Friday, September 30, 2011

Reclaiming My Endurance!

My poor fingers...
The last two weeks have been a lot of fun. Started off with a day trip to eZemvelo on the Saturday. Finally closed off a 7C low ball called The Deadly Mosquito. Repeated Animal Planet as well. Did a direct version of the problem seeing as most of the good holds had broken off since I'd last been on it. If I had to guess, it was probably the first ascent since the breaks. I gave Herman a tour of the place so that he could actually have some good lines to hit in the future instead of being confused as to where all the cool lines were. In the process, I repeated Meteor, did an awesome dyno and investigated some of the grades of past lines. We felt that a lot of the lines needed downgrading...

King Kong should be 7B+ (low in the grade)
Third Reflection 7A+
Second Reflection 7B
Where's Willis 7B
Animal Planet Direct 7B+ (low in grade)
Dragons and Shrooms 6C+
7 Biatch 7A
Electroshock Therapy 6C+
Spork 7A+

Well, that concludes some thoughts about the boulders...

NOW on to the exciting stuff...

The Boven Rock Rally Weekend...

I arrived early in the week with the intention of getting all my endurance back. Started off on the Monday by doing Freak On (24) and trying Just Behrly (28/30+).

Tuesday was fun too, did an ascent of Dungeons and Dragons (26) as a warm up in the worst possible style. Afterwards I fought like a cat trying to get out of a bathtub on an attempt on Jack of all Trades (30). I did manage to hold on tight and do it in two parts. Later in the day I put up draws on Lab Rat (32/33) and then pointed Lotters Desire (28), also in the worst form possible while forgetting all the foot sequences.

Wednesday we went down to the Coven. I did a bunch of lines, but most notably I tried God Of Small Things (31) which I found really confusing. I had a really hard time between two of the bolts, I flat out couldn't figure it out. The rest of the route seems easy enough, I think I just need to bone down on some of the crimps. After that I did Devil in the Cauldron (28) second go. It was fun. Really should have flashed it, but I dorked the first move! Stupid...

Thursday I hit Tugela Blue (27). I hate this route, it is a pain to clean and a pain to climb. I suffered with rope drag on my first go (like usual), and almost ended up stripping the draws (like usual). But I stuck with it and cruised it on my second attempt and figured out an intelligent way to clean it, well, I simply cleaned it as I climbed the lower part of the route (first 5 draws at least). Later in the day, I fought a bunch with Lab Rat trying to figure out the moves some more. I managed to get them all together, save two. Tough little bugger. 7C+ boulder crux into 7B boulder crux with a crappy rest in between.

Friday I drove through to Barberton to see Yvette, spent the afternoon with her. I was supposed to be resting but didn't have luck with that as I ended up climbing for the night session of the Rock Rally. The Ausies, Alex, Wes, Allan and Gus spent a bunch of time setting up the lighting for the event. It was done really well. Totally transformed the crag! I warmed up on Freak On and then crushed Monster (29). It was great fun! It inspired Brendon and Gustav to put up a photo shoot for me later on...

Brendon Salzer Photography: God No! at night 
Brendon Salzer - God No! at night

 Saturday: the Rock Rally. I didn't participate, but what I did do was a lot of fun. Brendon Salzer volunteered to come and take pics and video of me on Pit Fighter (31). Pit Fighter is a seriously tough and sharp, 5-bolt route on the Rubik's Cube Boulder opened by Andrew Pedley. I never really have been too keen on the line, but after being in Rocklands for 6 weeks I have the finger strength and power to enjoy the line. Brendon got some awesome pics...

Closing the open-handed hold
The cross over at the chains!
After I was done at Pit Fighter with Brendon and Colin, we got a bite to eat and then headed down to God No! for some training. I did two laps on Jack of All Trades, I fell off right before the first crux and then cruised to the top on my first go and on my second I slipped on the last move. Dorkage... To conclude the day I pointed Condor (27). Always fun.

PARTY... We had an awesome party that night... WOW.

Sunday was pure rest...I needed to recover from the party...

Monday morning I cleaned Pit Fighter and Lab Rat, coolest thing was doing all the moves on Lab Rat and doing really big links, now it's just a matter of time. After that I put the draws up on Godzilla for the night shoot!!! Gustav set up a very elaborate rigging system so that Brendon could shoot a movie of me on my attempt to climb Godzilla (32). I would like to say a big thanks to Alex Bester, who sat in that harness for hours on end acting as a giant weight with a bag of rocks attached to him. Big shout out to Brendon, Gustav, Max, Warren and the Ausies for all your help!

Brendon Salzer

Me on Godzilla (32) care of Gustav Janse van Rensburg

 Tuesday was the last day in Boven, I had to clean Godzilla. I was really tired. After that I went with Illona to Superbowl and she went up Snapdragon (29) but due to fatigue, I ended up cleaning it (and pointing it placing the last few draws). I have no idea how I did it, I was wiped out. Finally, I cleaned Raptophilia (32) for Illona, good times.

Well, that concludes the Rally wrap up. My fingers are still partial craters, but tomorrow might end up being Wigwam :) Good luck finger tips!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two Weeks Off...

Well sports fans! It's been two full weeks since I've done any climbing. What I have done has been a lot of work on my master's degree, a bit of horse riding, met some new friends, went to a new town. Good times.

Look at that pretty girl, she even appears twice!

Last weekend I spent with Yvette in Barberton. This was an absolutely fantastic experience. I met some of her med school friends with whom she is on a 6 week course with currently. Barberton is one of the prettiest areas around! Nearby is Kaapsehoop, which has some really awesome horse riding and a fantastic pancake shop! It also has some really sick bouldering, but that will have to happen some other time.Yvette and I rode horses for 2 hours on the Saturday! It was fantastic to be there, to ride and to run too.

I did manage to make it out to eZemvelo yesterday... Felt sick strong! Boven is coming up this week, so I'm gonna be hitting Lab Rat and hopefully a few other really good lines. I need to work up my endurance again so I have a feeling that I'm gonna be on Godzilla, Monster and Jack of All Trades too just for fun.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Rocklands Round Up

Maniac (7B)... What a spot Caroline!!!!

That's what they look like when they are in good shape!

James Barnes on Feel the Flow (7C)

James crushing Black Spider (7B+)

Wow, it has really been more than a month since I posted on here... So much has happened, I've met so many people. I think that rather than giving you all a blow-by-blow of the trip I'm gonna tell you about the most important events, the highest highs and the lowest lows of the trip.

I guess I should probably start with Rockstock... That was quite a night. Justin Hawkins was wearing hotpants, singing along to Justin Bieber, it was really hysterical. Caroline Sino and the rest of the Spice Girls were having a good time, the Italian Mafia was out in their afros threatening grievous bodily harm, all-in-all it was great. Tequila was flowing, as was the jagermeister. The best part of the evening was getting to know everyone there just a little bit better.

Burger night at the Henhouse! Wow, there was a lot of wine, Jenga, human flag attempts on a slippery pole. Great night. Becky you are the best host!

My birthday was really fun... It was unplanned for the party part, but ended up going out for dinner with James, Joe and Colette that evening. It was really awesome to share the occasion with such great company. Michele, Stefano, Marco, Riccardo and Adam took me out for dinner another evening. It was really aweful service that night at De Kelder, but we made up for it with the company and the inexpensive wine...

Low points... Hmmm, there definitely were some. It was a crushing feeling to get there and have my skin get annihilated so quickly every day. I would rest properly and I would tape the fingers when necessary, but I found that no matter what I did, my skin was just too soft. I often would climb one day on and the rest one day just to let the skin grow. This was about the best strategy that I could employ to optimize my Rocklands experience.

My bouldering highlights were the days I spent working the hard lines, like Out Of Balance (8A), Nutsa (8A) and Wittness the Sickness (8A). I spent a lot of time on these problems and all of there were within my grasp, I just was not quite up to them. I also tried Green Mamba (8A) which wasn't too inspiring but Joe Kinder took some cool pics that illustrated my attempts...

Out of Balance (8A) was my major nemesis on this trip. I spent upwards of 5 days on it, climbing Question of Balance (7B) 8 or more times each session while trying to stick the crimp at the end of the boulder problem. It is amazing how easy that 7B became once the moves felt so wired in the brain. I struggled with the problem initially, as did James. It felt a lot closer to 7B+ than 7B, but when you get the body into the right position and the heel-toe cam in place, the moves all become very static.
Photos by Joe Kinder and Colette McInerney

An Amal Roof (7C) was a really fun problem, I did it the same day as Petit Heuco dan Rocklands (7B+). I repeated it first go after the break too. The first move was so much fun but I was really tired so it took me a long time to get it wired...

Photos by James Barnes

Nutsa (8A)! One of the classics in Rocklands. Here I am spotting Joe on his send... Thanks for the pic Colette!

One of my biggest accomplishments on this trip was Stretched and Pressed (7C+). I got on it on my first day of the trip and struggled severely with the big move on The Rack (7B), simply putting my feet in the wrong place time and time again. I was think I was just tired from the 16 hour drive the previous day. I fought for this one. Claimed it on my second day on the problem. Thanks Colette for the awesome photos!

Thanks Paolo Antoniotti for this awesome portrait from my first session on Stretched and Pressed!

I tried Ghost and the Darkness (7C+) during my last session at Sassies on my second to last day of climbing in Rocklands. I'm a little disappointed that I fell off on the last move and couldn't pull it back together for the send...

Awesome pic Colette!

Here's the ticklist:
Stretched and Pressed (7C+)
Throw Yourself Away (7C+) I injured my ankle badly while I was camming it in the roof. It caused me a great deal of pain for the rest of the trip and I am still not back to 100%. This is really irritating as I want to do the Shadowfax project (8b+?) but there is a right foot cam! Uggg.

An Amal Roof (7C)
The Bushoning (7C) okay, so maybe this isn't really 7C but it was still fun to do in 20 min.
Sunset Arete (7C) My first 7C in Rocklands
Cedar Spine (7C) perhaps the most amazing problem that I have ever done.
Last Day in Paradise (7C) Did this one and Cedar Spine on the same day, as did James Barnes!

Petit Heuco dan Rocklands (7B+) sweet roof climbing
Ulan Batar (7B+) I got this on my last day in Rocklands... It was an epic fight, that's for sure...
Bushmaster (7B+) flashed this, not really 7B+, more like 7A+.

Panic Room Direct (7B) dorked the first move and then cruised it second go... Don't be scared by the top out, I could do it in the sun.
Crazy Leg (7B) almost a flash! Overshot the dyno.
Minki (7B) pretty fun.
The Rack (7B) was my first 7B of the trip and it was a stupid fight...
Poison Dwarf (7B) GOOOOOOD problem!

Flashed Springbok (7A+) and Les Pieds dans L'eau (7A+) both were a lot of fun and seemed to happen quite effortlessly.

Beer Belly Bandit (7A) this is a slab arete! FREAKING HARD.
Maties (7A) flash
Sunset Traverse (7A) flash --> The ultimate warmup in the sun
Colin The Librarian (7A) first boulder problem in Rocklands...
Love Actually (7A)

Lisa (6C+) flashed the slab!

If there are two 6Cs you MUST do: Creaking Heights (flash) at Roadside and Perfect (on sight) at 8 Day Rain.

Then there are a lot of the lower grades, mostly onsights and flashes for warmups. If you want to read more about these problems look up my profile.

Once I got back from Rocklands, I wanted to see how I felt on a rope again. NOTE TO SELF: 6 weeks of bouldering wrecks your endurance. I would recommend doing some rope climbing in between all of the bouldering.

I managed to get out on the rock this week: went to the Lost World and did an awesome roof problem opened by Wesley Black called the Three Amigos. I'd imagine it is around 7C. The next day Illona and I hit the Chosspile where she was crushing on Fossil Fuel, this is one line that will get her back here! I worked out all the beta that I needed for Anduril (8a+) so hopefully I'll wrap that up tomorrow...