I’m used to seeing training like this, as a sort of work or suffering that buys you better times on those outdoor days when it all comes together. If I was ever going to do my time in the training room and earn my passage to greater climbing experiences then I suppose lockdown was the time. But thankfully training was more than that. I still spent much of lockdown imagining how it would all feel on the end of a rope, dreaming of ambitious big-wall adventures and transposing my training successes onto them, but I also enjoyed the training in itself. Although lockdown is over (hopefully for good) I still go back to the loft as if looking for something I haven’t yet found. There’s still something to learn up there, something to improve, a challenge to apply myself to and of course plenty of training to do.
I went into the pandemic focusing on what I couldn’t do, but training was an opportunity to do a better job of what I could. Lockdown was (and still is) more or less the antithesis of what I’m inspired by, but with some curiosity and attention I found something worth exploring somewhere in that loft. As it turns out, challenges are a lot easier if you’re inspired by them. I still wish this one took the form of a massive rock face, but we don’t get to pick our challenges, so I’m glad I took the passion I’ve got for the outdoors and applied it indoors. Not all worthwhile challenges are big mountains or cool rock faces (unfortunately), so hopefully I can see future challenges with the same curiosity I saw in the gap between those two holds in the loft. For now I won’t be substituting rock for anything, but I’m glad for the time I spent indoors and what I learnt from lockdown.