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Pressure Drop - Rocklands

Keenan bouldering in Rocklands, Africa

One of the hardest things
is to go easy on yourself.

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A worthy goal never remains just that. As I move toward it I add layers - why it can happen, why it should happen, why it will happen. Before I’ve arrived, I imagine what lies beyond. What is my next goal? How will this shape my future? What did it mean in the first place? I lose presence.

I spent this past summer in Rocklands, with my primary focus to climb the Finnish Line, an incredible V15 established by Nalle Hukkataival two years ago. I hadn't tried it before and didn’t know what to expect. Convinced that I could climb it I bought tickets that maxed out my visa, flew to South Africa, gave it everything and then some...and didn't do it.

In trying, I reached a new level of obsession, dedication, drive, and desire. All the while I hadn’t put much thought into the idea of not doing it. The whole time I was there it seemed within reach, and I cared about it so much. Perhaps I cared too much. 

Keenan climbing Bog Sky in Rocklands

While in South Africa I climbed my longest project at the time, Sky (V14), reached a new level of mental control on the First Ascent of DOOMSDAY (V9X) and climbed one of my hardest boulders to date, Monkey Wedding (V15). The tough lessons from the Finnish Line prepared me for these in ways I didn’t fully realize at the time - in patience, in aesthetic drive, and in letting go. Sky took me three separate trips to complete. DOOMSDAY has pulled me since I first laid eyes on it in 2014, a strikingly terrifying line from a place of pure desire. I tried Monkey Wedding for the fun of it, for the challenge, unattached to a specific outcome.

Keenan climbing Monkey Wedding, V15

I had built The Finnish Line into a goal much bigger than climbing a boulder. I told myself it was the end of an era. That once I climbed it, and only once I climbed it, I could move on to the next goal, the next stage in my climbing. Having stepped back (about 9,000 miles), I can see that it's just a place-mark, not a final chapter. The baggage and pressure I added were unnecessary. I can still continue in the direction I want, regardless of whether I've climbed The Finnish Line or not.

Maybe the Finnish Line will take two trips, maybe it will take ten… the one thing I’m certain of is that I’ll be back to try it until I’m standing on top. 

Top Ten Ticks:

Monkey Wedding (V15)

DOOMSDAY (V9X First Ascent)

Sky (V14)

Black Eagle (V14/15)

Rise Up (V12 FA w/Jimmy Webb)

Moonshadow (V13 Second Ascent)

Beach House (V11/12 First Ascent)

Murmuration (V8 First Ascent)

Séance (V11/12 First Ascent)

Scorcher (V11 FA w/Jimmy Webb)


Photos by ©Jimmy Webb

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La Sportiva Climbing Athlete Keenan TakahashiKEENAN TAKAHASHI is a member of the La Sportiva Climbing Team.

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9/17/2019 10:07 AM
Posted in Climbing By Keenan Takahashi

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