“I have a good feeling about this one for you.” Paul Brenner said in that naturally calm tone of voice of his.
Climbing Trojans, a 5.11c at the Toxic Hueco, felt you were dancing up through an overhanging crack. It had interesting face holds and a stunning flared crack, the crux. On my first attempt, the wider section spat me off and as I pulled my way back up the rope, I discovered a smallish dimple in the rock. I decided to try and use it and busted out to the chains.
We pulled the rope to rest and break for lunch and I felt good with my onsight attempt, even though I’d fallen. I’m not the kind of person who projects things or goes for the redpoint, often feeling satisfied just getting to the top of something. As great as I think onsighting things can be, I try to approach climbing with the thought that if it goes the first time, that’s awesome as hell. But I won’t be upset if it doesn’t go.
But Paul was so psyched for me that I’d finished it. Maybe it was after watching Peter Hoang redpoint it so gracefully, or maybe it was because now it wasn’t about the onsight, or maybe I just really loved how much Paul believed that I could do it. When someone believes in you so much, it’s hard not to feel the same way. When someone believes you can climb anything, sometimes you do.
Paul told me that it was easy now. He said to put in the gear and take a deep breath (maybe two), and then “just climb it like a rock climb”.
Cover photograph courtesy of Peter Hoang.