Glad you’re enjoying the plan so much. Great to hear!
You ask good questions. And I think we all feel the same way after a long block of training. In terms of taking a break and getting your life back–yes. Definitely take time to do that.
But what I recommend is that you continue the process you’ve already started, think about the next goal. Here is a great passage in an interview I read this morning that Mark Synnott did with Alex Honnold:
Did you think about anything other than rock climbing while you were going up the wall?
During all the easy terrain, in the middle, through the Monster and up to the Spire, I was thinking about random stuff—the whole village of people who have supported me on this. I got an email from (friend and climbing partner Conrad Anker) this morning. So I was thinking about Conrad and his whole ethos of ‘be kind, be good, be happy’.
And I was also thinking in terms of life goals. This has been my biggest life goal for years. And the other one is to climb 9a—to sport climb real hard. (Editor’s note: 9a refers to one of the highest rated, most physically demanding levels of sport climbing.) So I’m halfway up the wall and thinking it’s time to focus on 9a. It’s so exciting to work on something hard.
So you already have a new goal?
It’s been a strategy the whole time I’ve worked on El Cap is to look past it, so that it’s not just all this one moment. To think about what’s beyond, what other stuff I’m excited about. So this just feels like a semi-normal day.
Otherwise you’re kind of setting yourself up for a major letdown?
You don’t want to put that much pressure on yourself where everything in my life focuses on this one moment. This has been my big focus for years and my big dream for years, but I would like to climb at my physical limits and step away from adventure for a little while.
And you do that with a rope.
I’m pretty stoked to not be focusing on free solo projects for a while.
I think Alex is onto something really important there. And I can say now, looking back at my own climbing, that I did not have that “next goal” ready to go right after climbing Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face in 2005. It took me a few years to figure out what I wanted to do next. I had some other projects, Kunyang Chish, some routes in the Canadian Rockies, but they didn’t fire me up the way the Rupal had. I planned to go to K2 in 2010 and it was while training for that climb, and probably at my peak life-time fitnesss that I was injured in a fall on Mount Temple. That put an end to my (physical) progression as an alpinist. I want to emphasize the value of Alex’s mindset here. Have a big goal, work towards it diligently, but have that next thing in mind. To steal Jim Collins’ phrase here, that’s how you go from good, to great.