Crying on a Cliff

Yeah, you read that right.

A couple of weekends ago, we visited Kamouraska, Quebec, one of the most popular sport climbing crags in Eastern Canada. The first day we arrived, I was feeling good. With my job and some relationship stuff, I hadn’t been feeling myself lately but I’d been trying really hard to have a positive attitude. Day one I tried a fun 12a that I was so close to sending but managed to get to the top anyway. Despite it having 2 (intimidating) roofs, I felt pretty solid taking falls and trying really hard. I fell a few times pulling the roof, and was pretty happy that I wasn’t feeling scared at any point. I tried a few more routes that day too, but the pump came on faster than I wanted to and I could barely hold a jug by the end. I had a good day that day.

The next day was horrible. In comparison to day 1’s sunny, warm weather, day 2’s rainy, windy, cloudy, cold weather was quite draining. I immediately felt in my head and bothered. Working through discomfort is difficult for me, and I do terribly in the cold, no matter what activity it may be.

I had high hopes of sending the 12a from the day before, so without warming up (genius idea) I hopped on first thing. I over-gripped before every bolt. My legs and body were shaking. My breathing was off. I was terrified. Just before reaching the crux I just felt the urge to cry. I just kept thinking, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I’m too tired, what if I fall, I can’t do this.” Then, the urge to cry turned to full on crying so I said “take!” and I gave up.

I was mad at myself for giving up. I was mad at my belayer (my bf) for not cheering me on and distracting me from my thoughts. I was mad at myself for crying. I was mad at the weather for being so shitty. I was mad that I had so much work to do and I wasn’t getting any of it done. Basically, everything that was bothering me in that moment of my life that I had tried so hard to ignore came out on that 12a route. Side note: it’s tough crying at the crag – there’s really no place to hide.

So, needless to say, it didn’t go down. I’m ashamed that I cried at all and that I let my emotions get the better of me, but, that’s life. I wanted to write this not because it would be embarrassing for myself (which it definitely is), but because I’ve seen others get emotional climbing as well. In my situation and in my head, I probably felt a lot worse than it actually appeared. I’ve seen people cry and be upset at the crag and all I really felt was compassion, not embarrassment for them. It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to feel down on yourself, just don’t dwell on it. I have to keep telling myself that, because I felt bad about it all day.

Right now, I’m feeling pretty low when it comes to sport climbing to the point where I still don’t have a ton of motivation to sport climb. I love being outside and with other people, so I just really have to work on letting things go. Or, opening up to friends so they can help cheer you up when you’re having a hard time doing it yourself (which they did wonderfully!).

I hope someone out there is also a cry baby like me, so I know there’s at least two of us. I love Kamou and I definitely need to go back soon to rid myself of that emotional disaster. To leave on a positive note, I still had a great time! Camping and being outside is always fun. There, that’s positive. 

Climb on xx

27 thoughts on “Crying on a Cliff

  1. It’s Ok .. maybe your bf was unable to cheer you because he care about you more than taking a risk and I think it is right.But Next time conquer it.?

  2. No worries, I think it happens to all of us. I find I cry a lot easier when I climb because of all the hormones and adrenaline floating around, combined with my passion and commitment to the climb. I know I’ve definately broken down before.

    You’re a wicked strong climber and a couple tears throughout the process don’t define you.
    Cheers!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! You’re right, I hadn’t thought about the adrenaline and hormones and stuff… they’re definitely contributing factors. It still sucks, but I’m really glad you can relate!

  3. It’s totally ok, about another ago I was on a trad route only a HVD having a warm up that totally threw me, I’d been climbing VS & HVS the day before. I just couldn’t do it, I could see how, but couldn’t move. I had to pass my gear over and couldn’t lead the rest of the night.

    Tomorrow will be better xx

    1. It’s the worst, isn’t it? Especially when it throws off your entire day :(. You’re right though – tomorrow will be better. Thank you for your input!

  4. Definitely happens to us all! Gotta have the bad and the good. There’s some weird balance to it all. Keep at it! I’m sure the motivation will come back 🙂

  5. I relate soooo much to this. Have cried on many a sport climb, usually out of fear. My mindset going in has SUCH an impact on how well I climb on any day, and sometimes latent emotions + primal fear get overwhelming fast. Everybody’s had one of those days, some of us more than one 🙂

  6. Hey Krista, just found your blog from a post Carlie made on FB. I haven’t been climbing as much since the kids, but when I was climbing lots before, I cried often on the cliff. So many emotions, frustrations, ups and downs. The wind would especially freak me out. Great to see you’re still climbing, and climbing hard! The Chewpod comp. looked awesome.

    1. Hey Marcelle! Wow, it’s been awhile! I’m finding out that crying while rope climbing seems to be quite common after posting this, so we can feel a bit of comfort from that haha I think many of us try to hide it, so it seems uncommon. I know you haven’t been to the gym much, but have you been climbing outside much lately? I see Chris is quite busy outside doing all sorts of stuff for the rescue team.

      And thank you for checking out my blog. Come visit the wall sometime soon! 🙂

      1. I definitely have to come to the wall soon, it’s been too long! I’m mostly mountain biking right now instead of outdoor climbing because it’s less of a time commitment, but we’ve been out to Cochrane Lane a few times to get Jacob climbing. Already a climber at 3, it’s pretty awesome! Hope to see you on the cliffs one day soon :).

  7. Thanks for sharing this! I often cry while climbing and at first I’d get down on myself for letting myself get so upset/scared but now I’ve just come to accept it. I figure if your going to fully experience those amazing exhilarating moments of climbing bliss it means you also have to open yourself up to the other end of the spectrum of emotions while climbing! I was climbing Fairview Dome in Yosemite this weekend (absolutely amazing climb!!!!) and started to cry while leading one of the pitches. Leading is a new thing for me, and we were linking two pitches so I was really far from my belayer and couldn’t hear him so I got scared because I was convinced I was completely off route and has no idea how much rope was left. I reached a ledge and started to cry and then I looked around and realized, “Hey! Why don’t I just build an anchor here and then my partner can follow up and we can figure it out together?” So I did. Turns out I wasn’t off route at all! Anyways, since this time I just let myself cry but didn’t beat myself up about it I was able to move on quickly and enjoy the rest of the climb as opposed to wallowing in self-critism for crying as I used to do. I say, embrace the highs and lows of climbing (haha literally) and leave the self-judgement out of it so you can move on to the next brighter moment. Keep crushing!

    1. Thank you for your input! 🙂 The self-criticism part is what I struggle with the most I think. I really loved how you talked yourself out of that stressful moment and rationalized your next move. Instead of going into full panic mode, you called your belayer up to make sure you were staying on route! That takes some serious self control! Embracing the highs and lows is a great attitude to have, and I think with some continuous effort and time I won’t be so hard on myself and just enjoy them both. And again, I’m happy to hear of another climber who cries on the wall – it definitely helps knowing I’m not alone haha

  8. SO awesome! I think if you don’t cry then you’re lame. All of us have cried at one point trying to send something. The difference between the badass ones and the cry babies is that the badass ones keep on like you do and cry their way to the top rather than give up! That’s so awesome. I love Kamouraska, only been there once and can’t wait to go back! Thank you for being so inspiring to us women climbers!

    Melba

    http://www.MelbasToast.com

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