Ah projecting, we’ve all been there, and if not, don’t worry! This should help give some insight on exactly what it is like to project a climb at your limit and give you some tips and tricks to help you along your projecting journey!
Ever since I started coming to Rocklands in 2014, I always seem to find myself in the same situation. Banging my head against the wall, screaming in frustration at whatever piece of rock has struck my interest this time. Longing for some miraculous send spirit to give me even the slightest bit of hope of doing the boulder. That’s what projecting is about, well at least for me. However, with all of this frustration does come the flip side of the absolute ecstasy when all of this hard work finally comes to an end, and the mental chapter can be closed. This was very much the case on one particular boulder that I won’t forget for a very long time. Speed of Sound which sits perched in the middle of The Saddle sector, up in The Pass, has to be one of the most awe-inspiring and drop-dead gorgeous boulders I’ve ever had the privilege of laying my eyes on. I first decided to put some work into the boulder in March 2019. When I arrived, I chalked the holds (or what holds I could see) and started trying to decode the movements. I walked away from that session saying, “thanks for the whipping, see you in five years.” And disappointingly walked the hour hike back to the car. I didn’t do a single move that session, or the next session, or the next. Although slowly but surely, I started to uncover the intricacies of trying to climb a boulder I had no business playing around on. I spent over a month in Rocklands in 2019 and walked that same hour hike most days for my time there. Towards the end of my trip, I felt like I was going delusional. One single-minded robot was disinterested in anything else other than thinking about the Speed of Sound. I became so obsessed with the boulder it felt like the only thing I was meant to be doing at any given time. Eventually, I couldn’t keep dragging my friends through the heinous walk anymore and I started doing more and more solo missions. This was an interesting experience as I hadn’t done much solo projecting in the past, although by the end I felt that I was in the best mental state when it was just me versus the boulder and I could fully clear my mind to execute what needed to be done. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough and I left Rocklands empty-handed.
I returned for one of the coldest weekends of the year a few weeks later. I thought to myself, this has to be the time, it has to. Everything was perfect, the conditions were amazing, my muscles were rested and I was ready to crank. But as I have subsequently learnt, the rocks don’t care about your intentions and I left that weekend empty-handed yet again…
Towards the end of the 2019 season, I decided to make a hail Mary impromptu trip to give this boulder whatever I had left in me for that year. We arrived late the night before. When I got to the boulder, I placed the pads down and continued what now felt like routine. Try, fall, rest, repeat. It was a warm late winter’s day, having done a climbing shoot the previous day on the sharp granite of the Atlantic seaboard, my skin was not in an ideal condition and I figured I would have to wait to the next year. But I guess the send spirits had a different plan and everything worked perfectly and fell into place. Those few moments on the side of that boulder I will cherish for the rest of my life, and if it wasn’t for all those frustrating sessions and clinical insanity, I would never have had the opportunity to stand on top of one of the boulders I had looked at a video of when I was a kid, and be able to appreciate our sport as much as I do. One thing I discovered from diving so deep into a project like Speed is that our sport can teach us so much. Not only about our physical bodily state, but about our mental states, and can teach us the ability to dig deep when goals feel absolutely unattainable. I feel that I have translated what I learnt on the side of that boulder into my everyday life and it goes to show you that even when things feel completely unfeasible and you may feel like you are not at your best performance, things will click when they are ready. All it needs is time.
Some Tips, tricks and insights
One of the fascinating things about Rocklands is the incredibly vast range of styles and difficulties that allow this magical place to be perfectly suited to beginners and pros alike. So whether you are just hearing of this absolute wonderland for the first time or are a seasoned veteran, there will always be accessible, world-class boulders on some of the most exquisite rock in the southern hemisphere available to you.
If there were any lessons, I could tell myself a few years ago about projecting boulders, it would be to take it slow and be patient. Climbing is by nature a process of problem-solving. Allow your mind and body the time it needs to execute what it needs to do and solve the problem and take the failures as part of the successes, as I can assure you, every extra session is extra satisfaction to come.
Also, be sure to check out CapeNature’s Instagram #rocklandsphotocomp. Post your Rocklands bouldering photo and use #rocklandsphotocomp to stand a chance to win an amazing Black Diamond hamper valued at R12600! The competition runs until the 31st of August so be sure to post before then, for more information visit any of our partners Instagram accounts listed below!
Get out there and stay psyched everyone!