video evidence

I got some videos of Andy and Micah sending stuff at Owl Tor last weekend. Footage from these first two is a little shaky because my legs were falling asleep in my harness. And the wind was blowing me around kind of a lot. To get these angles is somewhat involved.

Micah redpointing When the Sea Doesn’t Want You (5.12a):
Micah on The Sea from Elijah Ball on Vimeo.

Andy redpointing Anchor Punch (5.12a):
Andy on Anchor Punch from Elijah Ball on Vimeo.

Andy redpointing Auto Magic (5.12a):
Andy on Auto Magic from Elijah Ball on Vimeo.

faces of death

We got some good photos at the Tor last Saturday, with some rad expressions. Andy’s looking like the Lord of the Forest.

Andy on Hell of the Upside Down Sinners (5.12b):

Me on the long move at the top of Atreyu (5.13b). I didn’t make it this time:


Micah topping out the Tor via Power of Eating (5.11d):

back on familiar ground

Last week I finished Hard Boiled, so this week we returned to Owl Tor. I missed her. She’s even better than I remembered. I spent 3 weeks back at Mr. Lee’s, the last 2 never going to the Tor. But things are back to normal now. I went with Andy and Micah. Phil was dealing with the aftermath of the Tea Fire, Santa Barbara’s latest installment of epic wildfire nastiness. I got on Atreyu (5.13b). Phil hates that name. I got it from The Never Ending Story, which I feel is appropriate because it climbs like the never ending route. As long as Phil hates it, I will never stop calling it Atreyu. He’s probably voting for something stupid that’s friggin’ 9 words long and references some obscure Chinese film that only he and 3 other rippers have ever watched. Anywayz, Atreyu blew my mind with how good it is. At the end is a big throw to a crimp two moves from the chains. That really makes things exciting. I’m seriously way psyched on it and can’t wait to get back there this Saturday. Oh, and I got on Shatter Hand. It still sucks.

da numbers:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) – redpoint
  2. Auto Magic (5.12a) – redpoint
  3. Atreyu (5.13b) – 1 take at the last clip
  4. Atreyu – 1 fall at the long move up top
  5. Shatter Hand (5.12d) – bolt-to-bolt
  6. Shatter Hand – 1 take at the last clip

first water, more fun

Swimming was pretty good today. I concentrated on finding a good rythm in my freestyle.

da numbers:

  • 200m easy free
  • 3 x 200m free @ 4:00
    • coming in between 3:30-3:35
    • not real fast but smooth and felt manageable
  • 100m easy pull w/ paddles
  • 200m fly kick

total distance: 1100m

first water, rad

I don’t know what happened this morning. I just wanted to swim hard for some reason. Clearly, I didn’t want to swim fast. Just hard. For the first time in a while I had to stop before something, maybe bad, happened. Or should I say, before having an epiphany in the pool, before breaking in to a realm of enlightenment. I don’t know, but I can tell you my face was so friggin hot I was glad to be in the water just so I could cool it down and my back is on the verge of a record-breaking cramp-athon. Honestly, I could have puked. And that would be embarrassing in Los Banos del Mar. Not to say I haven’t puked in a pool before. I have. Just not that pool. I don’t think they’re ready for that.
da numbers:

  • 200m easy free
  • 300m free
    • time: 5:12
    • went hard, meant to do a 400 but lost count
  • 400/300/200/100m (without the 100m)
    • 0:00 – 400m free
      • time: 7:07, went hard
    • 8:00 – 300m free
      • time: 5:35, feeling pretty tired at this point
    • 14:00 – 200m free
      • time: 3:40, just trying not pass out here
    • couldn’t keep going, skipped the 100m
  • 100m easy pull w/ paddles
  • 200m fly kick

total distance: 1700m

first water, better

So, at least I counted right today. I’m able to record a time for 1000m instead of 900m. Things felt OK. A straight 1000m freestyle is kinda hard for me so just to get through it is good, let alone record a better time than last week. I would like to get my time down to 17:30 fairly soon, making 100m splits 1:45 on average. In the more distant future, this should be 1:30 splits, coming in at 15:00 for 1000m. That seems respectable.
da numbers:

  • 1000m free
    • time: 18:12
  • 400m fly kick

total distance: 1400m

first water, learning to count

I didn’t feel ultra-good this morning. Things were just OK. I’m nursing this shoulder thing and generally did not have the Eye of the Tiger for the straight 1000m freestyle I had scheduled for today. And stupidly, I lost count and ended up doing a 900m free instead. So, I’m not counting today. It used to be if I lost count I would start over, counting that is, not the swim. My punishment this time: do it again tomorrow. And try not to fuck it up this time.
da numbers:

  • 900m free
    • came in @ 16:40 – not blistering pace, about the same as last week’s 1000m free in 18:30.
  • 300m fly kick

total distance: 1200m

Hard Boiled, done

I redpointed Hard Boiled (5.13b) yesterday. Rad. Rad that I never have to get on her again. Actually, I had a good time this season. Probably that’s because I was prepared. Last season I spent 18 days trying to redpoint. This season I sent after eight attempts over 3 days. Yesterday’s redpoint happened first go of the day, by far my strongest go on Hard Boiled ever. Success was imminent, each consecutive day way better than the previous, which makes repointing relatively non-stressful.
Details of the final go are kinda fuzzy. I remember hitting the pinch after the crux fairly confidently, knowing this was significant, feeling good but more tired than usual since this was my first time through the crux from the ground (this season anyway), sort of confidently moving through the next few moves until the last, where I almost pitched off backwards reaching to the clipping jug, hitting a wall mid-pull on the final move. Dramatic. I had moved not quickly but efficiently, confidently up to the crux, better than ever before, and rested longer than usual at the second undercling, again at the next 3-finger, at the 2-finger after the crux, and finally at the left-hand sidepull before the right-hand crimp before the clipping jug. Good pace and good resting plan, I felt.
This was not chance. This was the result of good preparation for Hard Boiled. I had lots of time to think about her. Despite the grade, I feel she is uniquely difficult to redpoint – just ask Chris or Bob. Yeah, she’s a bitch.
Today is about 8 months since I got out of the hospital. While I was laid up in those rad reclining beds I thought there would be no way I could climb even near my previous level within the year, that ambitiously 12 months would go by before I even looked at my nemesis of a route again. If ever. And believe me, I thought about Hard Boiled specifically. It was hard not to with Phil and crew bringing her up all the time. So, this was better than I expected, which doesn’t happen often, and rarely is something I’ll feel good about. Congratulating oneself is not good, I feel. Climbing for me, and maybe living in general, is motivated more by an aversion to failure than an ambition to succeed. But I’m concentrating on the positive this time: sending Hard Boiled at all, and especially in such short time, has me looking back at the training I did right, instead of wondering what went wrong.
In other news, I got on Hans’ Bodyguard from Beijing (5.14a) on Saturday. H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T. That thing is way hard. And by ‘way hard’ I mean friggin’ hyper-hard. It’d probably be good for me to get on Bodyguard some more but Phil has me convinced I should start going to Owl Tor again, to spend the rest of the season putting up a new route there. He’s right, I think. It’ll be good to get back to her.