• Sarah Schlaefke

Pressure of a fantastic adventure


This past weekend I went to one of the greatest places I’ve yet seen on the planet – Yosemite Valley. Despite the ridiculous climbing and outrageous fun I had, I still cried myself to sleep every night. Why? Because I put the pressure on myself to make Yosemite ultimate, when it couldn’t and wouldn’t be.

I’m not saying retrospectively I think Yosemite should’ve sucked anyways, and by God, it so did NOT. I’m saying that by me thinking that I could make this short weekend trip the adventure of a lifetime, I flopped all over it and crushed that dream.

Here’s the bad:

I think I started off on the wrong foot by going gym climbing after work before I went to fly to Oakland, California at butt-crack at night. I didn’t sleep on the plane, I was freezing cold and WAY too psyched to see Al (boyfriend), who I haven’t seen since moving to Utah. I landed, and then waited for the gang to come get me in a rental car, at which point I also didn’t sleep. Again, too psyched. Got in the car, was giddy to be with my friends, and then couldn’t sleep on the way to Yosemite and got carsick instead so I drove the rest of the way while everyone else at least got a little shut eye. Arrived, saw large, huge, massive walls and still couldn’t sleep and then just became loopy with tiredness. And that’s pretty much the end of that. No sleep = sad, sleepy panda Sarah.

But the good is the important part. And I want to focus on that, because even though I felt like I royally destroyed my and Alex’s fun time together, I realized after the fact that there were so many things to focus on that made me smile so big and still do.

We climbed this really fun route, Caverns, in Five Open Books, right next to Yosemite Falls. It was so beautiful and the whole route was a trusty slab with some funky placements and total joy moves. It was also hilariously infested with ants and topped with the chossiest pitch I’ve ever climbed – literally think raining dirt. I stuck hard moves and had a really good time. The whole walk off was just a beautiful view that I got to share with my best friends.

Of course, after any hot climbing day, you need to find natural water to clean off in. So we bathed in the River Merced, and it was cold but glorious and vamped me up for the next day.

We got on the classic Nutcracker the next day, right next door to the humongous Dawn Wall (<3 <3). It was spooky and fantastic climbing the whole way, with one of those top-outs that literally you get to lift yourself over a lip of rock onto the side of a cliff. So. Sick. It was hot and it was a little painful, but I could do that route all day.

See, there was so much good, a majority of good. But he pressure I put on myself, my expectation of perfection slammed me into a weird funk with sleeplessness at night and I lost my shit.

Mainly I want to say, even when things go terribly, terribly wrong, or not the way you planned or expected, it’s important to look at the things that made you smile. I did a really shitty job at the very end, forgetting that I was with my favorite person and many other people I really like a lot. I was in the greatest place in the country, debatably, and I was capable of climbing. I let sleep get in the way. But I’d go back in a heartbeat and do it all over again.

Wait, so really the moral of this story is get your sleep kids, it’s not a joke when they say you can’t function without it.

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Salt Lake City, UT, USA

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