Living on Canada's East Coast, climbers don't have the luxury of climbing outside year round, which brings up an interesting question; how do you decide when the season has officially begun for the year? Is it your first day out that spring?, the first bolt you clip?, the first day anyone in the community gets out for a day at the crag?, your first trip of the season?.
I read an article years ago when I was ski racing that asked a similar question, but for the ski hill of course. In the end the author concluded that, for him, the season hasnt really started until his first good fall, regardless of how many times hes been to the hill that year. All of his pre-season anxiety about falling was gone and he was free to let go and really give it his all.
I adopted the same mindset for the remainder of my racing years, and when I eventually started climbing adopted it for that as well. It made falling a much more positive experience as opposed to a frustrating negative one.
Being overly competitive I could let the frustrations of falling get to me and hamper my performance but that's clearly not a good way to spend the day. And so I embrace that first fall and what it means for the rest of the season. Free to let go of the pre-season over-gripping and slight hesitations that inevitably occur I'm able to push my limits, focusing on upward movement rather than downward. Like the author, my season hasnt really started until that first good (lead) fall.
My season started really late this year - early July - but, like every other year, regardless of when that first fall happens it puts a smile on my face as I know it's just the beginning. So to those of you whose season has already started, I hope it's going well and to those who are still waiting... happy falling!