I do not want to equalize on the ground.
I have pretty much only done so only from high-ball boulder problems with pads, although I have suffered humiliating ground equalization from above the second bolt on sport climbs on two occasions with only pride injuries to show.
However, back in the day, I wanted to be a hard man because that was all the rage. After some various shorter if more numerically difficult exploits, I free soloed White Horse standard route in forty minutes and then ran over to link Funhouse to Upper Refuse in twenty minutes (1991). This was way back three years in to the climbing half of my life, and although it was (and still is) proud to me on some level, now it mainly feels tawdry. After that I completely gave soloing up. Even today, after climbing constantly all these years, I still know its possible to slip off pretty much any kind of slab for the most insignificant reason. Now, at the gym, I do not mention this stunt to younger climbers I meet- it feels like some weird barrel over Niagara falls psychosis oddly sustained from the nineteenth century. At the time of that particular exploit, my younger daughter was two. Now she is twenty five, and I very much want to see what the next twenty five brings, not to mention the older one's doctoral pursuits.
In twenty three additional years of climbing since that link-up excursion I have have gotten so much enjoyment out of the sport, have had so many great regional and international experiences- in Spain, France, Mexico, and around our own awesomely steep rock blessed country. I have climbed so many exotic cruxes, routes, and boulder problems that were gymnastically challenging and obsessional to me, and have met, climbed with, and generally hung with so many great people. Over the years awesome climbing partners came in waves as one person or group moved from the region, or on to other things in life- to be replaced by new friends, with similar motivations to my own.
Over all these years time, shit happened: I drank liquor- got weak; then barely reigned it in and trained (like Arnold)- got strong; then ate without self constraint and gained walrus weight- got heavy; ate like a pixie- got fit; got distracted by family and obligations- lost momentum; bouldered until I couldn't possibly do more-slaved my way back to fitness; worked like a dog for the mortgage and every goddamned ridiculous cost of modern life- got so weak, but then would weekend warrior up- and get a bit fitter again, bouldered in the gym and dieted like a monk- got strong, designed the year with autumn focus for best NE climbing weather- did some stuff in the fall; worked on my land- got strong moving ridiculously large rocks and logging two acres of raw NH woods, but climbed poorly; bouldered in bunches- got a bit stronger again. So, currently on a regimen of starvation and six months of plastic pulling and now we will really see if I can break through frustration to that selfish super satisfying and personal success of the next harder grade that I am pursuing. (did I mention the selfishness of it?)- but the main thing is the fun-ness of it.
I am like many other climbers I know, all hoping for that next big ascent, that special ascent- that defining moment. That moment of glory. All those thousands of glorious feet. Or that perfect throw to the tips edge that clearly is two millimeters out of reach and really is so ridiculously small. Or that ability to reel in a series of preposterous edges in a sequence way beyond what seems in the realm of the possible. Or some orangoutang brachiation that defies human logic.
Now, If you are starting your climbing career and are, say, twenty or so years old- take Royal Robin's advise, protect opportunistically. When trad climbing take care of yourself first and foremost. That will lead directly into having so much over so many years. It is hard for me to relay to you how much.