“J’ai demandé la lune au rocher, et j’ai cru lire un jour, sur sa face: oublie la”.
(Of the rock I asked for the moon, and I thought I read one day on its face: forget it).
I have had that project in a corner of my head for a while now.
How did that happen?
I have known about the Voie Petit for a while now. James has talked about it several times, never that seriously. It is, for some reason, quite a famous route to try in England.
I never really listened. Mountaineering, that is not for me.
A few years ago Hazel (Findlay) told me a bit about it. She was trying it. I have a lot of respect for Hazel as a trad climber. So I listened.
I have a lot of respect for Stephanie Bodet too. Stephanie has always been my model since I stopped competitions. She is quite discrete, but so shiny that you still spot her.
Both Hazel and Stéphanie have tried the Voie Petit. Stéphanie has nearly done it. Hazel hasn’t had much time yet to try it, because of a bad injury to her shoulder.
Do you see me coming…?
I am a competitor. I have spent my life setting myself goals. I have learned to identify my dream with my first mental trainer when I was 16. Back at 16, I told my dream, and my trainers (French federation is quite organised, I had 1 mental trainer, one physical trainer, one climbing trainer, and with time, a 4th person would come, a neurotrainer.) took it, made a strategy to transform it into goals.
Your dream is far, unreal, otherwise it wouldn’t be a dream.
But look seriously at it, you can find a goal that is realisable in a time frame, and that will bring you closer to your dream. My dream was to be part of the stars of the world cup circuit. I was 15. So my first goal would be to win the youth world championships.
17 years old, I won my first youth world championships.
I say it in a line, but it didn’t come in one line. I worked hard, I woke up every morning for one year, thinking about the competition that would come. I won. I don’t even know how it happened. It happened, and I was on my path towards my dream.
10 years later, I stopped competitions. I had great results, or at least results that satisfied me. I have not been “the best”. Why? I know now. It took a long discussion recently, with my mental trainer, who has been following me for 10 years. I had to go back to the very beginning: my dream.
My dream was never to be “the best”. I wanted to be “one of the stars”. I reached my dream, yet I didn’t realise the last goals that had been set by my trainer. Because it was never really my dream.
A few years ago, after quitting competitions, I decided to become a professional climber.
That was in 2011. I have made it now. I have spent a few years travelling with James and bringing back stories that I share. I have had 3 years without pushing myself too much. Not like I pushed myself before. I think I needed that.
What has changed now?
What has changed now, what is setting the ball rolling again?
I think it’s been coming for a while. I am a competitor. I need to have a goal.
What is my dream now?
What is my dream now? Hard to say. I want to stay alive and happy, most of all. Which involves James. And it involves climbing.
Here we go, back to Stéphanie Bodet. She is my model now… and here comes the voie Petit. Making the voie Petit would be a meaningful achievement for me, and as a “competitor”, achievement makes me happy.
On the other side, I have grown since my competition years. I had quit competitions because I didn’t want to focus only on a goal; I wanted to take the time to appreciate moments, the processes, and people. I can’t anymore simply focus my eyes, my will, far away into a point in the future, and forget my present. For that reason, I can’t train as hard, handle as much pain, because I am hoping to enjoy every instant that passes under my fingers.
The road to my moon, the Voie Petit, is an interesting path, where I will have to learn to climb on granite slabs, improve my trad skills, learn to deal with altitude and a very long day of climbing, and get ready for the specificities of the route.
Surely, it is the path that I have to follow that makes La Voie Petit a moon that I want to reach for…
And it is a far away moon…
So maybe, I will allow myself to accept that maybe, I won’t reach my moon. I will make the travel, and enjoy every step. Is that a bad idea? Would a displacement of the focus from the goal to the path alter my will? Maybe… we’ll see. But this is who I want to be now. Enjoy…
Pictures by Francisco Taranto Jr. – FotoVertical. Summer 2015.