Me, I've got a semi-obsessive personality. I like to portray it as "oh I just really enjoy climbing" but its not really, its like a heroin addict, who with one third of his brain is ALWAYS thinking of where to get his next hit. And like some heroin addicts, I live in Drysville, where the local cops have been busting dealers, and the local Chemist has got new bars and a security system so new no one knows what the default passcode is. That is Norfolk, no rock, and only a few indoor shooting galleries, albeit, some excellent ones, shared with other total addicts.
So, I need to scratch my itch, time to smoke some prescription painkillers!
I've been listening the Enormocast a lot. For those not in the know, it is a climbing podcast done by Chris Kalous (who?) from the US. He's interviewed hundreds of climbers, most of them Americans, including Cheyne Lemp (who?), Boone Speed (who?) and Noah Kaufman (who?). Also, lesser knowns like Paul Robinson, Tommy Caldwell and Hazel Findlay.
You can forget your stereotypes of dumb yanks too. Chris Kalusz is intelligent, witty, has a sexy voice and gets huge amounts of value out of his guests, who without fail give an entertaining and insightful interview.
Even if you don't like climbing, you get a taste of people's lives, why would you not be interested in Stacy Bare (who?)? Drugs analogies aside, Bare actually was addicted to cocaine after coming out of the army and he (yep, despite the name) variously learned how to clear landmines ('slowly and carefully') and discovered climbing which then saved his life by giving him a focus etc.
One of the best bits of the interview, was Chris Kalous pointing out the importance of other people towards 'your' climbing. For the self-obsessed, this is news! surely its just you and the rock? and gravity? Friends are camming devices, you must have at least some verbal contact with your belayer, but by and large it is easy to view yourself as the only person doing it.
You'll hear a lot of bollocks about what human nature actually is: especially from Cunt-Politicians, who tell you human nature demands whatever level of market freedom or state intervention best serves their vested interests. Human nature is competitive, freedom-loving, averse to foreigners, inherently violent, rational, emotional, not to be trusted - What-Fucking-Ever. I'm not Andy Kirkpatrick so we'll leave this alone...
Human nature is really the product of what the people around us say and how they behave. Not 'think', because they probably don't know why they do shit, and they definitely won't be honest about it.
So, here is a list. The more of these you can identify from your circle of friends, the more likely this is to be accurate. But make no mistake, this is far from being double-blind control group peer reviewed fact. Which is why you may be reading rather than studying it.
|Complex interplay of personality types.|
1. Guru: someone on a much higher level of climbing than you, who decides you are worth hanging out with anyway. Will help you attain greater levels of climbing well-being (achievement) and eventual reincarnation as a rope.
2. Student: someone on an even lower level of competence than yourself, who you take under your wing because it gratifies your ego to do so, they may also be genuinely worth hanging out with. By explaining how they could climb better, you are forced to mentally understand what it is you are wittering on about so will accidentally find some performance gain.
3. The Heel-snapper: another newer climber who has inexplicably decided you are worth competing with. Will hop on a climb you have just dropped and flash it then grin at you. Use your hatred to hold on harder to crimps.
4. The Technically Competent Wuss: Climbs well below what they could achieve because they don't dare leave the safety of the bomb-shelter. Technical brilliance in an often extremely static style. Do not allow feelings of superiority to develop into contempt, and be aware that if they ever get any self-hypnosis, you will be left in the dust. Follow their gear placements with the utmost attention- if you place gear like them, you will never, never get hurt.
5. Mascot: someone who starts out shit -proper shit- then improves a lot, although not so much as to be a threat. Such a lovely person that you are genuinely happy for them.
6. The Negative Guru: an incredible climber who is happy to give advice. However, their insights about how to improve are a bit squeaky. With a sickening lurch you will realise that they haven't a clue, lets hope you realise this before you start on their campus problem which will only further retard your already underdeveloped footwork.
7. The Warrior: someone not as good as you in the gym, but far, far more experienced outside and consequently far harder. Good to hang around with, and a realistic position to retire into once your days of talented climbing untainted by fear are over.
8. Upstart: An unbelievably talented young person who can burn off 98% of the people at your local wall. Do fucking not get into a competition with them inside your own head, as you will never beat them. Unless they lose interest, which they have a 98% chance of doing. The 2% who don't will star on videos in the future, and you can brag about knowing them when they first get started i.e. when they could only onsight f7b+ indoors.
9. Captain Macho: someone you write off as a cock due to the strength and a-technicality of their climbing style, easily spotted as will have his shirt off to expose a massive tattoo. Turns out to be quite a good bloke when you eventually talk to him.
10. Prickly Pear: someone who gets a bit fucking narky if you climb better than them, or start to display some climbing knowledge in conversation. If you really dent their ego they will lash out with an ostentatious verbal display of how good they are/who they have climbed with/where they route-set. Pity them, they are truly insecure.
11. The Rival. Someone just as good as you, just as motivated, who you will be friends with, but also get intensely competitive with. Managing this relationship, and achieving a level of equilibrium is a major emotional challenge. If you ever lose these feelings of competitiveness and inadequacy - Rejoice! for you are either a better human being, or they have 'won'.
There you go. Make of this what you will, and remember! this is all inside your head. Treat people as friends rather than personality types. I just wrote this to make you smile, not live your life by.