Monday, October 27, 2008

Hard Boiled might not be so bad

There. I said it. Hard Boiled is not the worst route in the world. But don't get me wrong; it's no 'walk in the park' to redpoint. More than anything, this new perspective of mine is probably a symptom of my revised redpoint mentality in general. Redpointing is more fun for me this season. I've slid in to a groove of sorts that has made pushing myself on routes more bearable. I've justified the increased intensity this way: Think about whatever you need to think about to keep moving. If you execute everything right; move fast, stay tight in the cruxes, loose in the easy sections, milk rests if you can, and if you can find that sweet spot in rest time where your breathing comes down but your arms don't tire too much; accurately hit every hold, hands and feet; and basically do everything you visualize in that mental video where you send the thing... then you might have a chance. Everything comes together in a redpoint. You rehearse it, visualize it, get nervous, and send it. To get on hard sport routes, to push your own limit in this genre of climbing, is kinda stressful. Same as any performance, I suppose. There's tons to remember and I suspect the folks I look up to, the elite sport climbers of my generation, are especially skilled at finding that perfect mental space that allows them to execute near their physical limit, unencumbered by the psychological impedances most of us struggle to break through.
Anywayz, I got on Hard Boiled four times on Saturday. Ideally, I would have redpointed the damn thing but a productive day nevertheless. The redpoint is imminent. I'm almost having a touch of fun with it.
da numbers:

  1. Shores of Hell (5.11b) - redpoint
  2. White Lotus (5.11d) - lots of falls, this route super sucks
  3. Hard Boiled (5.13b) - lowered after an unexpected foot slip reaching to the first undercling
  4. Hard Boiled - fell throwing out to the right-hand crux crimp
  5. Hard Boiled - fell throwing to the crux pinch
  6. Hard Boiled - fell throwing to the crux pinch, got back on under the 1st undercling to fall again throwing to the pinch, got back on at the 3-finger before the crux to finish at the chains
  7. Sea of Love (5.12b) - bolt-to-bolt, my first time on this
  8. Sea of Love - fell in the crux, way tired

Monday, October 20, 2008

hello, old friend

Back on Hard Boiled. That's right, after 10 months, 1 attempt on my life, 3 pairs of climbing shoes and several dozen training days I am back projecting the most miserable piece of rock I have ever known. Once again, I am bidding for chains on Phil's Santa Maria abomination, for whose creator I'm sure a special spot in Hell is reserved. Redpoint burns on Hard Boiled are so painful I have to trick myself to keep throwing at holds. Sometimes I imagine I'm on another route. Whatever, I threw myself at it on Saturday to walk away surprisingly not disappointed.

da numbers:

  1. Shores of Hell (5.11b) - redpoint
  2. Crocodile Hunter (5.12d) - just bolt-to-bolted up to the first break
  3. Hard Boiled (5.13b) - bolt-to-bolted
  4. Hard Boiled - 1 fall, throwing to the crux crimp
  5. Hard Boiled - 1 take, at the second clip (big right-hand side pull before underclings), then to the top
  6. Better Than Chips (5.12d) - 1 fall, mysteriously, at the throw
  7. Better Than Chips - redpoint
  8. Anchor Punch - redpoint

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joshua Tree was crisp and good

I like Joshua Tree. Who knew? Gritty, crumbling granite slabs in the high desert of inland California... sounds like hell, right? In some ways it is. There's just something about the bold leads, perpetually good weather, infinite rock and gnarled old-school locals that make the park characteristically classic. My formative climbing years were spent in Seattle gyms, sport redpointing at Smith Rock, bouldering at Squamish, and now, Owl Tor. Though classic in their own right, and destination worthy no doubt, neither Squamish nor Smith are representative of traditional American climbing like Joshua Tree. And I'm ordinarily not one to romanticize climbing's history in the States. In fact, it's really only the new generation of steep, powerful, pocketed lines that interest me, the exact opposite of Joshua Tree's low-angle style. But I think it's been good for me to work out a new technique, the kind of friction intensive skill requisite on J-Tree's runout slabs. These runouts really are changing my climbing. Having to stick to the rock as if your health depends on it, because in fact it does, is common here - not something I'm used to, so it has to be good.

The weather was sunny and cold - maybe 60s during the day and 40s at night. Cold is good. If I had not been nursing a cold I like to think I would have climbed hard. I did not. Puss 'n Boots (5.11c) was the most significant thing I got on. About 10 degrees off vertical, thin and a little spicy up top, she got too heady for me at the end. I'd like to finish what I started here, maybe in a couple weeks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

BTL, day 4

Better Than Life felt better than usual Saturday. I'm mildly satisfied with redpoint burns by my fourth day of the season on this route. To tick her before moving on to Hard Boiled would be nice but I fear my window of opportunity at Mr. Lee's may close if I do not start heading back there to begin work on this season's real objective. Me on the first half of Better Than Life: da routes:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) - redpoint
  2. Auto Magic (5.12a) - redpoint
  3. Better Than Life (5.13c) - took and lowered off at the clip just before the hueco, interested only in warming up
  4. Better Than Life (5.13c) - 1 take at the last clip
  5. Better Than Life (5.13c) - 1 fall at the hueco
  6. Anchor Punch (5.12a) - redpoint
  7. When the Sea Doesn't Want You (5.12a) - redpoint
Me on the bottom half of Better Than Life: ...and the top half:

re-projecting BTL

This happened a week and a half ago. I've been lazy.
da routes:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) - redpoint
  2. Auto Magic (5.12a) - redpoint
  3. Better Than Life (5.13c) - 3 takes
  4. Better Than Life (5.13c) - 2 takes
  5. Chips to Pro Skill variation (5.13a?) - 1 take at the last bolt
  6. White Cougar (5.12b) - 1 fall after the last bolt
  7. White Cougar (5.12b) - a bunch of falls after the last bolt