by Kelly Cordes
Over the years and all of these injuries, I’ve learned some things about success and failure. I’ve learned that there is one way, indisputable and proven through the ages, to ensure success. You lower your expectations. And so on my first day back climbing two weeks ago, I scanned the Boulder Rock Club for the easiest route – ah yes, there it is: Pink tape. Rating: 5.5. Just right for a man of my stature: Gimped, broken, mulletted and scared.
[Kelly gearing up for his first climb since fall. Photo: Cordes Collection]
I look at the huge holds just as a big sound distracts me – a big guy, like real big, and 30 feet up on the route next door, on lead, thrutching, grunting, huffing and puffing. Big boy’s going for it.
I love people who try hard. The other shit doesn’t matter to me, at least not much, and not anywhere near as much as it used to. Give me an overweight beginner trying his damnedest on a 5.9 over some too-cool-for-school-attitude higher-numbered rockjock (plasticjock?) any day. It’s easy to get jaded when I visit Boulder, because the latter seems far too common, though it doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t annoy me like it does. After all, it’s just climbing (indeed pointing to my pathetic state). And, let’s not forget, not even real climbing, but gym climbing. Don’t get me wrong, I like gym climbing – it’s like a way better version of working out. Not the same as climbing outside, but I love pushing myself, even indoors, and it’s convenient and controlled. Go ahead, fine, yank my hardman-wannabe-alpine-toughguy membership card.