A Day Climbing and Many Excuses Later

EXCUSES – something we as climbers are guilty of doing at some point and some more than others.  So what exactly are excuses?  Excuses are reasons we come up with to justify our faults or failures.  I don’t like excuses very much and don’t like making excuses even more.  So many times we climbers blame other factors for our faults or failures, as we are too afraid to recognize the mistakes for what they really are.  An excuse is giving up before you have really even tried.  So why make excuses as they let in failure and doubt before we have even really started and stop us from giving our absolute all.

Here are just a few examples of some excuses:
The weather is too cold~ Too hot ~ Too windy.
Conditions are too moist ~ Too dry.
Skin is too soft ~ Too sensitive.
This move is too reachy ~ Too powerful.
I’m too short ~ Too heavy.
The crag is too busy ~ Too distracting.

Mikela Sinovich

Getting into the right mind set before attempting Firestarter (29/7c+), Montagu. Photo: Kate Patience


In the end it comes down to your try-hard mentality and how much you really want it.  Excuses are just an easy way out.  A way of telling yourself it’s not your fault and a way of making you feel better.  I think one needs to learn to accept the fact that today was just not the day, that you will leave today with the will to get stronger and that next time you will try harder and give it your absolute everything.  No matter what the conditions or circumstances are, you will make this moment count because it may be now or never.

Mikela Sinovich

Firestarter (29/7c+), Montagu. Photo: Paige Claassen


I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  Looking back on some of my most frustrating climbing experiences and projects, no matter how frustrated, disappointed or discouraged I was at the time, they were the ones that bettered my climbing, strengthened my will to go on, made me stronger and helped make me the climber that I am today.

Although, not relevant to climbing, I think this is a perfect and inspiring example of what can be accomplished if a person handles a situation with the same attitude as Ludwig van Beethoven had.
Beethoven, a German composer, was an important figure in the transition between Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music and to this day is one of the most famous and influential composers to have lived.  He achieved this all even though he was deaf and overcame this hardship that was thought to have been a tragedy.  The thing is that he never gave up, faced the truth and pursued his dream of being a music composer.  He saw his deafness as a challenge to be fought and overcome.  It strengthened him and led him to be a world-famous composer.

Everyday out climbing can be a make it or break it opportunity.  So why not stop making excuses and just simply acknowledge the truth?  Nothing will be perfect as nothing ever is and there will always be something wrong or not quite right, but don’t let it be an obstacle… let it be something for you to overcome!

Mikela Sinovich

Tomahawk (29/7c+), Wigwam. Photo: Chris Cosser


An important thing I constantly remind myself of is that no matter what happens; all these things make my day successful:
I will go climbing.
I will try my hardest.
I will learn something new.
I will have fun.
I will move one step closer in becoming the best climber I possibly can be.

Failures, mistakes and challenges are part of climbing and without them one wouldn’t be able to improve one’s self as a climber, wouldn’t learn to fight with everything in one’s being and wouldn’t be able to appreciate the successes and victories as much.  This all plays a huge part in climbing as it’s what drives us to fight more for the victories.  I mean who would have chosen climbing if it was easy, if it didn’t exceed what most people thought was the impossible and continue to push boundaries everyday.  We knew it wouldn’t be easy, that’s why we chose it- why we continue to choose it, for something to challenge us – for something that may end up changing and moulding us for the better.

Mikela is sponsored by Ocun South Africa

Chris Cosser

Chris Cosser trying hard on Tokolosie (30/8a), Waterval Boven. This guy is an example of pure determination and never say die. Photo: Joshua Greaves


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