climbing friends who make fun of you for spending months to project an easy route that is expected. We all have these types of friends who make you feel embarrassed by your inability to improve and send easy routes. I have to be honest I am one of those people that make wisecracks at friends struggling on easy routes, but it is all done out of love (also to get a good laugh). I believe all of us have a similar experience in our rock climbing journey. Although I do not have this feeling in a long time I can definitely relate to that during my early days as a climber.
Bouldering with “kids”
It is demoralizing to struggle especially with seemingly easy grades and being so far behind your peers in climbing ability. Climbers who are shorter than you, fatter than you, and weaker than you are all able to finish the route. I thought having climbed for so many years it is unlikely that I will feel so “inadequate” at climbing, but then I went bouldering. I hadn’t done much boulder routes for a while and I had always frequent my neighborhood climbing gym and hardly ever venture out to other gyms. So having been egged on by my friend to try out another gym’s new boulder routes I went to find out what all the fuss is about.
Having warmed up on a couple of easy circuits I jump on a few V2, 3, and 4. Wasn’t much of a challenge I moved on to v5, 6, and 7 almost instantly I was shut down by the problems. Maybe the routes are really too hard but then I saw a couple of teenage girls and boys hop on them and flash it easy. WTF… Now having seen the beta from those “kids” I should be able to replicate and send the routes but nope not even close. I spend the remaining of the night trying the problems and there were times I feel like a total newbie and a route hogger.
Climb with stronger climbers
It is normal to feel inferior and it is good to be embarrassed to struggle on easy routes, that means you are climbing with the right group of friends. You should not be the best climber in your group and if you are you should find other better climbers to climb with so that you can improve, and if your stronger climbing friends are making fun of you for falling on easy projects, good you deserve it say thank you and learn from them (I’ll like to thank the teenagers at the boulder gym whoever they are for showing me just how weak I am).
I hope all my climbing friends that I make fun of for taking weeks or months projecting easy routes to improve and become stronger. There is nothing more motivating than seeing a climber showing drastic improvement that pushes you towards achieving harder climbing grades. However, if you want to feel good at being the best climber in your climbing group you can always join social-climbing introduction clubs where everyone is a newbie that climbs top rope and hangdog on 6a routes.