In which I take a photo every day that I'm 50, and post it here on this blog, with a bit of related blurb.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Day 132 - Prime Directive

climbing clematis

Friday night at last, woohoo!

It's been a long week, for a short week.  It hasn't helped that I've been interviewing for the last two's quite draining, mentally at least.   Today I was interviewing from 9am until 5.30pm...a bit of a marathon.

Not as much of a marathon as the Marathon Des Sables, which my cousin completed a couple of weeks ago.  Incredible - Philippa puts my puny efforts to shame!

Speaking of my puny efforts, the years primary challenge, the 50@50, is one week away today.  I'm feeling a bit out of shape still...perhaps because I still haven't done any exercise.

The weather looks like it'll be a continuation of today's heavy rain, so I think a climb outdoors is off the agenda.  I'd like to get a good bouldering session in on Sunday, to wake all the muscles up and to do some high volume, high intensity climbing. 

Anna was telling me that she'd been regaling a group of friends with the story of the imminent 50@50 challenge.  It seems they were fairly horrified at the notion of me doing a lot of climbs without any ropes.  Anna played it cool and nonchalantly suggested that it was well within my capabilities.  

Two things struck me about this exchange.

Firstly, whilst I suspect that it probably sounds much more dangerous and hardcore than it really is, that doesn't preclude it being a relatively serious undertaking.  I'm not in the least bit concerned or afraid about it, but neither am I convinced this is a good I managing the risk, or just ignoring it?   

There was a suggestion that we take bouldering pads...presumably for when I fall off.  For some reason, this irks me a little, and my instinct is to reject the idea.  In fact, as I'm writing this, I'm starting to understand...

When soloing (climbing without ropes), you must retain, at all times, a focus on the Prime Directive, which is "I will not fall off".   To place a boulder mat underneath me is to suffix the Prime Directive with "but if I should happen to...", and psychologically, the game changes. 

Suddenly, I'm both considering the idea of falling off (and so increasing the likelihood of that happening), and I've lost the focus required to stick with the Prime.   Risks have now risen, whilst reward has remained static.

Bottom line - no bouldering mats!

The second thing that struck me was how confident and supportive Anna is of my ability to complete my challenge.  Anna has seen me climb pretty much everything I've ever climbed, so for that reason alone (although I have many others), I consider her to be a hugely authoritative source.

Thanks Anna!  

Your apparent belief really helps to support my confidence, which helps me to retain the required focus, which helps me to not fall off!

50@50 Status Report: Bring it On! 

Anyway, there was a photo up there somewhere earlier on, wasn't there?!  What was it now?

Oh yes, clematis montana, climbing our car park fence, blooming soon!

It's looked virtually dead all winter, but now it's absolutely covered in these lovely buds.  It will be the first time this plant has flowered, as far as I can remember.  I expect Anna will correct me on that, but I prefer the notion that this is the first time...

History is written by the we'll go with my version, thanks...  



  1. Oh dear, I've forgotten what the 50@50 challenge involves. Maybe some of your other similarly goldfish-brained readers need reminding. Pip pip.

  2. Hi Andy, see this post from a couple of weeks ago for a full explanation;