Moving to josh.works/blog

I’ve moved all my online presence to josh.works. (Yes, that’s a URL.) I’m using squarespace instead of wordpress, and it’s about 100x easier to manage.

I’m easing back into writing regularly – I’m writing at josh.works/blog.

See you over there.

-Josh

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“A delicate mix of chess… and bear wrestling”

Over the last few weeks I’ve found myself needing to break down “why” of sport climbing (I’ll refer to sport as “lead” climbing from here on out. Sorry, trad climbers).

If someone is enjoying top roping, (or bouldering) why should they take on the work of learning to lead climb, lead belay, and then deal with all the mental baggage that accompanies said switch.

Could you come up with more than ten reasons for someone to do start leading?

Here’s my list: Continue reading

Do Not Work in Isolation

I fear criticism. I don’t have nightmares about it, and I’m not (too) crippled by a desire to avoid it, but I absolutely don’t like criticism, or being disappointing, or any of those things.

If my ego were making all decisions, I would move even slower than I do today into “new” territory. I probably wouldn’t read much, or try new things, or meet people. I’d play a lot of video games. (Actually… it’s embarrassing to be pwnd by 13 year old boys when playing online – maybe I’ve left video games to protect my ego.)

I go to great, sneaky lengths to avoid criticism. I’ll even do things like this (talk about fearing criticism) to avoid doing other things that will expose me to criticism and rejection. Seriously. I’m avoiding criticism right now by writing this.

If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

Continue reading

A Small Goal is Better than a Grand Plan

We all have grand plans. Who’s future projection of themselves goes something like this: “One day, when I’m rich (goal one), location independent (goal two), and married to a fabulous woman (goal three), I will travel the world (goal four) while exploring my hobby of _______ (goal five).”

Sounds nice, but this narrative assume so much, and is so ill-defined. With such a disconnect between here and there , why wouldn’t you just go play video games all evening. Again. We’ll work on that stuff later.

I suspect many of us struggle with the above problem. Great big grand goals completely disconnected from reality. No clue where to begin, and it’s all daunting anyway. So lets go do something else.

Over the last few years, I’ve grown less-bad at breaking big problems into little problems, and dealing with those small things. I’ve made progress towards some big life goals (I married a fabulous woman!) and have plenty of progress to make towards other goals. (I don’t yet own a jet/boat/villa.) Continue reading

Can You Recover From Months (YEARS!) of Not Climbing?

View from Shelf Road

A few weeks ago, I headed into the gym thinking that I felt a little off-kilter. I’d not climbed in a week, I though, and maybe I was getting weaker or something. Turns out that wasn’t the problem – I had actually been climbing too much, and was feeling it.

This is an odd mistake, because I’ve recently had the opportunity to end a twenty month hiatus from climbing, and I’ve felt nothing but good as I ease back into the sport.

I had felt strong when I stopped climbing in 2012, and I felt comparatively weak when I got back into a regular routine two months ago. For perspective, my max onsight dropped a full number grade, and my bouldering fell four grades. As you would expect, my “endurance” was more wishful thinking than anything else. This was all a substantial decrease in ability. That’s the bad news, and it’s just as bad for you, whenever you take a break. Continue reading

Letter to Two Climbers (Part 2)

Hello again, it’s me! We met climbing a few days ago. I wrote you a letter, but didn’t want to leave it on such a pessimistic note.

First, I commend you both for getting out there. You both invested a lot in making that weekend happen. You acquired the correct tools, and spent money to do so. You spent time learning how to use your gear, and building the skills you needed to climb outside. You spent a lot of time driving to the crag, spending a night or two out there, and climbing for a few days. (Oh, and gas money, food, and all that.)

Now – not only did you do all those things, but you limited your other options. You could have spent that money on anything else. (Literally. That’s what’s cool about money! You can spend it for just about anything. Even weed!) You could have spent your time doing anything else. You truly had a universe of options to spend your time and your money, and you spent it on climbing. Continue reading

Letter to Two Climbers (Part 1)

Cliff band at Shelf Road

Hello!

We met recently. (I gave Justin tape after he cut his toe and didn’t have a bandaid.)

You and your partner were climbing a route near me and my partner. One of you (I’ll call Charles, because he had a British accent) was trying so hard to figure out some moves high above his last bolt. He was scared to fall. Very scared. Yet he kept trying. I was impressed with Charles’ tenacity.

The other one (I’ll call you Justin) sort of screwed over Charles. You sent him up a climb that was too hard for him to do, and you didn’t let him back off the climb. You made it sound like if he didn’t finish, you were not going to be able to get your quickdraws back.

Charles was scared, and you offered no consolation.

The above is excusable. What happened next is not. Continue reading