Four years ago I built a climbing gym in my backyard. It was constructed so that I could train at home (more often) as well as keep my sanity when the weather turned to crap. Well for the last week the weather has been crap. Snow, wind, rain…crap. Currently I’m looking out my living room window and it’s puking snow. It’s April and it’s snowing…a lot.
Recently I was dragging myself through the isles of Target whilst my wife shopped blissfully. Trying to keep it together, suddenly my eyes honed in on a big shelf filled with colourful tape. Pink, purple, yellow, green, orange, blue…the works. My spirits were instantly lifted as i had found purpose in target, life in-fact was not ending (anymore) from boredom, but now inspired–I had found a rainbow of tape that could be used for new routes in the back yard gym.
Every few months I spend as much time needed to strip all the holds down in the backyard gym. Hold by hold, with a makeshift allen wrench from MEC, they all get taken down and piled onto the stack of “used” mattresses–awaiting their new place and purpose. I used to see this as a bit of a drag (as there’s a lot of holds to strip), however now as excitement and opportunity. I’ve learned the value of new routes, how change is important…and with that has come motivation and inspiration. In a climbing gym, there should be no “classics” that stay up for long periods of time. Change-over allows for creative works. A fresh canvas presents opportunity for imaginative and new movement. The longer routes stay up, the more stagnant your movement becomes.
This spring, thus far, has not been good for rock climbing. It’s been really cold, super windy, and above all else…it’s still snowing. It seems as though a state of being caught in limbo can define my climbing currently. For the most part, ice has melted and the rock is cold (plus rock climbing isn’t all that fun when the snow is blowing in your face). So, the ol’ climbing gym in the backyard is where i’ve been spending most nights as of lately–training and setting new routes. But what i’ve also discovered is that there’s something peaceful about being in my backyard gym at night. It’s quiet, calm, no wind, rain or snow. It gives me time to think about whatever’s in my head–time alone to reflect on the day or dreams in pursuit, and it gives me time alone…did i mention that twice?
Hold after hold, positioning myself on my scary–rickety wooden ladder, I stripped the gym down to bare walls. This time around, however, for some reason, I felt a little more of a “push” to set new routes. I was actually more-so motivated than usual. Maybe it was because I actually embraced the current weather conditions instead of complaining about them and tried to stay productive with my climbing regardless. Maybe because life isn’t all that bad (despite the fact that it’s snowing harder outside right now) compared to those who are suffering in Japan. Or maybe it’s because I actually like to train, to grow, to get better, and the gym offers a great opportunity for it with a little bit of work. And why would i complain? I have a perfectly good place to still climb/train out of the current “crap” weather. So this time around I was psyched and ready for setting new, challenging, boulder problems in my “little engine that could”, and after several nights’ work holds were stripped and re-set with new problems easy to hard. Every minute i spent back there became one step closer to getting stronger in my climbing, I was able to see the good in what i was doing, vs. being pissed off about the weather.
Spending the last few nights in the gym I realized that there’s more important things in life to worry about, and to utilize the “moment” for good and to not waste energy on mindless out-of-my-control factors. We only have “x” amount of energy to spend…so…spend it wisely, not frivolously. That’s all. Oh, and it’s still snowing…so i’m headin’ into the backyard gym again to flail around like a monkey…good thing i built this thing (I don’t think my wife thought i’d actually do it. Was she ever wrong!).