The Nose Job 6: Doubts

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1/25/11 - Maybe it's the short days and frigid temps of winter. Maybe it was the mass of work and stacked-up deadlines before the holidays, followed by some post-holiday mass around my waistline. Maybe it's just hard to sustain a high level of psyche over many months.

Whatever: I've been suffering from big doubts about the Nose in a Day project.

This is ironic because on shorter routes, I'm climbing better than I have in years. My fingers and head are strong, and I've got that snappy feeling, like a bounce in your step, that you only get when you're moving really well on rock.

But there's a huge difference between ticking short climbs at the gym or a local crag and an all-day effort on a big wall. For the weekend warrior, the crux of preparing for a climb like the NIAD, which might last 20 hours or more, is finding the time and energy for really long days of training. For those of us who work all week, this can only happen on the weekend.

And here's the thing: When you work 50 hours a week, and especially when you reach a certain age, you don't head into the weekend all fired up to wake pre-dawn and storm into the hills on Saturday morning. You head into the weekend eager for some couch time. By Sunday, my mojo is usually back in force, but that only leaves one day a week for a big effort, and if the weather is bad or there's yard work to be done or the in-laws need visiting, that one day can quickly become none. And so I have doubts.

Yet, I still think I can do the Nose in a Day this year. After nearly three decades as a journalist, I'm conditioned to respond to deadlines. And with the turning of the year, the deadline for this project has suddenly loomed into focus. If it happens, it'll be in May or June, when the days are longest. That gives me four to five more months to prepare. It should be enough. The forecast is good for this Saturday. Time to rally.

Climbing magazine editor in chief Dougald MacDonald is training for an attempt on the Nose in a Day next summer. Read all the Nose Job blog posts here.