“Take!” the fear clearly shaking in my voice.
“I’ve got you,” replied my friend. “Go for it.”
But he didn’t take.
Usually I would be angry if my belayer ignored my commands when I was cruxing, but, in this instance, I knew immediately he was right. I wasn’t falling, and it was at least worth trying the move, even though I was scared.
So I went for it – and had a mini-meltdown when the hold I grabbed wasn’t the jug I had hoped for. I called out “falling!”…but didn’t actually fall. I made the move, made the clip, and continued on to send the whole route cleanly.
Even though I sort of already knew it, this was the most clear example that what holds me back most is my head, not my physical ability.
I take before I try.
But in that instance, I realized I really can climb harder than I think. And if I trust my belayer, that means I should always try the next move, even if I’m not sure if I have it.
Before I started the route that day, I was slightly hesitant to lead. I was still feeling a little traumatized by some scary whippers I took last time I was out, pushing myself on the sharp end.
But my belayer, who led the route first, told me that, even though it was slab (which I hate with a passion), all the moves were there.
Then he said, “I believe in you.”
Which was enough to make me believe in myself, too.
And when doubt came creeping in during the middle of the route, he was there to help me believe again.
Although people say that confidence should come from within, sometimes it takes your friends to help you find it buried deep down there.