Saturday, July 23, 2011

The First Week in Rocklands

Rocklands! Such a beautiful place. I've never seen so much potential for hard bouldering as I see here. The problems here are often very sharp or at least very coarse on the skin. This first week has been such a hard adjustment to me. I'm used to walking up to 7C and crushing in a few hours. In the first week I haven't been able to achieve a single send above 7B. I think that it is possible that I tried to walk up to the boulders and push too hard too fast. As a result my skin started to suffer from the first day and I've been playing catch up ever since.

A small panorama of the campsite

The drive was an epic. We drove along the N12 until the Google Gods told us to turn. James and I quickly remarked at how cool the drive was and the road was in such great condition. 30km later we found out why: they had just laid the road and we were all out of luck. We had only 500km left to drive but the next 130km would be on dirt, with no cell reception. I quietly panicked in my head thinking, "Oh shit! Oh shit!" We hadn't seen a road sign in an hour and I was thinking we were out all this way on a dirt road and were going to have to back track. Fortunately we had just filled the tank in the last town so fuel wouldn't be an issue. We plodded on and eventually discovered we were actually on the right road, according to Google. At the next town we found a tarred road, cell signal and the GPS was back online. After debating at a crossroad for a few minutes we figured it out and were back on track. We drove on for another two hours before hitting the turnoff to Clanwilliam. I was excited. Only 140km left. 100km of which turned out to be dirt and relatively slow. It all paid off when I saw the De Pak Huis sign. The steak dinner in town was well earned for my 16 hours of driving.

Our campsite with Matt and Rachelle

The first day was really awesome. We headed up to the Fortress with Benji. Warmed up with a quick send of an project of mine (from 3 years ago when I was still a little boy), Colin the Librarian which is quite a tough 7A. After that I fell flat on my face trying the 8A extension: Fat Eagles Can't Fly. Benj told me not to worry, it's really hard and he hadn't been able to figure it out either. Up next was Stargate (7C+). I struggled with a crossover so found different beta to avoid it. This made me happy, but left me suffering on the next moves. I think I was really tired still from the epic drive. I was psyched to try Stretched and Pressed (7C+). I did the finish move really easily, first try so I thought that the problem would go down really quickly. I was wrong. The Rack (7B) had a really tough sequence for me that I couldn't wrap my body around for the better part of and hour-and-a-half. First time I made it through the move I made it to the top out move but I was too tired now and couldn't manage the mantle, a skill which I would soon realize to be quite good at...

Me sending The Rack (7B)

Day two spent trying Cedar Spine (7C), Last Day in Paradise (7C) and Ulan Batar (7B+) with no success on any. By the way: Last day in Paradise is razors in a roof: tape or perish. I completely dorked the beta on Cedar Spine and was really tired by the time I got to Ulan Batar. All in all, it was a learning experience. I did manage to fight my way up a 6C called Demi Loon though.

James on Last Day In Paradise

Day three: rest! A trip to town for shopping was in order. Jonathan, Robbie, Matt, Rachelle, James and myself all climbed into my car and went to town. The nightmare came to light when we tried to pack everyone into the car with groceries afterward! I was very happy to be driving.

Day four: Champsite and Riverside. Matt and Benji did Kingdom in the Sky (7C) at Champsite very quickly. It is an awesome problem with decent crimps for fingers and horrible footholds. My skin was still not happy even after the rest day. I managed to flash a 6C+ slab called Lisa. This was fun. At Riverside I jumped on Au Bord De L'eau (8A) with Benji. Very cool problem that revolves around two monos in a nearly flat roof. I love it! The holds are very coarse so I'll need to go back when I have some more skin. White Mazda Clan (7C+) was the last thing I tried. I could do most of the moves and I think I did it pretty much in overlapping sections except for the final move which I didn't manage till later.

Me, Rachelle and Benji on Kingdom in the Sky (7C)

Day five: Plateau. I woke up early and went up to the Plateau. I did a bunch of easier boulders for warmup, onsighting a bunch of 6B+. I was on my own so I only had 2 pads with me and no spotter. It was kinda nice though, I missed being up early in the morning and being psyched. No one else in the campsite is really a morning person. I moved over to Minki (7B), worked out the beta and sent it. Went back to Poison Dwarf (7B) and worked out the moves. Couldn't send it in the morning session though as the finish was in the sun. Got it really quickly in the afternoon session though.

Day six: Back to the Champsite and Riverside for some sending action well, other people's sending action. I managed a 7A which had a really tough mantle to start off the day, then Rach sent Kingdom in the Sky. Benji crushed Au Bord De L'eau! I was psyched. I got back on White Mazda and did all the moves this time and got in some good links but it wasn't gonna happen on my third day on.

Day seven: Rest. I went for a 5km run in the morning to go visit Benji at the Hen House and then went into town again to do a grocery shop. Matt and Rach left this morning for Cape Town with Arjan so the campsite is feeling a little empty. It was great having them there. Matt and Rachelle are such great people, so psyched and so much fun to be around...

Day eight: Fields of Joy! I love them! So awesome! Warmed up on a 5C/6A slab which was fantastic. Then did Panic Room Direct (7B) second go. Worked on Macho King (7C+) with Paulo and Michele Caminati, the super strong Italian we've all seen in CORE. We all spent about two hours working out beta and getting it dialed in. Michele then sent the problem and they headed down the mountain. I tried to flash Barracuda Rail (7B) but failed on the last move. Oh well, moved down to No Late Tenders (7C+) where I met an awesome American couple. Mike managed to send in a while and Becky worked on Dirty Lies (7A+) which is really fun too. I fell off the finish jugs on my flash when my foot slipped. DUMB ASS! Oh well.

Today: I got my ass kicked on Who The Fuck is Minki (7C) couldn't get my heel to stick on the inside sloper. Gave up and then tried Throw Yourself Away (7C+). I was psyched to be able to do all the moves in 5 minutes and do overlapping links right off the bat. I might hit it for a late afternoon session if the pads are back by then. Benji nearly flashed it and Joe Mohle crushed it first try today. GOOD FUN. Well, wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! Good luck my love. Missing you loads!