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Watch Nalle Hukkataival Send Burden of Dreams (V17)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Black Diamond Athlete Nalle Hukkataival doesn’t like to give up. For seven seasons, he returned to the same boulder to try an improbable sequence of moves. Over time, the puzzle slowly came together, and the result was the world’s first V17—Burden of Dreams. Read Nalle’s introspective take on what it means to push yourself beyond the limits of what’s possible.
Video: Blue Kangoo, Words: Nalle Hukkataival, Image: Heikki Toivanen
Watch the full video: here.

The concept of failure has become very shortsighted in Western culture. If you go out to try a climb and come back without sending it, it is perceived that you “failed” rather than as a step closer to climbing it.

The only true failure is giving up.

Not succeeding is an important part of the process. The most memorable things in life are not the ones that came effortlessly—no matter how impressive—but the ones you struggled with and overcame in the end.

When you push beyond your own limits, the mental aspect becomes the biggest challenge—even with a physical activity. In the back of your head you know that nobody has ever done this before. We know that when something has been done before, it can be done. But when we’re talking about new frontiers, unexplored territory, things beyond the current grasp, there are no guarantees.

On a personal level, pushing beyond your limits really comes down to the battle between the unconscious and conscious mind. You can rationalize and prove to your conscious part of the brain how you should be capable of something. And you can be genuinely convinced that you’ve got what it takes. But your subconscious mind may disagree. Your subconscious mind—in control of your survival instincts—has to be the realist.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Yet this is precisely what we do as climbers … try and try again.

When I started working on Burden of Dreams, it wasn’t any more meaningful to me than some other climbs I had my sights set on. But over time I’d invested such an enormous amount of energy that it had passed the threshold of being just another project. To climb a small rock tucked away in some forest can’t possibly be that important in it’s own right. Just to climb up a small rock, why care so much? Why get so affected by such a trivial pursuit? But when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something, it becomes a test of character.

People make out the send to be the greatest moment. I don’t really look at it that way. It’s the last piece of the puzzle after all the work has been done.

Of course it’s more exciting to place the last piece, but is it any more important than any other piece? To me, the real magic is when you know you have what it takes even before it has happened.

Burden of Dreams wasn’t about the moment I sent. It was about getting there.

—Nalle Hukkataival

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