Concluding my first year of climbing, I was astounded as I peeked back into history, gazing upon the areas of this Country I discovered myself. Mysterious nooks and crannies, dangling from steep cliff-sides hundreds of feet up, views I would never otherwise be granted without the path, I chose, to rock climb. I had come so far, yet there was still room for improvement and much more. Having completed some of my first leads on sport and trad, I decided to compile a list of what I considered to be the most important ‘key focuses’ for a novice climber. The title states it all, you nor I can be a good leader without first being able to be a good follower. My hopes are that you gain as much out of this as I have.
COMMITMENT: Analyze my moves but after 5 seconds commit to a sequence 10 seconds push away and fall (no matter the slack, yet considering safety of course)
TRUST: When I am afraid do not ask for a ‘take up’ of slack unless there is more than 5 feet
EXPECTATION: Challenge the friction of my shoes on approach, climb and descent
INTENTION: No pulling on gear – unless I am on a speed ascent or aiding – goal is to learn and I cannot, without discovering technique through trail and error
WISDOM: Challenge my own techniques of climbing and body positioning! On face, crack, overhang, slab. Should I have a two thumbs down jam? Or will one pinky down work better? Hips squared up? or out to the side? Will my foot paste to that little crystal or smear that steep slab til I reach the next good hand hold? I will never know until I try!
DISCIPLINE: Practice my yoga breath… relax and calm so that I can incorporate these practices without the outside influences of stress, hurriedness or panic
KNOWLEDGE: Look at the gear before removing it – speed is vital yet it plateaus without proper knowledge – gain the understanding of what a textbook placement is
PREPAREDNESS: Ask questions! If the leader fell and made contact with a ledge or were knocked unconscious, how would I get to him or her? How would I anchor in, to have the rope to rappel to safety and assistance?
HUMILITY: There will never be a point where I have grasped everything there is to know. Techniques and intelligence in all fields are constantly changing and adapting to more efficient ways. I will continue to be receptive to gaining a new understanding of my arts.
Casey Ferguson 3/19/15
Brave Explorations. Soulful Discoveries.