Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Bonjour mon petit pampelmousse’s

Its been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you, but times up, Im sorry I kept you. 

I spent the Christmas and New Year period away from home, first in Devon, and then in Chamonix and a wonderful time was had skiing in with good friends.  In time gone by, I used to be petrified by the thought of taking a few weeks off of climbing, but nowadays I realise there is much, much more to life than just hanging off of rocks, and also that you can have too much of a good thing.  It’s good every now and again to take a break and do something different.  It tests your mind and your body in different ways and I always return feeling refreshed and ready for the next step.

I read a few interesting books recently which have helped to focus and organise some ideas I have had over the last few years, and in cases, throughout my whole life.  I have been trying to, and hope to continue to implement these ideas into my day to day living and by doing so live a fuller, happier, more content life, and enhance the lives of the people around me.

About a month ago, I gave a lecture in Belgium at their national bouldering championships and had a great couple of days hanging out with friends old and new.  One afternoon, over lunch, one of my oldest friends said something to me that really struck a cord.  He told me that he had recently stopped looking at and posting on internet climbing forums because he gained nothing positive from them.  He said the things that other people are doing (or more precisely saying) mattered little to him, as he was mainly interested in bettering himself and his personal journey. 

I was quite surprised at first, especially considering how much of his time is spent in front of his computer ;) but had a lot of respect for his decision.  I thought about this a little more over the next few days and it made so much sense.  When I weighed up the pros (contact with friends, updates on news) against the cons (lies, bitchiness, nastiness, stirring, uneducated opinions stated as fact etc etc) I began to see clearer.  When I then worked out the amount of time I was spending on forums (keeping track of threads, replying to questions, justifying decisions etc) I realised the utter insanity of the situation.

I was wasting my life, doing something that caused me more pain than not – so I stopped!  As simple as that, I went cold turkey, I haven’t looked on the internet forums since, and it’s great.  My time is now spent doing the things I enjoy, and I feel so much better for it.  I imagine there are still things being wrote about me and I guess people may even be annoyed about my apparent absence, possibly feeling like I have buried my head in the sand, especially in light of the recent repeat of my route in Devon, but I hope after reading the above you now realise this is not the case. 

Incidentally, I have my views on this repeat, but here is not the place to discuss them.  If you want to read my thoughts and feelings on The Walk Of Life, I wrote a series of blog posts on the subject shortly after I made the first ascent in September, just take a look back through the archive, my views are still the same.

I like to think that I learn from my past experiences, and also that I have no regrets.  Things happen, you do what you think is right, and you move on, you keep living.


Lee said...

Hi James. Does this mean you won't be blogging anymore, or just not getting drawn in to participation on the actual forums?

Anonymous said...

It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at
Since you came here, you have to show and prove
And do that dance until it don't move
'Cause all you need is soul self-esteem will release,
The rest is up to you, and I'll say peace

Mark Sheridan said...

Hello James,
I've got a whole bunch of UKCers uptight with a joke (or my attempt at one) that I made at your expense. Thing is, I want you to know there was no malice in it and no offense meant, it's just me still being the class clown and trying to get a few of 'em going. It would be false of me to say I agree with the grade, but who am I anyway? Genuinely wishing you all the best for 2009. Be safe, Mark S.

Anonymous said...

There's no escape is there?

A blog post is an internet post.

Anonymous said...

> I like to think that I learn from my past experiences,

Seems you haven't.

First off after all the controversy don't start a global blog post by saying what a great time you are having.

Secondly don't be surprised when you fuck up your grades, many of them, and climbers go crazy especially on the internet.

Third don't get your wisdom from books.

Learn from this experience by apologising for your over grades. Show some humility.

Congratulate DM on his ascent publically.

Great climbs you have done. Your grades are not good.

Best of luck for the future as you are a very talented climber and I am sure a great person.

Anonymous said...

Very inspiring blog... particularly the ideas about not reading internet postings. However it's not quite inspiring enough to stop me reading your blog in the future :-).

Best of luck to you lad.

Emily said...

Anonymous poster number three.
WIND YOUR NECK IN. It seems James has learnt from his experiences
Lesson No 1 :Ignore the anonymous halfwit internet posters and focus on what he is really good at-climbing!
Lesson No 2: Pay no attention to rude people that have not got the integrity to put their name to there posts.

As far as I am aware, James stands by the grades that he gave all his routes based on the experience he had at the time.

The Promise has not been repeated in the same style.

The Groove is STILL unrepeated.

Pads and faith in gear/good gear make a BIG difference, as we now know from recent ascents- and as such, grades will differ.

I think that making a first ascent is a personal thing and when asked to grade a new route, all the first ascentionist can do is offer their honest opinion, I believe that is what James did, so chose a new tune to whistle, turn off the computer, pick up your rock boots and go climbing.

Emily Brazenall

Anonymous said...

Hi James, not all the world is as cynical as forum trollers. Your recent accents have inpired a lot of people including me, your lines are awsome.

I feel shame that your climbing have been cast under a cloud of internet crap and everyone seems to pass quickly over the part in all the repeat ascentionists reports when they all confirm the quality and "world class" aspect of all you put up.
Dave Mac is no exception with his recent write up on his repeat of TWOL (James if you havnt already read it then you should)

I know you already know it, but its worth repeating - climbing is never about the grades.

For every person who tells you how inspired your climbs make them, there are hundreds who stay silent.


Jono Whitfield

Anonymous said...

Hey James,

Just thought I'd let you know that all us lads back in Matlock (Gomery, Joe B, Tommy D, etc) follow your progress all the time, we all think your nuts, but were also very proud. You've certainly inspired me to climb hard!
Keep up the good work, stay safe, and don't stop putting blogs on here as we like to know what you've been up to!

Paul Hayward

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty disgusted by the tone of your blogpost. You give no credit for DMs incredible repeat ascent of TWOL, instead you say "I have my views of the ascent". What do you mean?

Anonymous said...

Hello James,
I am a big fan of yours and have enjoyed watching your ascents on video.

Unfourtunately, I have to agree with some of your harsher critics. You propose an unheard of grade of E12 and then when DM repeats the route and writes a very thorough, thoughtful, and considerate blog about his reasons for downgrading the route you respond with vague "I have my views ...".

I realize that getting your FAs downgraded must have been frustrating. They are after all great achievements, and much of the public focus has unfourtunately come down to issues of grades.

You are, however, a pro-climber and grading climbs can be seen as part of your "vocation" so it is not unreasonable for people to expect you to defend or modify your grades based on repeat ascents. It would be similar to a scientist who publishes a study and then gets upset when people criticize the methods/ results, while remaining obstinately silent.

just my two cents,

James Pearson said...

In reply to everyone who had the good grace to leave their names, thank you. Be they positive or negative, your comments will be taken on board. Even more thanks go to the friends who left kind words, its nice to know that what I do and write is of interest to people - its these kind of comments that keep me coming back.

In reply to Anon no 8, it would have been nice to know who I'm talking to, but regardless of this, your post came across as well thought out.
I agree that I wrote very little on the subject of TWOL in my last post, and I can imagine how this could have come as a bit of a disappointment to those awaiting a lengthy, in depth reply justifying myself. But I have already written in great detail about my experience on the route in previous blog posts and since this experience is still, and will always be the same, then repeating this would only be a waste of everyone's time. I like your point about the scientist, perhaps later, if I get time, I will try to write down a few of my thoughts on the subject.

It also seems like my "apparent" lack of congratulations for Dave has got some peoples goats. But try stop to think for a moment before jumping to conclusions, perhaps this lack of congrats is only "apparent" when looking from a certain viewpoint - Not everything is said with the world watching.

Anonymous said...

Hi James,

As far as I am aware, you are the only climber who has strong ethical view points, backs up those view points by cutting edge ascents* and then writes about them with the clarity that you do. So if you stop writing blogs (and even more importantly, reponses) then there will be nobody else for us to read about.

Rich Ackbar

* and yes, even E9 is still cutting edge

Anonymous said...

Hey James,

I just saw the pic of you flashing The End Of The Affair. Top Effort. You should be blogging about these type of acheivements instead of going over old ground i.e. justifying past actions.

M.P said...

In reply to Emily. No The Promise has been done Ground 4times and may be flashed 1s.
and The Groove was done by KJ
Ooo and the Promise was soloed by JT. Which was a acedent!

Morgan Preece said...

Ooo and James, well done one ever route this year :)
The Walk Of Life looks really out there. well done.
Whats Next??
Good luck dude!

morgan preece said...

Sorry that was JR that repeated the Promise

Anonymous said...

Tell em' Fuck off james !

They are all shitter than you and just wish they could be where you are in the climbng world!

All the best !


James Pearson said...

Hi M.P,
I'm sure Emily is well aware of the ascents you mention but if you read Emily's comment, you will see that she is making reference to the style of the ascents. Style in general climbing is very important, but on routes where a large percentage of the "grade" is based on the percieved danger, then the style in which a route is climbed is of the utmost. There are many things that can influence this, and I plan to blog in detail about this later today (if I have time).

With regards to The Groove, ask yourself this. If you were trying an existing route, and could not do one of the crux sections, would you be happy traversing off route, then traversing back in a little higher so as to bypass the "impossible" section? I know I wouldn't, but each to their own. Again, more to come on this later...

Anonymous said...

Jesus maaaaan you can hardly talk about style when you top rope the fuck out of your routes. Where's the adventure in that? said...

jesus maaaaan! can you not at least have the decency to leave your name when leaving snidey ill informed shitty comments like that?

to James, congratulations on a great first ascent. as a mere mortal I have so much respect for your climbing achievements, and as such my opinions on the subject aren't worth a lot, but I honestly think that you're not helping yourself too much by seemingly sticking your head in the sand about the issue; and especially by not at least offering congratulations on DM's fantastic effort on the repeat.

The thing that interests me the most is how you and Dave had such different experiences on the route. I and I'm sure many others would be really interested to hear your thoughts on this but course that's totally up to you as to whether you want to share them. ignore the idiots who keep posting shit anonymously on here and carry on doing what you do best, kicking ass on the rock!



Morgan Preece said...

I Reply to Anonymous!
I would like to see you get up there and climb The Groove or TWOL.
And then have the balls and onsight End of the affair (Where's the adventure in that?).
Maby some of James climbs have been down graded, but all of them are fucking hard.
good luck with 2009 james and hope you get the routes your after.
:) MP

Anonymous said...

"Jesus maaaaan you can hardly talk about style when you top rope the fuck out of your routes. Where's the adventure in that?" Have you been on the wall in question? I imagine it would feel pretty adventuous on lead.

A side note on the Promise.
A friend and myself have looked at the Promise on a few occasions, and considered it highball (maybe), mainly because i get more pleasure out of bouldering than roped climbing (trad or sport). I have had a look through some forums but couldnt find reference, what did you consider the font grade to be? (if at all)
Dave Deary