Tip 13: Dance and Contentment

By Justin Stirrett

Climbing Tip: Rock The Dance

For me the word dance is a word that can make me panic and break out in a cold sweat on the horizontal plane. Yet in the vertical plane, it conjures up thoughts of the great climbers flowing over the rock effortlessly. Fluid movement over rock is a beautiful thing and yet takes a lifetime to master.

A dance is not about one part of the body but about the whole body working together to be most efficient at the movement asked of it. The most efficient climbers are very graceful and effortless on the rock. Some people seem to be born with this gift and the rest of us have to really work at it.

Why should we work at it? Well, being efficient on rock or ice is key to climbing hard. Even boulderers need to be efficient in their climbing, for a sixteen move V12 is just as hard as pulling a 5.13c for the power is always being applied and rest is unlikely in such climbs.

Climbing training author, Eric Horst wrote, “Consider that the act of climbing is an intimate dance between you and the rock; a dance in which you always lead. Recognize then, that climbing performance evolves from the inside out and that you only trip and fall when you blow a move.” (May 16, 2005, www.mountainzone.com)

Here are a few tips that can help you on the path to become a more efficient and fluid climber.

The first step is to grade down! It's hard to become an efficient climber when you’re screaming to stay on the rock. I love to get to the meat of climbing and for me it's pushing into new areas and grades that I have not yet pulled. The down side with this is that I don't consolidate the grade I'm climbing at and I end up climbing sloppy on routes that are easily within my ability. Yet, I butcher the sequence making the climb look much harder then it is. By getting on climbs of a lower grade I can focus on my technique and focus on being as smooth as possible.

The second step is to slow it down. By slowing down and thinking about your movements takes your mind off the climb and lets you enjoy just climbing. Take the time on your warm up climbs to think about your feet and hand potions. Climbing up your warm up climbs as fast as you can does not make for a better climber. Taking your time and enjoying a climb two grades below your max grade in your warm up will truly help in becoming more efficient when you get on your project and are trying to conserve energy for the crux section.

The third step is to have fun! Most climbers take themselves way too seriously! We need to forget about the grades more and enjoy the climbs. We love to climb, but most days at the crag all I hear is screaming and cursing and not a whole lot of laughing. Yet the best climbing partners always seem to be the ones that laugh a lot and cause others to relax and have a good time. By enjoying yourself and not stressing about grades it’s easy to lose your self in the climb. Losing your self in a climb and climbing for the pure joy of it is where the dance truly begins.

Living Thought: Dancing in Life

I'm not sure about you but I sometimes see people dancing through life the way I want to be dancing on the rock. I'm not talking about the fake plastic people - the ones who try to make it look like they have it together. Nor am I talking about money or positions or great jobs. No, I taking about the people who really just seem to be content and enjoying their lives.

Contentment has to be one of the hardest things to find in life. For the world is all about getting more, being more and achieving more. So, where or how does one try to find contentment? First, let us see what the word content means “Rest or quietness of the mind in one's present condition; freedom from discontent; satisfaction; contentment; moderate happiness.” [Webster]. Wow, I don't know about you but that sounds like a great thing. So how do we find contentment then?

Well, I wish I could say I understand contentment to it fullest but sadly I'm still struggling with this as well. But in my life I have found periods of contentment and am building on them. How, for me the only time I have found contentment is when I stop focusing on my self and start thinking of others! I think this is what Paul was writing about in the New Testament.

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves.” (From 1 Timothy 6:6-10, New International Version)

And he wrote these words, “I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (From Philippians 4:10-13, from New International Version)

For Paul the one who gave him strength was Jesus. Paul learned to be content in the Lord. Paul’s writings are full of similar promises that were given to us all. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (From Hebrews13:5, New International Version)

For myself I have found the walk of contentment a hard one but I find when I trust the Lord and His promise “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” I find the peace that is in Jesus and those money problems, people problems (my climbing partner driving me nuts after two days on the wall), does not seem like such a big deal and I enjoy where I'm at…contentment!

Justin Stirrett Bio Canadian, Justin Stirrett (a.k.a. WhipperJ) has been climbing for almost 20 years. He climbs 5.12, boulders V10 and WI6. A climb that is closest to his heart is 'Jacobs Ladder' (5.14a R) in Pemberton, BC. Although climbed in 1995, it hasn’t been repeated (or confirmed). In 2003, he worked a boulder problem for two years and gave it around 2000 tries. The result was “Come to the Altar” (Cimarron, CO) and maybe as hard as V14. Learn more of him at www.bridgethis.org/whipperj.


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Date Posted - 12.30.13

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