My man and I headed to my favorite climbing locale last week. Finally, for the first time since we started climbing outside a couple months ago, I felt good. I don't know what was previously going on, but every time I'd climb something (except for a run up Montezuma's Tower in the Garden a couple weeks ago) I was terrified on every single route I started up. But on this day I finally felt on top of my game again, even though I'd not climbed anything yet. It was just a feeling I had - partly because I was sick of feeling freaked out for no good reason and had given myself a good pep talk.
After leading a climb I'd done many times, I scouted around for a couple others we could do. We headed toward the right side of the rock face and found one that Mountain Project said was a 5.9. I looked at it, said, "I can do that," and started roping up. I noticed that halfway up there was a bail-biner - a carebiner someone had left there because they couldn't finish the route for some reason.
When I got to that point, I understood why the previous climber had bailed. It was definitely the crux of the climb. Mountain Project said there was an undercling, but after looking at it, I knew there was no way I could hold onto what was there. It's happened before, me climbing a route differently than intended. I'm sure others do it, too. I hung there at the bolt the previous climber had bailed on and looked and looked at the next move. My man was holding me tight (at my request), while I maneuvered my feet over and over, trying to find the perfect stance. After probably six or seven "attempts" (still being held taut), I called, "Give me slack, give me slack!" And then I was up. I don't even really know how it happened. It was like my body decided my brain was a hindrance, took over for a few seconds, and completed it with sheer physicality. Without really consciously realizing what was happening, I was over the crux. And yes, definitely back on top of my game.
While I have no idea why I'd been so freaked out about climbing for so long, what really concerned me was that I was and I didn't know if the feeling was permanent. I'd actually even debated whether or not I should climb anymore (when it comes down to it, I'm too stubborn to give up, though). Glad I kept at it, because there are other things in life that scare me, and it's a good lesson learned - if I just keep trying, at some point I'll be over the crux without hardly realizing how I did it.