The 9 Stages Of Projecting

I don't always project boulder problems, but when I do it usually goes something like this:

1. Infatuation. You see the problem in the guidebook. None of the following icons are listed: pumpy, powerful, bad landing, highball, overhung, reachy. Yes, things are off to a good start. The grade is right at your upper limit. Oh, there's even a picture, and it's pretty darn aesthetic. You love this problem and the idea of its perfect movement, holds that are just good enough, hard enough to stump you for a while, but not too hard that you won't overcome the struggle. This could be the one. Your new project.

2. Hope. You grab your pads and stuff in your necessary projecting materials. Brush, shoes, other shoes, chalk, and mega snacks. Because projecting burns a lot of calories (or am I the only one who eats my weight in trail mix while I'm climbing?). You hike up to the line and when you see it in all it's glory, it is even better than you had imagined it. You touch a few holds. You envision the moves. You see yourself sending it. Yes, it looks possible, you may even send it today! Hell, you might even flash it!

3. Fear. You grab the start holds and you cannot pull off the ground. Panic quickly sets in as you think, "What if I can't do it?!"

4. Hope, Part 2. After proper pad arrangement, you've found that you can lift your rump off the ground, and you again feel that the line is possible.

5. Hatred. Nothing is as it seems. The moves are contrived, the holds are crap, you hate this problem. You call it names. "Stupid problem! You are so stupid! And lame! How did you get three stars!?"

6. Infatuation, Part 2. By some error in your beta remembering, you've put your foot somewhere else and somehow stuck the move that was previously impossible. Then you make a link. You love this problem!  It is so fun, and the moves go, and you might just send it after all.

7. Exhaustion. So. Tired. Your skin is thrashed and you can barely lift your arms. You are thinking about calling it a day. Just one more go. Wait, just one more go. Ok, last go. Ok, really this time, this is the last go.  Actually, that one didn't count, because, well it just didn't, so this is the last go.    

8. The miracle. You are standing on top of the boulder. Unaware of how you arrived there, you try to recall the events leading up to this moment. "Nice send!" yells your friend from the ground. I sent? I sent!? YAY! Time for a nap.

9. Cookies, donut, ice cream.

—Laura Patton. This post originally appeared on the Silas The Sprinter blog.