But deep in my heart, I am a sport climber so as soon as temperatures allowed for, I was back on a rope. And already back then – at the end February – I was attracted by one particular line which I had ended up more or less by coincidence when spending the day on a crag around the corner. I checked out the moves of “Headcrash” (8c) just briefly but was blown away by their beauty immediately. In the following weeks, I returned to this place quite often and worked the route on a fixed rope on my own. I enjoyed having this special place completely to myself, in full silence and with 100% focus. These moments altered with days when going there with friends or the whole family. Then, the focus was more on the approach hike, watching the kids discovering the tractors, horses, insects and flowers along the way or giving them a spot while they were scrambling up the little rocks around. Interestingly, the day I could send the route was one of these family days – the kids would run around and play thQeir games, they were loud and happy and we were happy, too. A perfect day – and a good reminder of the interplay between priorities, expectations and pressure.
Just a few weeks afterwards, I surprised myself with clipping the anchor of the powerful “Intercooler”, another Frankenjura 8c with a totally different style than Headcrash. I had been on the route once before having kids, but back then I thought that it was not meant for me. Expectations where rather low when I went back to it this year but at the same time I was pretty curious. I loved figuring out my beta and eventually could climb the route in one of those rare flow moments.
Fast forward to fall, as that was the time when things got interesting in terms of strategy and mindset. During summer, a few more ascents up to 8b+, both at home and on little vacation trips, had boosted my confidence, and I also had managed to frame the rather little steps in my two long-term projects as progression even if a send might still be far away. Of course confidence can be a good thing for climbing in the sense that positive thinking can create a positive reality. So when checking out yet another 8c and feeling that the moves and even links were possible without major effort, I got pretty motivated again. But then I made a mistake – instead of embracing the step-by-step-progress, I soon became quite impatient with myself, getting frustrated with every attempt that ended before the top. Two times I came pretty close to the send, but then never reached my highpoint again. I certainly had not become weaker and I also can’t blame conditions or any other circumstances. I just had started to take things for granted, to expect too much and to let numbers become too important.