Low Psyche? , OR, is climbing not for me?

Low Psyche? OR, is climbing not for me?

You know, recently, just recently, I have been noticing that climbing isn't quite as good as it used to seem.

Fuck the neverendum, this is something approaching crisis.

Now, climbing is not the first lifestyle hobby I have ever had.  Prior to climbing I was well into botanical illustration, of all things.  I used to love it, obsessively drawing and watercolouring  tiny plants in rooms full of old ladies.  I wasn't amazing at it, but I wasn't bad either, and the teacher seemed to think I had some potential.  In fact, I was there because the teacher - Christine Grey-Wilson - was one of the gnarliest people I have ever met.  

Her and her husband used to do the Kew Gardens plant hunting expeditions, and Christine had a plausible yeti story, had been appraised as being worth twenty camels in Kazakhstan, her husband Chris was mates with Bonington-era Himalayan doctors called Barney.  They were very very posh, couldn't give a rip about anything not plants and generally lived life on their own terms.

I loved it when the himalayan stories got going, and I would sit there, sketching an orchid and fantasising about going on expeditions  into the high Arctic to draw unknown species of plants.

The I realised that it wasn't the 1920s any more, Mallory was dead, and if I wanted to get out to the hills, the best way was to go to the hills and not wait to be invited.

Plus, critically, I had reached the point - and any climber will be familiar with this - where I had stopped the initial rapid improvement that takes you from beginner to average-with-talent.  Now I would need to work at it, and work hard.

I shat myself, found climbing and never went back.

Now, climbing rapidly became everything I ever wanted it to be.  It was cool, I had some talent at it, and rapidly made a load of really good friends.  This time, they were roughly my own age! although with no yeti stories.

I flung myself into it, and it has become an important part of my identity.  I cannot get enough of climbing, it does everything I want.  I have never been healthier, never had better muscles, never had better fun...

So what the fuck has happened?  What are the symptoms doctor?

Not psyched.  Good photo though.

I came back from Wales having had an awesome week of achievement, including Supermassive Black Hole which has been my ambition for the last two years.  But I dogged it.  I did the moves clean when I got my nerve up to try them, but I just couldn't commit to the crux, so rested on the rope.  Not that the climbing was easy, and I was pleased with what I had done but...

Then again, I did have a fucked back.  My disc injury had flared up, and I was necking quantities of ibuprofen that even the party animals of the eighties would have been scared by.

Then I started going back to Highball.  There was nothing wrong with Highball!  It was the same place - although busier.  But I started dicking about with what nights I climbed, trying to find nights, when I could reasonably warm up on easier circuits without wading through mobs of welcome new converts. 

I have been getting hotter and lazier each session, finding excuses for having a chat, when previously I was finding excuses to cut conversations short.  Oh I am a better person, no doubt, but if I wanted to be a better person I would start by being less grumpy with The Boy.

And then, I started skipping nights too.  I regularly work in North Norfolk, and the drive is the same as from Thetford Forest to the wall, so I would treat it as normal, squeezing extra nights climbing in because I didn't have to justify to Our Lass why I was heading out again.
But this last time?  I even set out and turned of for home at Fakenham, anxious to see The Boy so I could shout at him.

And tonight?  The roads around Watton were flooded, and in fairness I was worried about being one of the dickheads on the local news who flood their engines out.  But I used to be so determined that I would have ditched the motor and waded the last few miles with my rock shoes tied around my neck.

Most worryingly, I have found my attention wandering away from slate, and a faint curiosity about what it would be like to climb on limestone.  I don't want to!  Its just I have been wondering what it would be like...

Next weekend I am going for a weekend on the slate.  This will be a big test.  Have I really lost my heart for it all, or can the spark be rekindled into a bonfire - NO! a BLAST FURNACE! of climbing psyche.

One thing is for sure.  I will be blogging AAAALLLLL about it, in tedious angsty First World detail.  Keep reading people!