Jen Alger is a whimsical and hilarious commentator on training, climbing, and all things LIFE related. Jen’s background in theater scrupulously shines throughout her storytelling and writing. We are fortunate to be able to share Jen’s three part series on her past, present, and future endeavors in climbing. For a more detailed look at what Jen has been up to, check her out on Instagram @chubbygirlclimbing
YOU’RE MEDIOCRE AND THAT’S OK: ME, NOW
Now. Now, I am better. Not the best. Still a beginner…but better.
Oh, I mean, don’t get me wrong…I still kinda suck, but a little less. And farting on the wall
incidents are at an all time low.
Clap, clap, clap.
I clap my hands to dust off some of the extra chalk. Turns out chalk isn’t JUST to look cool? And you can have too much of it? I’ve learned these things now.
I stand in front of a V5. I mime my hands to the route and I’m pretty sure I have the correct sequence in my head to get to the top. I place my hands on the…
What the hell kinda bs is this?
I move my hands to the left…to the right…not even the slightest indentation to get a good grip on.
I hold onto it anyway, put my feet on the chips and…slip and fall immediately. I give it another go. I put my hands slightly to the right this time, I put one foot up, then…I slip and fall immediately. To the left? No.
Now I’m just standing with both feet on the ground, patting down this hold like an over
enthusiastic TSA agent.
“Mind if I give you some beta? Put all your weight downward on the hold, then bring your rightfoot high and quickly pivot for your back is against the wall and your left leg can…”
The cute guy behind me has spoken. What is he saying? Just respond, dummy.
“Oh, d’uh. Thanks, I’ll try that.”
I can’t try that. I know his beta won’t work for me. Why did I act all casual about pivoting
backwards and putting my legs in a near split like that’s totally a logical thing to do? Why did I even fathom a V5 when the highest grade I’ve completed is a V3? Have you ever foreseen your coming humiliation barreling towards you like the Indiana Jones Boulder?
I grab the hold. I put my weight downward and sink in. I lift my right foot and…slip and fall immediately.
He’s really watching me now. “Ah man, you were so close. Did you feel it, though?”
“Yeah! I definitely felt it.”
I am a huge liar.
“So, you’ll definitely get that today. You gotta lift up and get into that nice pivot as soon as you drop your weight…”
How do I lift up AND drop my weight?
“Right, right, of course,” I lie again, boldly.
“And as soon as you pivot that left leg shoots up, you launch with your right foot…”
“…still backwards. Then you grab that hold there with your right hand…and here you can flip forward again so you’re facing the wall. This also puts you in a great position to frog hump…”
Man, I guess my initial “hand miming” the route beforehand is still just a lot of pomp and
“Yeah, you know what a frog hump handlebar is?”
“Of course.” I think people seek treatment for fibbing this much.
“Right, so you frog hump handlebar before you unicorn horn with your left THEN right foot and…”
That’s it. I can’t live like this anymore. I have to come clean.
“I’ve never done a V5. Actually, the highest I’ve done is a V3. And that was like…twice. Ha ha ha…”
Silence. He is in shock, I know.
“Oh, ok…anyway, so you’re going to unicorn horn with your left THEN right foot and…”
Wow. Look at that. He kept explaining his absolutely insane beta. This guy put no limits on me, even when I told him I was an amateur climber.
And isn’t that what I should keep doing with myself? Sure, I’ll try a V5 when no one is watching (well, when I think no one is watching), but as soon as anyone gazes my way I fall apart, lose confidence, make excuses for myself.
I’m not saying we should always try to do a route twenty grades above our top, but if something looks fun or inspires us, why not attempt a frog hump/unicorn horn up that sucker?
“So, you gonna go again?”
Yes I am. I put my hands on the hold. I bring my right foot up and…slip and fall immediately.
But, you know, this time I think I actually felt it.
*All beta was completely made up by me and makes no sense.