January 22, 2010 posted by

The Endless Ascent

I’m super inspired by Will Gadd’s effort on The Endless Ascent. His approach and training are exactly the kind of thing that I look for in my birthday challenges. Reading through Will’s journals at Gravsports feels like deja vu as his thoughts are so similar to mine, at least for my biggest challenges (scroll down, these are worth your time). You train with a plan and still go into it with no idea about what to expect; what your body can tolerate; how your mind will respond to the torture, and whether or not you have any chance of reaching your goal. The motto at birthday challenge is that if you know you can do it then it’s not a challenge. Embracing the unknown and reveling in suffering are what these challenges are about.

This challenge looks brutally hard. Will can suffer with the best of ’em. He’s an incredible athlete as well. But most of all he’s an explorer. You have to be to push yourself under such ridiculous circumstances. Like most ultra endurance events the participant must have a sense of the absurd or they’d never consider them in the first place. To do something totally new, as Will did, takes the challenge to a different level. When something’s been done before you at least have that barometer. It certainly doesn’t guarantee success, or minimize suffering, but there’s a comfort in knowing that someone had been where you are before. When you’re breaking new ground, no matter what the circumstances, there’s a void. You have no idea what’s possible, when you should stop, or at what point you’re going over the edge and doing something that might kill you. For those interested in the physiology of the human body, times like these are your reason for living.

Chapeau, Mr. Gadd!


  • Reminds me of Tommy Caldwell from progression. How you describe his "will" power, I relate him to Tommy. Even though Tommy couldn't climb the big walls he planted the seed for other people to climb it. I saw your birthday challenge, looks pretty insane!!!!

  • For the record, Tommy couldn't climb that one route. Overall he's the most prolific big wall free climber in the world.

  • true. Sharma did good on Jumbo Love. Hardest route known to man….*sigh* This inspires me to climb, I went outside today to climb some trees just to get the feeling of climbing (in the snow) and almost got a frost bite. haha I gotta stop watching these movies….

  • Thanks Steve, and yes, new challenges rock!!!!! Love the energy.Yeah!

  • Wow!I'm in awe. Very cool.Anne

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