All I want for Christmas…
If someone asked you what you wanted for Christmas, would you sigh wistfully and start waxing lyrical about redpointing this 8A you’ve had your eye on in El Chorro, or confuse them by explaining how much you wish you could improve your VO2max as that is holding you back on big walls? Or are you the type to wish that someone would buy you the exact cam you’ve had your eye on, even though none of your family climb, let alone know what a Dragon 001 is.
We all have a wish list at this time of year, however far-fetched, and cams and redpoints are only the start of it…
Here at Chimera HQ, the most lusted after thing this Christmas is… more skin. Halfway through winter, with finger tips shredded from multiple sessions on the 40 board, and sandstone season many moons away, the ability to instantly regrow skin would be a useful one. Skin balm anyone?
The ability to instantly ‘be better’ would come in nicely too. Courtesy of one Matt Tullis, his infamous advice to anyone struggling to make a particular move certainly fits the bill, whilst lacking the particulars that said climber in need might have hoped for in their quest to send. Nonetheless, if Father Christmas was handing out presents, this one would feature highly.
One not many of us admit to, but most of us experience at some point is the fear. The ‘this hold doesn’t feel like it will stick’ fear. The ‘were my palms really this clammy a moment ago fear’. Falling is part and parcel of climbing, and as the old saying goes, if you aren’t falling, you aren’t trying hard enough. But if we could eradicate the fear, how many more moves would we commit to? Hazel Findlay is a good person to listen to on this, as she believes by staying in the moment we can’t think of the immediate future which may involve a fall, and thus slowly lesson the self-doubt and fearfulness that can strike midway through a climb. So perhaps a podcast subscription and a few hours listening to Hazel might be a useful Christmas present?
Ahhh, flexibility. How many times has not being able to get your leg up ended your attempt at the send. No matter how stubbornly you stare at it, will it to move and occasionally if possible, physically tried to pick it up and put it on the hold, that stubborn leg often stays tantalisingly short and the climb is over. What would we give to at the click of the fingers, have the flexibility and grace of a yogi – both on the wall and off. To be able to rock over onto a ridiculously high foot with ease, you never again have to tug at a flappy pair of climbing trousers in the hopes of dragging an unrepentant limb ever upwards. Oh to be unwrapping the gift of flexibility, now that would brighten up many a climber on Christmas morning no matter how badly Auntie Doris did with the homemade, knitted scarf.
And finally, the other thing the Chimera crew have been dreaming of adding onto their Christmas list is… to never get pumped. To never feel the fiery burning down the forearms which have suddenly turned rock-hard like granite, veins bulging and skin pulled taunt. To never go to clasp their fingers round a hold, only to discover they can’t engage as the pump is too severe, hands grasping but failing to fully grip the hold in question. To never frantically massage the forearms in the hope of recovering quicker, only for the pump to stubbornly set up shop and not leave for three days. To not be pumped would be a wonderful Christmas gift but then again, how would you know you were trying hard without it?