Question: What is climbing to you, and what constitutes the perfect route?
Climbing to me is a constant vigil of discovery. Finding, developing, and ascending natural lines (whether it be Sport, or Trad) while mentally, and physically challenging yourself to the point where upward progress is either plausible, and happening or impossible where you have to hang. A reality dictated by the forces of gravity where you have to anatomically decipher clues given by Mother Nature in the form of featured vertical stone to find successes, and times failures. For this blog let's associate the term 'free climbing' as being synonymous with a true "on-sight" whereas you are in the moment, learning on the fly, real time, making decisions with no knowledge of what's coming minus a guide book and the naked eye. This style of ascent is what motivates a climber to search for the next new line believing every second that you have what it takes to succeed going from the first moves to the end of the pitch; which in layman's terms means 'Never Saying Take'.
So what exactly makes a route "perfect"? As we are all different people, there will be quite a few different answers. But one thing is for sure. It will be climbed, and it will be a struggle.
For First Ascensionists/Developers "perfect" is a visually pleasing line that no one has ever climbed, and must be added to the realm of established routes. For the every day climber; most simply like to drop a rope on the ground, tie-in, and [try to] climb the pitch with dignity. To climbers "a route" simply stated may be the grad sum of all the movements it takes in all its aesthetic nature for the body to go from the ground to the eventual finish of the pitch(s) without falling.
I, like many other climbers find that the perfect route is the combination of so many things. The natural features of the cliff are what draw me us all in. Like a chocolate lover walking into a high end shop with the Chocolatier handing you life sized samples.
The steepest, cleanest walls with untold numbers of cool features are so enticing. Fighting gravity while trying to solve a vertical puzzle never gets boring. Coming from the northeast I am also intrigued by natural features that block progress. Stopper ceilings, flaring cracks, or a strange exposed traverse leading to nowhere.
What exactly constitutes a perfect route for you? Traditional, or sport? As I like both equally I can understand this isn't such a straightforward question. With that said, without the aid of a star system in a book; what is it that signifies a "must do" route?
Trying hard while being tied-in is why we climb, right? Nothing really good ever comes easy. It just doesn't. Fighting hard (and I mean really hard) to defy gravity and stay on a route is what constitutes going from someone who~enjoys a day at the crag, to a person systematically picking a future route dependent on personal strengths and weakness [at whatever grade constitutes 'hard' in that reality]. Getting an ass kicking en route is a type of exhaustion that draws a climber back to the cliffs like a salmon swimming up stram. Knowing thru the failures comes progress. Scrapes and cuts which appall non-climbers are a badge of honor for those who battled their way through unknown territory. A vertical chess game where consequence of failure amounts to lots of sweat, scrapes, bruises, and incredibly sore muscles......
Is your perfect route a string of moves that fits your climbing style? Or is your list of favorites drawn from the knowledge gained through adversity in unfamiliar ground?
Climbing is all about getting stronger learning to succeed with one's own weaknesses. At one time I feared, hated, loathed high angle technical face. Crimp-hold/high stepping, on a super steep face thirty meters from my belayer proved difficult for me. Climbers attack their weaknesses to get stronger. This is the only way to get stronger on the rock, and more is a life lesson. Attack your weaknesses to find success.
I eventually succumbed to a peaceful understanding; the technique pyramid has to be built on a solid foundation. The only true way to build that foundation is by being out of your comfort zone learning specific techniques, real time, on the wall.
Crack climbing; strength or weakness?
Weakness? Does the thought of ring locks make your knees quake? Rattly fingers make your bung pucker? Off-sized hands give you the urge to regurg'? Then off-width must terrify you...
This is where we fit into the equation.
SouthernXposure's guides are the masons that build the climbing pyramid. You are the aggregate waiting to be shaped into a strong, solid structure. La Cascada outside of the town of Aculco is indisputably a world class crack climbing destination. SouthernXposure provides guided access to what is arguably the best single pitch cracks on the Northern Continent. Quite the claim...... but the beauty of making such a claim is our clients are then able to dial in unfamiliar techniques on this magnificent stone. By such learning and advancement of skills ultimately assists in make future comparisons possible. Climb classic routes all day while learning techniques, honing strategies, and working on whatever may be a weak spot in the foundation to make certain once you are on your own, you have the skill set to succeed. This is what we do. We are more than guides; we are mentors that teach systems to ensure the future successes of everyone we meet.
SouthernXposure is quickly becoming a world renowned guide service based in Mexico. We love what we do and it shows. Call us, or drop an email. Ask questions. Be curious. We build climbers from the foundation up.