Posts Tagged ‘little si’


Posted: September 11, 2010 in Climbing
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What grade do I climb at now? 5.12a went down after 5 tries over three days, for a total of about 6 falls. Does this mean I should start trying harder and harder things? I greatly credit my friends for picking new projects for me, pushing me to ignore my limits, and making me constantly try to improve my climbing. It’s taken a whole season, but I’m finally starting to realize that I’m not a low 10 climber anymore. I can try harder things.

Thursday went (almost) just the way I had hoped it would. Jessica, Micah, and I made the hike up to World Wall 1 in the light mist, hoping and praying that the wall would be dry. And everything was, excluding some climbs to the far left. Micah quickly put up the draws on Aborigine, and I came on behind for a warm up. Forgetting the beta halfway up the climb, I traversed left when I should have climbed up and right, causing me to lose precious energy and gas-out and fall at the final clip. I had fallen, was flash pumped, and worried out of my mind that Rainy Day Women would become a red-point epic, that I would come so close to finishing so many times but never be able to actually do it. As these negative thoughts creeped into my head, I quickly shoved them aside and tried to think of anything but my project at all. I thought about the weather, my lunch, traffic up towards North Bend, anything that would prevent me from thinking negative thoughts about my attempt to come.

After belaying Micah on a quick adventure with a spider (I’ll let him tell the story), I was tying in and chalking up, ready to get on my project. The draws weren’t up on the climb yet, so I was carrying a full rack of 14 quickdraws. To continue keeping my mind off the climb, we kept a light conversation going all the way through the first and second crux, up to the big jugs below the final bulge. I shook out for probably a good five minutes, recovering probably about 80% before the final push.

And then the talking stopped. With perfectly rehearsed beta, I crimped my way through to the crux clip, hit the slopey gaston with my left, and made the big cross-through to hit the victory jug with just the tip of my fingers. AND IT STUCK. I was thrilled, but took another minute or two just to gather my mind together to make sure I didn’t blow it on the final moves to the chains. As I finally clipped those fixed draws, I let out a whoop and yelled with excitement. Man, I love climbing.

In the end, the project went down. What more can I say?



Posted: September 7, 2010 in Climbing
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How many times can I get on a project before I call it good? How many times can I fall before I finally give up? How much effort will I put into a climb to make progression?

This summer, I set a goal to climb .12a, 7a+, E5, VIII+, V4 highball, whatever you want to call it. I believe that the lofty grade of .12 is a breakthrough grade for any self-respecting rock climber, a point at which they can finally call themselves a real participant of the sport. But until recently, I have been intimidated to even attempt anything that hard, for fear of being shut down and making no progress.

The local climbing crew from Olympia has been nothing short of inspiring and motivating, and last Thursday Jimmy and Micah pushed me to give a try on Rainy Day Women, the .12a testpiece at Little Si. It’s a climb that’s kind of a coming of age for the crag, a gateway that opens up all the harder projects on the wall. Last Thursday, without ever giving it a top rope burn, I hopped on to lead the climb, falling low then working out the beta bolt to bolt. I was inspired, and psyched out of my mind. Suddenly, the .12a monster didn’t seem so great, and didn’t seem so difficult to achieve.

Monday rolled around. We hiked back up to the wall. Dom put up the draws for me. After a quick warm-up on Aborigine, I got on the project. I climbed through the lower bulge, took a big rest, chugged up towards the second rest at the good jugs, thrusted upwards, and pumped out just below the last crux! I took the hang, and finished it up in good style for the elusive one-fall. I was psyched out of my mind, having been able to one-fall my project after just one burn.

Half an hour later, I got back on. Made it through the crux, got to the next clip. Then blew it because the carabiner was facing the wrong direction, and fell off trying to clip. One-falled it again.

Third burn of the day. Made the clip. Hit the good sidepull. Gaston, cross for the jug, and MY HAND SLIPPED. I let out a yell that I’m sure people heard in the parking lot below. Dejected and disappointed, I pulled through for my third one-fall of the day.

I should be happy. I made progression on each attempt, and really cannot possibly be closer to achieving my goal. But I am with a heavy heart, for the feeling of failure cast a dark cloud over me on the entire hike down. I hate leaving business unfinished. But at the same time, having a project to return to has left me inspired. How can I not be inspired with so many people climbing so hard around me? Dom warmed up on my project, a stout climb that requires some guts to get on so early in the day. Jimmy got a fourth repeat of Chronic (.13b), arguably the most well known climb on the wall. Micah had a phenomenal day, linking up Technorigine (.12c), Psychosomatic (.12d), and Californicator (.12d) all in one day, coming painfully close to sending Californication (.13a). This is what it’s all about – trying hard and coming back.

Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, Thursday, Thursday. This project’s going DOWN.