The following is by TCA Sophomore Emma Price
Standing at the bottom of the route, you crane your neck upwards, scoping the beta, making sure it’s the same route you’ve fallen on over and over again. You place your raw, calloused hands into the depths of your chalk-bag to lather your hand in the soft, fluffy powder. Withdrawing your hand from behind your back, you quickly exhale your breath into your hand. Chalk floats and dances around you, falling to the ground in clumps and spots and on your clothes. You inhale through the chest, inhaling deeper and deeper, until finally your lungs won’t hold. A large exhale releases the tension and pressure with one blunt breath. Gripping onto the starting holds and placing feet in the perfectly calculated spots. Your body lifts from the ground, your energy immediately goes into this first move. You stick it. Onto the next. Stick it. Next. Stick. You move your way up and up, transferring your energy to make your body go up. Clipping and moving. Clipping and moving. You reach your crux. The movement you’ve been working on. You muster all your energy and unleash it upon the wall. Your fingertips glide on the tip of the hold. You feel your hand falling farther and farther from the hold as gravity shoves you down. Past all that you worked for. You watch as it all zooms past. You fell. At the spot you always fall at. Is it even worth it? All this trouble for a send? You got to the ground questioning if you’ll ever do this. Or if you’ll ever succeed again. People congratulate you on a good burn and your morale starts to pick up again. You rest your body for the intense try hard coming its way.
Jonah always has the most radiant smile and happy attitude and as a senior at The Climbing Academy, he is always working for that title. But it isn’t just his amazing attitude that makes him so great. He is also one of the strongest climbers, with precise footwork that is so sharp and precise, it could cut through the rock. Jonah enjoys “having people project with you,” but also sees projecting as an opportunity to “just be process oriented and to have a strategy to rest and try hard.” In Siurana, Jonah attempts a stout 13a, making it to the last clip. Jonah puts things in a happy vibe and is still able to crush a climb he puts his mind to.
Watching Tanner climb always feels like a privilege because his strength and ability shows his massive amounts of try-hard that he has gained over the years and watching makes you feel a part of the process. And it wasn’t just luck or good genes that got him to be such an amazing climber, but working harder than most people work in a lifetime. And it hasn’t been for nothing, Tanner has become one of the strongest, most devoted climbers I have ever met and his pure strength and agility is admirable. Climbing his project, a 13c in Margalef, he made large amounts of progress. Getting from falling 5 or more times to falling only once. Tanner is an astounding climber who has persevered to be the person he is today.
Kieran has become a strong, respectable climber over the years, and he has also been self-training. He has worked his way to become a profound climber. With his ability to possibly crush rock with his bare hands, but have the modesty of a mouse, Kieran has earned the opportunity to send his project, Abalon (5.13c) in Siurana. Kieran sees projecting as a chance at “trying to send a climb that is at, or near your level. It gives valuable experience on rocks and it pushes you tour limit.” Kieran has shown unlimited strength in his climbing and he continues to exceed all standards.
Nat has some of the highest amounts of psych a person can have. Even as the only freshman at TCA, Nat still holds his own with an extraordinary amount of style. He climbs with almost all the try-hard he can muster every day and even when his psych is low (which is fairly rare), he still keeps pushing his limits. As he climbed his project, a 5.12b in Margalef, he left all excuses and possibilities of failure aside and he gave what seemed like his all. He showed that he could do whatever other people could. “[Projecting,] it means climbing something that is past your limit and you work it until it is your limit or until you run out of time to work it.”
Olivia is a strong, empowering woman who not only stands up for herself, but for what she believes in. Her climbing takes on the traits of her personality. Watching her dance up the wall with strong, empowering movements mesmerizes all who watch her. Her grace on the wall doesn’t exactly reflect her walking skills, but all her scrapes and bruises collected from the trail behind, fade away as she glides up the wall. Her first send of a 5.13a, Peter’s Line in Siurana, was a miraculous feat of strength and prestige. Projecting is through Olivia’s eyes, “it helps you become more familiar and build confidence to try harder because you are able to climb something harder.”
With one of the most contagious smiles, Kawika can make anyone laugh. And not only is he an amazing person to be around and to laugh with, but he is inspiring as well. He will hop on a climb and flow up it with such skill and determination. Even when he climbs slightly outside of his realm, he can smile and try just as hard as anyone else. On his project, ACDC (12d) in Siurana, he had tried and tried, giving his all and eventually sending the hardest climb he has ever done. Projecting is “trying your hardest and failing. Again. And again. And again. And again. Kawika has made huge gains in his climbing life, he has become an aspiration to all around him.
“What is projecting to me? Shit.” Sean has a chill, straight forward vibe. He is very comfortable behind the scenes, but once you put an objective in front him, he will use all the strength he has and succeed. On his project that he most recently sent, a 12c in Margalef, he watched as other people climbed up and down it. But he wasn’t fazed because when he set up for his next go, he began to float up his project, barely lifting a finger during the crux. His footwork precise and his endurance going on strong, he reached the clip and topped. Projecting is “the process of getting stronger through failure.”
As a world class climber, Riley has made her way to be one of the most graceful and smooth climbers. She moves up the wall like a gazelle and not just in speed climbing, but in sport climbing as well. Her clips are precise and accurate and follow even more precise footwork. All her movements are powered by her sheer strength and power. Her project in Siurana, a stout 13a, was climbed and maneuvered with such skill, and we weren’t the only ones who marveled at Riley’s strength. A group of strong Spain climbers who tried the 13 were bewildered by her power and beauty. To Riley, projecting is, “working something at or above my max that I can get dialed enough to make it doable.”
Benoit is possibly one of the funniest people you will ever meet. He can be found traversing the house, using phones as pinches and bricks in the wall as crimps. He almost always is thinking of climbing and after only 1 year of climbing, Benoit has made massive progress in his climbing career. From climbing his first lead climb nearly 10 weeks ago, to his first 12a in Siurana, Benoit has become a fantastic climber in the TCA community. “I think projecting is working a route over and over and helps you get stronger.”
Shoes on knot tied. You go again. Repeating all of your steps. Reaching the crux, you put all the doubt and pain into the back of your mind, pushing as hard as you can. Your muscles feeling strained as you use all your energy to hold on. The skin on your fingers slowly fading and thinning into nothing. It’s over. You begin the journey to the top. The anchors. Your arms pumped as hell with a fiery burning like that of a firecracker going off throughout your arm. With gripped hands, an arm at 90 degrees and crappy feet. You clip the clip and yell down to the person keeping you alive below. The rope releases all the tension from your body. You sink into the nice little seat your harness makes. You look at the wall, feeling success. You look out at the Spanish valley that envelops you. You did it.