A kid at the crag wanted to try to flash a steep, cruxy 12b, which would have been his hardest flash by far. The hardest moves are right off the ground and ease up considerably after the 2nd bolt, leading to a mostly juggy pumpfest to the chains. Standard protocol is to stick clip the 2nd bolt, where blowing the tough clip would certainly be disastrous. I gave the kid, who boulders stronger than I do, beta. Good beta. He climbed through the crux, and the very moment the 2nd bolt was at his waist, he said "Take!".
Huh? He then proceeded to go bolt-to-bolt to the top, looking shaky the whole way. After a rest, he tied in under a nearby 13a. "Aren't you going to try the 12b again?" I asked.
"No, I'd just send it, so I'm going to move on."
A fairly new female climber at the crag wanted to try a pumpy 12b, which is at least a full number above her hardest redpoint. While the route has no real crux, and there is a great rest in the middle, it's a much harder proposition to link it all together than it might seem at first. She went bolt-to-bolt until she reached a slightly more difficult move just below the rest, which she immediately deemed too reachy, (though the previous season I watched a 9 year old warm up on it). After a few abortive attempts, she retreated to the ground. Later I overheard her tell another girl that "That 12b isn't that hard, it's just reachy," and that "if it weren't for that move," she could have done it.
In every gym in this country, there lurk sickeningly strong climbers who rarely touch real rock but crush seemingly impossible gym routes easily. If asked, and sometimes when they aren't asked, they will tell you that they COULD climb 5.14 or V12. It would be easy, actually, if they really wanted to.
Now, it's certainly possible that the kid could have sent the 12b next go. It's feasible that with time, the girl could find that pumpy 12 to be easy for her. And yes, it's likely that the gym monster could eventually climb those high numbers. The point is, they aren't doing it. They are just talking about it.
I get it. Talking is easier than doing. Talking is far easier on the ego than trying and failing. What it isn't, however, is nearly as satisfying. If you only talk, and never subject yourself to the humility of failure, will you ever begin to know where your limits lie? I, for one, want to know. I put my goals out there and I try for them. Succeed or fail, I'll never have to feel regret that I didn't give it my all.
So, thanks to the doers. The people who get out and get it done. Thanks for the motivation, the inspiration, and for paving the way. Thanks for helping us to see that our "True Story" doesn't have to be a regretful one.