Some time ago I wrote about Max controlling the internal dialogue. This past weekend was a symbolic milestone for just that since Max had a chance to repeat a climb that gave him lots of trouble last year. (Updated with video of his finals climb at the Slovak Champion Climbing Tournament.)
Rewind to June of Last Year
Last June Max climbed in the Prochot Invitational which is a friendly outdoor climbing competition for some local climbing clubs. Max did well in the qualification round and made it to the finals where the climb included a difficult overhang (see the photos below). You can probably imagine it being a little scary to be hanging on a cliff 40 feet up in the air, and when you have to climb through an overhang, it can be really scary. In fact, sometimes as you climb through an overhang you’re practically upside down and so falling from that position can be very unsettling.
During the finals climb last year Max climbed higher and higher and kept getting closer and closer to the overhang. At that point, he started thinking more and more about falling while in the overhang and just couldn’t get himself to go any further. So, basically, he quit right there in a spot where he could have easily gone further.
Fast Forward to June of This Year
This year we went to climb in Prochot once again and once again Max made it to finals and once again the climb included a difficult overhang. But wow, what a difference.
It was beautiful to watch Max climb right through that overhang. It didn’t look like he ever once even thought about falling. At one point where he had a good foothold he let go of the rock with both hands to rest and chalk up for the remainder of the climb.
Way to go Max.
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UPDATE: Max climbed in the Slovak Champion tournament on June 20 where he placed fourth overall and second among Slovaks (a Hungarian and Czech climber finished first and second). Max went into the final round in third place and first among Slovaks but ran out of steam at the top of a long and technical finals climb.