loads of climbing this weekend

This weekend was a seriously rad climb-athon. Owl Tor Saturday, Echo Sunday. Actually, the Tor kinda sucked because I put in 3 more burns on Atreyu (5.13b) and was spit off 3 more times. But Elijah, wasn’t Saturday the seventh day this season you were slapped off the last move of Atreyu? Why yes, I believe it was. No one’s more bummed than me, believe it – I would like very much to send that route straight back to hell. It’ll have to wait. It might have to wait a very long time if the weather turns, as typically happens in January. And honestly, I wouldn’t mind that much. For letting Atreyu get in my head like this I deserve to spend a couple months thinking about what I’ve done, or not done. My relationship with this route has grown out of control. It subtly planted this seed of doubt between success on Hard Boiled (5.13b) and redpoint ambition for Strictly Ballroom (5.14a?). If not for Atreyu, I might be generally content with my climbing progress this season, or be feeling good about my recovery from last year’s hospital incident. If not for this one unresolved item, I could be strutting around with an unbearable arrogance about me. So thank you, route from hell. Thanks for keeping me grounded in thoughts of my own inadequacy. Perhaps everyone should have an Atreyu in their life. Or maybe I should change it’s name to White Whale. What I should really do is get my ass to the chains so I can quit whining.
Enough. Sunday was rad. Sunday was truly a rad climbing day. I gave Echo Cliffs another chance. My last visit to this gem of the Santa Monica hills was with Phil, like 6 years ago, as I was going through this odd condition with one of my arms where any climbing whatsoever made it instantly pumped and effectively unusable. Well, I hated the place anywayz. We got on Buried Treasure (5.12d), which I thought, along with the crag in general, sucked in an indefensible way. Specifically, the hike sucked, the rock sucked, whatever work was done to manufacture the routes sucked, and it was too hot. On my return visit, it was still hot, but I saw the place in a new light. The hike still sucked but the routes I got on were brilliant. And I felt pretty good. Daniel Kovner and Jaime Neilson showed me around. As I know from bitter experience, climbing with folks you like is half the fun. Dan and Jaime, whom I met for the first time that day, are super rad. After warming up on some OK-ish 5.10d, we got on No Remorse (5.13b). SUPER RAD. Dan sent the thing last season and looked proud on it Sunday despite his recent return to fitness from an elbow dislocation. After watching Dan’s moves, Jaime and I bolt-to-bolted it. Then I got on a second time to one-fall it. Well, kinda one-fall it – in an effort to not pee my pants at the top, I two-fingered the cold shuts to clip the rope. I know, I know. As if I hadn’t climbed to exhaustion already, Jaime gets on Immaculate (5.12a), flashes it, pulls the rope and hands it to me. So I gotta flash the thing or I’m thinking Dan and Jaime will figure out I’m this turbo-wanker. So I flash it. And leave my last ounce of dignity up there. We finished the day on Shiva (512c). Again, very rad route. Cleaning it: not so rad. I would like to get back on her when it’s not dark. I would also like to scramble the 45 minutes back to the car with a headlamp.
Maybe Saturday’s Tor session wasn’t a total loss. I put in some good Hilti work on my new route: 4 new holds, like something the lord made. Progress on this new testpiece is going swimmingly.
Oh yeah, and Andy cranked. He decided not to flail with me, opting instead to send both No Skill (5.12c) and The Natural (5.12c) for his first time. Success like that is rare at the Tor. She’ll remember Andy’s indiscretion, for which we will all pay.

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