Leading.

Moving forward in life is easiest when you are following another, following a known route, or at least knowing that someone has been there before. There is a comfort that is found in this, and it is something we all seem ashamed about.

There are cycles to this reality, and therefore nothing is ever truly new. Spring may come every year, yet it is a new spring. The shedded comfort of leading into the unknown, and moving past protections placed behind, is refreshing. The exhilaration and achievement one feels after such a venture is not just a thrill, for it is life.

I am trying to live a simple life, for I am not a simple man. I feel so thankful for being invited to climb with the locals here, and am loving every minute at the crag, even when not climbing. The sharing, the learning, and the community found here brings smiles to my face and a light enough heart to help me send.

I am skipping a few steps here I suppose. I want to be honest in my climbing, as I am new to pro. My first day at a crag ever was Sunday. On my first climb there, I attempted a lead on a 5.10, got 3 clips in, and fell on the crux… I am so thankful for the support I received from the crew there. I decided to top rope the route next to it instead of continuing to attempt to lead on my first ever crag climb. I sent the 5.10a with zero issues and realized the seriousness that leading has on the mind while climbing.

I returned to the Esler Bluffs two days later with a new mindset. I was going to lead a route. I had studied the other climbers and top roped a few more routes on Sunday and was actually ready. I had real support. People who I could trust that wanted me to succeed. I am so thankful for the belays, the coaching, and the time they put in to keep me safe while learning.

As soon as we got to the crag, I got ready to lead a route. I knew what I needed to do, and how to do it. I successfully lead my first route in a crag yesterday and it was because of patience, as much as that sounds crazy due to it being my second day at a crag, but I studied, trained, and prepared for this for a long time. I am now one more step forward on my journey.