Death by Osmosis

I was just looking through an old climbing journal and found some interesting articles I’d like to remember. Here’s one:

Death by Osmosis

Sunday morning dawned with the perfect weather for climbing – a touch of sun peaking from behind an innocuous scatter of clouds. After a hearty breakfast, I took a slow drive out to my beloved Nyamuk after missing her for one whole month. The tranquil calm of the crag washed over me like the sweet scent of massage oils, kneading out the knots from a short but hectic week at work. Mmm, it was good to be back.

After a few climbs, I was happily patting myself on the back on the progress of my first day of natural rock climbing for the year – that was, until Patrick invited me to climb “Osmosis”. Well, why not, I thought, since it was one of my new year’s resolutions to get back to work on “Osmosis”. I had expected the attempt to be bad since I had not climbed “Osmosis” for a number of months now, but nothing could have prepared me for the utter ignominy I experienced.

“Osmosis” was a route that I had begun to fall in love with partway through 2004 when Adi introduced her to me – many a time had I studied her, learning the moves that would please her and allow me to progress farther. I had presupposed that we would be able to resume the intimacy, but “Osmosis” had other plans in mind for me for she chewed me whole and spat me out as easily as brushing off an annoying fly. All this she did without so much as a backward glance as I lay there in a subjugated heap.

The attempt was excruciating, for barely had I entered the section of the stalagtite when the pump began to build up in my arms. My hands passed over the holds I once knew, but now they felt like foreigners in a strange land. My feet were sketchy and my balance was teetering on tight rope. Patrick had to remind me to stay calm as I laboured to reach the rest point. The sequence that had once been etched in my mind was a surreal reminiscence echoing from a past life. I bombed out by the third bolt and had to clip in and rest for a while, but even that was not enough to get me through what lay ahead.

Analysis time… So what went wrong? There was a distinct loss of power – most notably, sloper power. Secondly, a loss of endurance and stamina was evident in the rapid build up of pump too early in the climb. Thirdly, a lack of mental functioning resulted in the inability to progress further via an alternate sequence. Fourthly, a couple of extra kilograms hanging off my behind, resulting from one too many indulgent dinners from Christmas and the New Year. All in all, four very significant weaknesses that lead to “death by Osmosis”, as Jeremy puts it. It felt a little like one step forward and five steps back for my first day returning to the climbing scene, but it’ll take a lot more than this little disappointment, before I say “die”.

Below is a picture of Akmal climbing Osmosis:


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