Unknown climber on 'Captain Hook', Plantations, UK
Everything I do seems to be an education these days. I'm studying to be a secondary teacher and learning the subtleties/tricks/skill of standing in front of a bunch of teenagers and advising/educating them in ICT/technology (quite good fun as it happens, especially as I realize some of them were only born the year that I got my 1st mobile phone - they don't know a time without the internet or mobiles! But that's a whole other discussion for a different location :), an education in the theory of actualy education (and not just going into a classroom and reading off a Powerpoint), and an education in how weak I am, but also in how much stronger I could (and will be).
These are all potential positives though and I'm working my ass off to get better at all. I'm not sure which one is the more challenging, but it probably falls into the strength/power camp - I seem to really struggle at putting on muscle so once a route gets thuggy, I'm having to dig really deep. Teaching is tough but the pupils are kittens in comparison to some of the places/things I've seen/done!
It's pretty humbling opening eyes to new ideas and methods though - Amazing to see how many climbers here can comfortably do moves that I thought were only for the true super-heroes. You have to be willing to expand your thoughts to new concepts and ideas. Even climbing at new climbing walls, The Foundry and The Climbing Works, is a new experience with different route setters to give challenges. The Works is awesome for gritstone and Font-style climbing, the Foundry seems to work more for general route-style. Every session is a killer, I leave with my arms/back/shoulders hanging off me, but it's a happy feeling and I know that I'm improving with every session. Of course, it's the beginning of winter now so I'm making plans already for next summer - I've a few route goals that I aspire to - and to help me realize my goals, this winter's focus is strength and power, lots more of it.
For anyone interested also, now is the time to be making and setting goals for yourself for next summer. Always wanted to climb that route of xyz grade, why not start preparing now for it? Naomi is proving right now the benefit of training, I'm blown away by her progress from the use of the set of Rock Rings in the past 6-8 weeks. In her words, even the smallest rungs seem big now! For me even, I've been trying a few things that I never really imagined as do-able and am already pretty close to the point where I can consider doing it - a good reminder to always want to improve.
One interesting note from watching the other climbers is that my ideas of how to do certain problems or movement is more open than most (I rarely take beta before a route attempt and yet seem to do just as well as many of the route climbers here who practice heavily) - probably due to all the different locations and types of rock that I've climbed on over the years. Always knew I'd justify all that travel somehow ;)
On a more serious note, it's a good example to all of the importance of seeing new ideas, not just in climbing. I've been trying to integrate that into my teaching as well, some of the pupils seem to really appreciate it which is great!