The following content was curated by TCA sophomores Riley and Benoit, junior Julia, and senior Jonathan during our time in El Salto, a remote tufa mecca in the mountains of Nuevo León, Mexico.
Since TCA arrived in El Salto, we all have been working on getting back into the rhythm of projecting. This has been done with much success, laughter, and some very frustrating moments. Projecting is a really important process in rock climbing, as it allows you to fully immerse yourself in the sport and the mental aspects of it, which enables you to grow and learn. Pushing your limits can often take you on a roller coaster of emotions.
One of the main areas where we have been projecting is called the Tecalote Cave. Many students found endless fun between the hanging stalactites and tufas, discovering good knee bars to rest on and then becoming extremely pumped a few moves later on the steep overhang.
Our knee pads became close companions at the cave, as the only way to rest on these steep walls is to jam your leg between tufas. These knee pads allow us to use these rests without shredding our pants and our skin.
Our climbing shoes have to fit just like gloves, and sometimes putting them on before getting on a project can seem to be the first crux.
Having enough skin is a constant battle, yet torn hands are also a sign of someone who is committed to the sport and is willing to go the extra mile.
Many of us honed our stick-clipping skills due to hard starts or sections that we had to work many times over before we could successfully do the moves. Stick-clipping allows us to work moves, and to stay safe even when we are above our last bolt. As some say, stick-clipping is the climber’s cheap life insurance.
A supportive belayer is an essential part of the projecting process. It helps keep the psych high throughout long days of work and allows the climber to stay focused on the moves, taking their mind off of falling. Trusting your belayer is a crucial component of climbing, as it allows you to get into a mindset of complete immersion into the route’s sequence. This partnership represents the sense of teamwork.
Figuring out beta during the rests helps save energy and make the climbing more efficient, especially when it’s the send go.
Keeping a positive attitude is important for psych on the wall.
Finding the good sequence to smoothly clip the quickdraws is an important part of projecting that allows you to stay safe while not getting too pumped.
Other climbers are always there to help rehearse beta and unlock some crux moves to make your send just a little bit easier.
You can always find good holds to rest on when you’re on a vertical wall, but in these really overhanging caves, it’s important to use these knee bars to lower your heart rate and fight the pump.
Constant and clear communication with your belayer is also crucial. Having a second pair of eyes that can see what you do from a different angle often helps to unlock a crux sequence.
Conditions are often used as excuses, but really it all comes down to constant determination and trying hard.
Lowering off the climb after not having sent, armed with a better picture of the movement and determination for the next burn, is a strong reminder of how getting the send is all about the process.
In the end, it’s rewarding to try hard and project, but we’re really just striving to have fun.
Support on the ground can greatly influence the mood at the crag.