Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hardcore Thursdays!

The last few weeks have been fantastic. I have managed to spend a great deal of time on the rock again. Thursday 2nd of June I managed to hit Fernkloof! Fantastic day. I finally managed to put down the second ascent of Paul Brouard's A Will To Cower. The line was fantastic. I had a long struggle on it, but the conditions were fantastic and on my 5th go of the day I stuck the big move to the sloping two finger hold. The boulder problem preceding this move revolves around 3 bolts of tiny sloping crimps which are a real pain to hold on to. The best sequence turned out to be playing catch up with one hand following the other. The feet also had to moved 3-to-1 for each hand movement. Was a great deal of climbing for so few holds.

Afterwards, I jumped on to a project, the only project, at Fern. This one is an open project that Andrew bolted a while back. Starts left of Acromax and finishes on the same last move. I found a way to do most of the moves individually, but they are insanely hard. Maybe they'll feel better in the future.

The weekend was great. I went to Blyde River Canyon with Hector Pringle, Ian Kotze, Richard Behne and Hilton Davies. I hadn't met Hilton or Ian previously and I was not disappointed. They are both characters of note! My first day there was a long one that started off very slowly. I followed Hector on three lines, an 18, 19 and then a 27/28+. The 28 looks fantastic! I cannot wait to try it again someday. The first line I led was really hard, 30+ at least. Ended up aiding it. I think that Hilton and Ian called it a 22 A1. It is really cool. I loved it. I think that it will be best to boulder out the beginning, possibly 7C/+, into easy climbing above. FANTASTIC. Sunday was much better for me, I was feeling much more comfortable on the rock. I tried a crack called Aqua Balls (22) but I couldn't manage it. Truth be told, it's not my style and it hurt my hands a lot. Tape would be great for next time. Afterward, I managed to flash a 20 and a 21. Both are absolutely amazing climbs. The 21, Prelude to Luca, is a long route, 35m of crack. First is offwidth, then fingers, then fist jams! Don't use all your #3s too early or you'll end up running it out for 5m+ like me before you can place something bigger. Nothing smaller will go either. The topout is also a lot of fun as you bust through the roof with interesting jams and a heel hook!

Aqua Balls (22)

Hector, Ian and myself

I was really shaken up after the days in cracks. My left wrist really took some strain. So much so that I had to see a doctor about it. Turns out that I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in my left wrist and the recommended recourse is surgery. I'll let that one slide for as long as I possibly can, that's for sure.

Wednesday Flex and I headed off to Boven, climbed Jabs twice in the cold and wet weather. Thursday was also frigid, cold enough that I was definitely not taking off my shirt, needed to wear thermal pants too. I wasn't really feeling on top of my game, did two attempts which were frustrating. I was feeling pretty bleak and didn't think I was in a sending mode. I ended up taking a third go which I was gonna use as training.

I quickly moved through the lower crux but my fingers were cold and sore. I sat in the double kneebar, kept my hands under my armpits and in my elbows to rewarm them. After a minute or two I moved on, did the next few moves effortlessly, clipped the crux draw and came back to the jugs below. I shook out for a minute, focused deeply and moved into the crux. Double undercling, left hand to lower sidepull, right foot up, bounce the left hand to the higher sidepull with the thumb catch, move the right foot, right hand to the really small hold, move the right foot on to the face, left hand to the micro, left foot to the decent hold (don't lose your balance), left hand again, right foot, left hand stab to the slot! GOT IT! Keep on moving, don't let go! Move through the clip, move through the underclings, catch the jug after the traverse! WOoHOo! Fantastic, now if my hands are just able to hold on to the frozen holds. I recovered some steam and then forced my way to the top. I was very happy to reach the finish holds. I almost fell off twice because it was horribly cold, wasn't even pumped but it was a journey. I didn't find the route that hard overall. It was really fun and I'm glad it only took 14 attempts.

I ran up Hell Yeah (27) afterward. Was great climbing, just too bad it has all those massive ledges on it.

Rest day on Friday.

Saturday, tried Backcountry Butcher (31), got butchered. Flex send Jabberwocky. I onsighted African Rain (26) later that day and then tried to climb Rodan (34). Didn't make it to the chains on this attempt and had to cheat my way to the top on Sunday to clean it. Was feeling a bit unmotivated but this all changed when I flew up Rude Bushman (24) and then got on Strata (32). Fran was belaying me on my first try and a big piece of rock broke at the first bolt and whacked her on the head. I felt horrible but it was just a bump and she is fine. I worked out the moves for Strata in two goes, apart from 2m of climbing but I am pretty sure I have a good idea how to do it. I'm very excited. The route is very fun and atypical of Boven. Great stuff.

Monday I managed to do some training at the boulder cave. I set myself a really hard boulder problem. I can do the moves, but after it gets to around 15 moves, the power-endurance starts to run out. I did some campus training too.

Did one or two 1-4-7 moves with my right hand. I can touch the middle of the plank with my left hand but could not get the fingers over the top of it. It is really just a matter of time. I am really enjoying my time on plastic, it is making me quite a bit stronger.