George Carter
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When There Is No Safety Net

| Tuesday 14th November, 2023

I was climbing today and I went to work on an ungraded problem with my climbing buddy.

I’ve successfully sent it once before, and I’m not keen. It’s probably around V2, I think, and starts on an overhang, finishing on a slab. (I am not a fan of slabs).

When you’ve topped it, there are a set of three downclimb jugs (easy holds) to the left where you traverse across the top of the wall and take an easy V0 route down.

Only today, that wasn’t the case. And I only found out once I was up there.

It’s hairy enough getting to the top, but I happily traversed the downclimb jugs only to find the route-setters at the gym had removed the V0 route for re-setting. My only option to get down was a V2 route that I’ve not actually successfully climbed before! (Or the ‘quick’ route of jumping off, but I’m not ready to throw my approximately twenty-kilo-overweight body off the top of the wall yet).

I made it down alive, but it really opened my eyes…

always climb with a safety net. I don’t go up a climb unless there’s an easy “escape route” to get down on.

Until today, that is.

And I didn’t die. I had jelly legs and uncontrollably shaking hands. But I didn’t die.

I wonder where else in life I can take the plunge without checking for a safety net first… I wonder if I can actually bring myself to trust in my abilities… I wonder if I can go for it, knowing that I’ve got me.


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