Mittwoch, 31. Dezember 2014

Life never turns out the way you expect

Hey guys :)
Things often come unexpected. I was pretty sure that I wrote my last blog post in 2014 when I worked on the article "Let it happen". Once again life proofed me wrong. A few days ago I got in touch with a good friend of our family who lives with her husband in Denver, Colorado in the USA. Her name is Ann and she is one of the friendliest and most cordial persons I ever met. Ann is a passionate blogger and she forwarded me her most recent article which is about our friendship and her thoughts on new year resolutions. With her permission to do so, it is an honour for me to post her article on my blog as my first guest post. Enjoy reading!

Those who know me know that I’m rarely at a loss for works – unless I’m severely depressed or asleep. It is my hope that you will enjoy my thoughts and words each month.

Jakob Greistofer is a young friend from Austria. Jakob is probably 19 by now, a math student at The University of Graz in Austria and a super kid. He lives with Andrea and Peter who coincidentally happen to be his parents. We’ve known them for years, often see them when Gary and Peter attend the same international conferences.

Jakob came with a friend and Peter a couple of years ago to experience our country, Colorado in particular. They stayed ten days, and we would loved to have had them longer. We lingered over breakfast each morning – cheeses, meats and hearty bread – very European, comparing shopping malls, customs and recreational activities.

I think Jakob would tell you that what he loves best about his life is rock climbing, and he does it well. That was the lure to Colorado, and he took full advantage of our mountains. He met Kelly Cordes, a friend of ours from Pennsylvania who happens to be pretty well known in the rock-climbing world. Kelly is an ambassador for Patagonia and excels in what he does.

Kelly took the time to stop by the indoor climbing facility in Boulder to see if he would by chance meet up with the Austrian visitors. Sure enough, they were there. I asked Kelly how he knew who they were and he said he just listened for foreign accents before approaching them. Smart guy, that Kelly. But…on to the blog.

Considerable Considerations

This is probably the last time I will date something 2014. The new year is upon us, a time to reflect on aspirations and goals. Yes, it’s time for the New Year’s Resolutions.
I love New Year’s resolutions – always have. Of course, I’ve learned lessons over the years; lessons about expectations, what makes a bad resolution and which are worthy of making.

Examples of bad resolutions are to give up something you hate. My sister, Susan, always gave up strawberries because, you guessed it, she didn’t like them. And then there are unrealistic resolutions like “I am going to work out every day” – not a good one coming from someone who has not broken a sweat in six months.

Gary and I sit down in front of the fireplace with red wine in glasses and the rest of the bottle nearby to go through our resolution ritual that I’d like to share with you.

We write down two sets of three and then take turns sharing and discussing them. Each of us has three resolutions – three things we want to stop or start doing and three things we wish the other would stop or stop doing. Oh, yeah!

The last three can get rather comical, so there is laughter amid the seriousness of this ritual we take this very seriously. I must share an example.

One year we each had a resolution for the other that were interrelated. Gary told me it drove him absolutely crazy that I was never ready on time when we were to leave the house. I responded by telling him that it drove me just as nuts that he would remind me numerous times when we had to leave.

Not only that he would give me the time I should begin to get ready as well as the time we “should be in the car ready to go.” I kid you not. Not only that, he would begin telling me the day before – two of three times – and then just as often the next day! Argh!

Here’s an example of the discourse.

Gary: “When do we have to be at Mc Dermott’s?”
Me: “6:00.”
Gary: “That means that you should start getting ready at 5:30.”
Me: “Yeah.”
Gary: “We have to be IN the car no later than 6:00.”
Me: “OK, I will be”.
Gary: “You never are.”
Me: “I will be this time.”

I never was ready.

So a couple of years ago I responded rather angrily, “Well, I think we need to go see Dr. Bell about this. Dr. Bell is my psychiatrist. Gary agreed, so we did.

Dr. Bell listened intently, then told us that we were doing this to get back at one another because we were being driven to do so – it was a matter of power, getting the other even more angry, etc.

Astoundingly, it all stopped! I mean, it instantaneously stopped. He didn’t nag and I was on time.

Who said therapy is a waste of time? And, yes, we did discuss other issues that day. This, though, is a good example of little things being not so little.

Enjoy the ‘resolution ritual’. Let me know how it goes.

Till next month,


Let it happen

Hello everybody!

I thought it’s a good idea to write one last post in 2014. I have not been climbing for 20 days now, as I usually take a break at the end of the year, in order to recover completely from the annual training. So there’s not much to write about recent climbing activities, but I would like to tell you a story about a climbing experience I made this summer.
Right now a lot of people make up their mind, what they want to change in their life. Some want to live a healthier life, others may like to advance in their job and many of you probably have some specific climbing goals for 2015. I think it’s good to have visions and ambitions, but often we stand in our own way while pursuing our goals.  What do I mean by saying this? I mean that we don’t let things happen. Well, I know at first this sounds incredibly cheesy but let’s consider my story at this point:

There is this Route at a crag close to my hometown Graz. It’s called Stalker (8b) and it’s kind of a classic in our area. Basically it consists of two boulder problems, a lower one, which probably is the hardest part of the route, followed by a good hold in the middle, leading to the second boulder which is a bit easier than the first one. The finish is relatively easy but still no walk in the park.
This summer I decided to concentrate on this route. I’ve already tried it sometimes before, but back then I couldn’t do the first boulder. This time I felt much better on the route and after recalling all the moves I was prepared to start serious tries. From that point on everything went wrong, my skin got very sore after a few tries, when I came back it was very hot, next time I just messed it up. So I had around ten tries distributed over three days and I wasn’t getting any closer to sending the route. I was pretty frustrated, as things started so well.
A few days later I drove to Fürstenfeld, a small place close to Hungary, in order to participate in a route setting course. As usually, I took two pairs of climbing shoes with me. The first one was a very old pair with two big holes and damaged Velcro fasteners. I intended to use these shoes just for route setting because they are comfortable, but still more suitable for testing routes than normal shoes. The second one was my newest pair of shoes, which I normally wear for training and rock climbing. So I threw both pairs into my backpack.
On the first day of the course there was a suitability test which consisted of climbing a specific route. I wore my new shoes for this route. The day went by and in the late afternoon after the course our two instructors Flo and Mark decided to go rock climbing. Matthias (another participant of the course) and I joined them. Spontaneously we decided to drive to the crag where Stalker is situated.
After one hour of drive I stood again in front of the route, completely unexpected, but I didn’t mind, as we all had a great time and I felt very motivated to try the route again. Unpacking my backpack I realized that I had forgotten my good shoes in Fürstenfeld. I just left them in the gym after climbing the route of the suitability test. The only shoes I had taken with me were the old ones which were still in my backpack. At that point I was very angry with myself. With resignation I told my friends that I had to climb some easier routes, as I didn’t see any chance to climb Stalker with the damaged old pair of shoes. Instead of accepting my statement they encouraged me to give it a try and not think too much about my shoes. I’m a competitive guy so I couldn’t resist and gave it a try after warming up. Well, I did the route and it didn’t even feel hard. Back on the ground I couldn’t believe it. Did I really just climb a route which provided me a serious challenge over the last weeks, with shoes barely more suitable for climbing than any trainers? Actually, yes, I did! I thanked the three guys for their support and slowly I started to feel very happy. This was just the beginning of a short, but absolutely great climbing session. Matthias also climbed Stalker, Flo did Public Enemy (8c) and Mark came very close on Stalker and onsighted an 8a. Thanks guys for this experience!

That was my story and maybe you understand now what I mean by saying that we often stand in our own way. I think it’s extremely important to realize how empowering it can be to stop wanting something too badly, to think too much about a goal. Of course you need to internalize your aims but after you’ve done that, let things happen! You’ll perform at your best when you stop thinking and just concentrate on the thing you do. That applies not only to climbing but to anything you are pursuing. So, whatever your resolutions for 2015 are, make sure you deeply internalize them, but then relax a little bit and enjoy the process of achieving your goals. 

me in the lower boulder of Stalker, © Jakob Glasner

me in the upper boulder, © Lisa Komposch

One day after Christmasm, no climbing for now ;) 

That’s it for this time, I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and lots of good dreams to pursue ;-) !!!