There is a route at a local crag that draws me, a miserable problem really. I donít actually like this route very much. In fact, I hate it. I shouldnít waste my time on it. An initial boring slab leads to the miserable crux that is composed of a vertical off width flaring slot followed by easier but pumpy moves to the top. The crux looks to be 5 or 6 hard moves. I canít be sure how many since I canít see how to do it.

All kinds of rationalizations for my failure comes to mind, apparently designed to protect my ego. Some of them actually seem quite reasonable to me. Perhaps I am too short or perhaps conversely too tall. Maybe I am not flexible enough. Maybe hands that are the wrong size handicap me. I have many more of these at my disposal.

But I donít need these rationalizations to get by anymore. They are for weak people, avoidance types. I have recent information that leads me to believe that only tall skinny grotesque mutant creatures with a very small left hand, a very long left arm and a very large right hand have been able to do this route. Iím glad that I am not like these beasts.

In this modern age of information one would think that it wouldnít be hard to find out from others how to do this route. I discreetly inquire. I find that information is scarce. One who claims to have done it advises me to "Just layback the crack". I barn door off. Another says to "Just jam it". I slip out of the jam as I groan from the pain of it. Yet another tells me to "Climb up trending right". I have hung there staring at the blankness up right. There are no holds up right. Others who claim to have done it say that they have forgotten what they did. They only remember it as being desperate. It is as if the experience was so horrible that the memory will be repressed from their consciousness forever.

I am a person who naturally seeks out the truth. I have recently learned some interesting facts. Combined with a little speculation, I believe that I am now close to the truth. I have come to believe that information about this climb has been classified. Someone or some group of oppressors, perhaps censors of some kind, has deemed this information to be confidential. Speak of it and you will die, you will be whacked by a rock in some god-forsaken place. This realization has helped me to cope. I now understand the reticence of my so-called friends to talk about the route. I still regard them as friends. Having learned the truth, Iím really not bitter about anymore.

I realize that I am on my own.

I go and test some supplements, better stronger ones. (See supplement article)

I sink further into despair and anguish. I am not worthy.

I try to think about others who are worse off than me. I was told as a boy that this type of thinking helps to buoy the spirits. I continue to brood.

Why do I return time and time again? What draws me to this nonsense. Has my body been taken over by the "Good Force" of Stevie Haston. Are my internal organs at this very moment being consumed by the "Gnawing Rats" that plagued Mo Anthoine. I desperately hope not.

I start to think more clearly. The supplements are taking effect. I remember that the last time I tried the route there was a faint glimmer of hope. On my last try, I devised a possible combination, an illogical, awkward and improbable sequence that actually showed some promise. I was too tired to work on it further. Perhaps it will go. Perhaps I will return one more time and then if I canít do it, humbly concede and move on to something else, something of importance, something of significance, something worthy of my attention.

Bob Bennell

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