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Seeking True North

Time Wave Zero – Freedom, Beauty, Failure… and SUCCESS in the Mountains! WOW!

By July 26, 2016August 1st, 2018No Comments

Today is a recovery day – and for good reason!  Yesterday, Gary Falk and I completed Time Wave Zero – the 23 pitch mega route in Potrero Chico in a noteworthy 9 hours up and down. This rock climb is over 2000 vertical feet and has 23 pitches!  I have been training and thinking about this one for months. The technical details of the ascent are below and I must say that achieving a big goal like this takes a lot. the climb was not without its challenges – including the fact that I fell on the second pitch of 5.11 b. Well, what can i say? I have been climbing hard 5.11´s all week – firing them without falling.

BUT, it was dawn, i wasn´t exactly warmed up, and i got out of sequence as i went for it charging up the route.  I got back up and made it through the pitch and admitedly was a bit upset. I flashed to Seeking True North, and the equation – values, plus beliefs plus action = a state of mind or being.  what part of the equation was leading to my frustration and what needed to shift? Well i did indeed value climbing the route in style and not falling at all, and i did believe that i would send the 5.11 and all my other pitches, and when my actions were not aligned – i got frustrated. (For those non-technical climbers – lets just say that climbing 5.11 is very difficult – and something that has taken me several years to get to) So – what do you do when you feel that frustration? I shifted to another value i have about climbing – and that is that there is no failure if you are giving all you got. in that moment, believe i did my best and i did give everything so my actions were aligned. Besides, we still has 21 pitches to go! I decided to be a LEADER and shifted as the rope came tight and we began the next 500 feed of simulclimbing.

Gary took the helm and together we moved in sinc up the rock – beautifully pocketed limestone. Such amazing movement over rock – and lots of it. we flashed through 4 pitches of 5.9 and a pitch of 5.10 and after a short scramble we soon were are the base of the 9th pitch. It was my turn again and I had a bit of redemption in mind as I climbed the 5.9 plus pitch and moved up into the 5.10 B. a Great hand jam and overhang finish!  And on to more simul-climbing. Another 5 pitches of 5.7, 5.9 with a 5.10 finish to the sequence. Gary was like a machine – just cruising. that is until he had a bit of trouble in the crux with rope drag.

He just happend to look down the steep face as I was rolling some video (the only video i got for the trip). I had made it over a steep part and was traversing to the next steep part – lets just say it started to get a little hot! Pitch 16 was  5.10 D and steep and technical – and it was my turn to step up. We were in the meat of the route now and  at 1500 feet off the deck, things start to get a bit fuzzy!  The mountain was cooking and our water was just about gone. I refocused on the breathing and stepped up and sent the 10.d and linked the next pitch of 5.9 plus! sweet. Gary flashed the next two steep pitches of 5.9 with style and I grunted my way up to the belay ledge. I was a little cranky on the ledge, taking off my shoes for a rest, breathing hard, and dreaming of more water. Well… i suppose you could lead this next pitch of 5.10D Gary… i mean, that does look pretty hard and steep and time…  bla bla. Yeah right.

Gary respondedwithTHIS IS IT. ITS NOW. You are not going to be thinking back wishing you have led your crux pitch. THIS IS THE MOMENT YOU WAIT FOR!  Step up and lead this thing! I knew he was right, and that is precisely why i like climbing with Gary  He knew I could do it, and pushed me to step into that growth zone.  That´s the Prax Factor in action! With that, I strapped on my rock shoes through the pain of swollen feet, and sent off into the vertical world again. The moves were hard, and I was for sure on the brink of falling several times – i mean really in that fine line of a few centimeters of holding on or not! Committing moves and a nice delicate traversing finish to a final overhang and I was done!  Totally sweet. And now Gary´s turn for the 5.12 pitch… He gave it a great shot to free the pitch and it was difficult overhanging stemming, side pulls and pinches. He pulled on a few draws and soon we were at the final pitch. The last 5.8 was vertical, with what seemed like harder moves than any of the 5.9 pitches, and with a few grunts, we sent it nonetheless. 


We summited El TORRO at 1:00 PM and didn´t wait around very long to celebrate – we were out of water and had 2000 feet to descend! i sent a text to the one person i thought could help us – Holly! I asked her to summon the clouds for our descent!  We made it down 2.5 hours later as the clouds rolled in :o) with only one stuck rope and several songs about the beer we were soon to drink.  Within minutes of hitting the dirt, the words were murmured… NOW WHAT? Great question. What do you do when you achieve a big goal in your life? Well, first we can´t forget the very important step of celebration!  We did indeed return to a nice meal, cold beer and laughs and stories about the climb.  And so we began talking about our next objectives for the rest of the time here. One of the routes includes Satori – a flash of enlightenment – which we plan to send later this week. As i have been recovering, I also have been thinking about the importance of energy management and how to maximize our performance in everything we do.  Rest and recovery are keys to success. So is solid training efforts focused on being prepared for the big game, which in the corporate works is that big presentation, the ongoing reports due, the critical decisions, those challenging conversations.


I think about climbing and the transference of lessons i have learned – the importance of BREATHING, and staying focused on the present moment – these are all things that are critical to performance – and to success. In summary, as I continue Seeking True North, I am reminded of the freedom and beauty of the mountains, and to that place that it brings me – that place where time stands still. And i am also reminded of how all things are interrelated, and the importance of applying principles of success (and failure:0) from the mountains to my personal and business life. Cheers to you as you continue on your journey! Peace –  Tim

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