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In a day: Failure Posted on 02.19.2011 by greg.kuchyt

It’s no secret that I want to start learning how to bring my experiences and stories of climbing to light through the use of various multimedia formats. I’ve started playing with audio narratives through the podcasts. I’m working on learning more about digital photography by taking a course this semester. In my spare time, I think I’m going to start messing around with video. Specifically, documenting “a day” of climbing that highlights some aspect of climbing that I want to share. So, bear with me…this will be rough. Today’s post and “In a day” segment will be about failure and the lessons learned through it.

I used to be afraid of committing remote climbs. There are too many unknown factors you can use to psyche yourself out. Remote climbs, particularly ice climbs, require a keen understanding of a lot of factors and how they come together to affect your experience. When rock climbing these factors are mainly limited to precipitation and sunshine/wind to determine whether a climb is dry or not. Ice climbs though…they’re a different story; there are so many factors that can impact your experience. Cliff aspect, how a climb is fed (how the ice grows; snow melt, seeping water, etc.), weather data, snow stability, these are just some of the many pieces of information that go into affecting the state of an ice climb and your experience.

These types of climbs, the experience of trying to climb them, it’s all a perfect metaphor for life. There is a beginning, a definitive end, and in between, you have a nebulous cloud of experiences. Fear, joy, bravery, frustration, the list continues; all the human emotions are there. Some times they’re even all chained together in the same pitch of climbing. It’s probably this reason why I have begun to like these types of climbs lately. I’m at a point in my life where I’m trying to figure a lot of things out about myself and what I want to do with my life. These climbs; the experience of attempting to climb them, it resonates with me and my daily struggles in life. I’m able to internalize the metaphor and digest it and come back with just a little bit more clarity into my own life.

Remote climbs demand more of you. You have to have a serious dialogue with yourself at moments. There are some times when you need to be 100% honest about your abilities, comfort zones, and goals. At these moments miscalculating can have serious consequences to you and your partner. In a way, this is no different than every day life. We all have to make difficult decisions that require us to calculate and weigh many factors. The only difference is that unless under extraordinary circumstances, we generally don’t have to worry about injury to life and limb from the choices we face in every day life.

If we’re lucky, we calculate correctly and things work out. If we’re less lucky, we calculate incorrectly and are unsuccessful but unscathed. If we’re just unlucky…well…unscathed probably doesn’t apply, but at least we probably have a good story to tell. Today, I’d like to share with you a video segment about decisions, miscalculations, and failure (fortunately unscathed). The subject matter is a climb that my best friend Matt and I have been trying to climb this season, called The Pearl. A 140-170m WI4-4+ climb that ascends the left side of the SW face of Azure Mtn.

WARNING: The audio on this gets R rated at times, we curse to express our frustration. Don’t blast the audio if some f-bombs won’t go over well.

In a day: Failure from Greg Kuchyt on Vimeo.