rOcktober

I suck at poker because I never play. So I suppose I can’t say for sure that I suck at poker. But anything one can be good at without practicing is stupid. Although, I can think of stuff that’s stupid even if one practices it religiously. Anyways. It is my understanding a poker player can produce an advantage by stashing extra cards up his sleeve. When the time comes this player will augment his hand with a choice card, thereby stacking the odds against an opponent. Using this as a metaphor for my situation with my project at Mr. Lee’s I will say I have no more cards up my sleeve. That is, I’m hosed. I’m playing fair from here on out and the odds are certainly not in my favor. Of all the cards a climber may sneak into his hand while sitting across the table from his big project I have played them all. I suffered early-season volume days to set up a strong taper, I committed twenty-something days this season to dialing in beta, weather throughout the year has been extraordinarily good, weather last weekend was the best of the year, I’ve stayed healthy… All this amounted to about 18-inches of progress on Saturday. Now I’m trying to read my project’s tell and I think he’s holding a straight. Not cool, destiny. Now I’m playing even odds. Buddhist Palm WAS against the ropes. I’ve been laying into him with heavy hands for five rounds. He should be coughing blood but he’s whispering at me through his gloves like, “is that all you got?” And, yeah, that’s all I got. Now I’m exactly where I didn’t want to be. The climbing season’s ticking away and I’m locked in a war of attrition. There’s no hail Mary play in the works. The tactic now is to battle every inch between here and chains – the slow fight; the most tedious and miserable way to send.

things (and stuff)

I didn’t have super great video of Micah campusing when I posted the last time, which was a shame because he was campusing way hard. Now that he’s laid up in the hospital again he’s found time to forward me this:

That’s 1-5-8 then 1-6-bump-7. There’s been some issue lately regarding proper dimensions on campus boards. The spacing is 22cm. That’s TWENTY-TWO CENTIMETERS (aka: THE STANDARD). Fairness cuts both ways so I will say the rungs he’s on are big, the biggest I’ve ever been on, and they’re huge. I believe this was shot on Micah’s iStoopid so excuse the “quality”.

He also reminded of this:

…and that Dre accomplished the hardest female ascent at Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong when she cranked out Sea of Love (12c) in May:

I hate saying ‘female ascent’ but my thoughts on the topic are not yet fully formed so I will not articulate them at this time. Regardless, Dre is a rad climber and her hair is super long.

Phil and I were at Mr. Lee’s last weekend. Again. Projecting Buddhist Palm. Again. Motivation is proving a rare commodity as I approach this season’s twentieth day of work. Yeah.

the week in training

My spring climbing season is going approximately as planned. I’m campusing decently, bouldering sufficiently and have managed to put in a few good days on Strictly. Saturday was my sixth day of the season at Owl Tor and my third day on this year’s redpoint route of focus, for which the campusing and bouldering is supposed to provide adequate power. I burned three attempts on the lower section of Strictly Ballroom and two from the ledge to the top, strategically splitting the route into two obvious sections. I’m still concerned with the difficulty of the mono to the crimp at the first bolt, although this day I made progress, hitting the crimp maybe three times. It’s going to take more than a few more hard days of work before I’m approaching legitimate redpoint burns. On a positive note, my timing has coincided perfectly with Lizard mating season. After making moves on a local lady, this guy dominated my shoe.

From Wednesday’s session at the Shed, 1-4-7 on the mediums:

The campus board at the Shed is built to standard specifications: rungs are spaced 22cm, 15-degrees overhanging. The left rungs are the only set to come from a manufacturer – Metolius mediums. The right two sets are my own creation and are considerably smaller.

And for some Thursday climbing action, Micah and I went to Upper Gibraltar to get on a couple of the most mediocre routes in town. This photo is of Micah leading A Route Runs Through It (5.10c) with his pack on to facilitate a quick exit in fading light.

the first day of the rest of my life

Saturday was my first day of the season on Strictly Ballroom. She’s still an angry route. So much anger. Things went OK though, I think. I expected it to be hard. My biggest concern at this point is the mono move at the first bolt. The start is about V9 to the second bolt, I would guess. The crux of this section involves a mono to a bad crimp that I’ve never actually done. Beginning a project on which I haven’t done all the moves is a bit ambitious. But that’s alright – I expected this. The rest of the route isn’t so bad. From the second bolt to the chains is probably 13c, so after a good rest I expect it’s manageable. My two-finger strength felt good. There’s two two-finger pockets at the start and three consecutive two-finger pockets higher up that comprise some hard sequences. All five two-finger pockets felt about how I thought they would, which is to say good, considering I usually think moves will feel better than they actually end up feeling. All in all, it’s hard for me to make a prediction for my chances at a redpoint. This is a new level of difficulty for me. The really interesting part is: I know I can redpoint, but I probably won’t. Physically, there’s no doubt I can adapt. Throw in other factors like the stress of pushing back the inside of my performance envelope every training day, while at the same time staving off injury, and I don’t know… maybe.

commence Operation Don’t Suck

I’m back from a one week trip to Henderson, Nevada for my bi-yearly commitment to bettering myself professionally, namely the CCIE written exam, and I’m fully focused now on the coming summer’s climbing goals, that is: don’t suck. This weekend saw a refreshingly populous crew of Santa Barbara locals for the season’s third day at Owl Tor. We included Justin, Andy, Skip, and myself. Micah, Elhanan, and Phil were noticeably absent. They each cited respective excuses – Micah’s benched with shoulder issues, Phil was in Vegas, Elhanan is fat – like the Tor cares. The Tor remembers these indiscretions with the intention of jarring our memories in December, as the monsoon season steals any opportunities for progress, so that we may realize why we’ve failed on our projects. She reminds us we have indeed failed and who we may blame for that. Surprise, Tor: we’re already failing and it’s only April. I’m too old for this. I’m going to push hard for a redpoint on Strictly Ballroom this spring. One of us is going to lose here. Either I’ll clip chains despite Owl Tor’s best attempts to maim me, or I’ll flail pitifully for 7 months at Central California’s answer to Mordor. Whichever the outcome, I’m ramping up for an entertaining go of it, and so is everyone else. Justin redpointed Auto Magic on his second day of work this season, his second season climbing; Andy did 11 laps; and Skip is squeezing blood from mud. I had one good burn on BTL then flailed the rest of the day.

da routes:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) – redpoint
  2. When the Sea Doesn’t Want You (5.12a) – redpoint
  3. Chips Ahoy (5.12d) – redpoint
  4. Better Than Life (5.13c) – ground to the sidepull after the 3-finger after the fifth bolt
  5. Shatter Hand (5.12d) – fell at the last draw, worked out the top
  6. White Cougar (5.12b) – falls at the top
  7. Auto Magic (5.12a) – redpoint
  8. Anchor Punch (5.12a) – 1 fall
  9. When the Sea Doesn’t Want You (5.12a) – 1 fall

off to a good start

Day 2 of Owl Tor season was also my second day of the year on Better Than Life. I basically did what I wanted to, which was climb from the ground to the hueco at the fifth bolt. I’ve got my eye on Strictly Ballroom this season and I know no amount of training will be too much. This is the time to push hard on routes selected to prepare me for the work ahead.

da routes:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) – redpoint
  2. When the Sea Doesn’t Want You (5.12a) – redpoint
  3. Chips Ahoy (5.12d) – redpoint
  4. Better Than Life (5.13c) – 1 fall after clipping the fifth bolt at the hueco
  5. Shatter Hand (5.12d) – fell right after the last clip, then worked out the top moves; not my favorite route
  6. White Cougar (5.12b) – fell at the long move after the last clip, then worked around at the top; this route is not brilliant (I’m sorry, Steve – don’t hate me cuz you’re beautiful)
  7. Anchor Punch (5.12a) – redpoint
  8. When the Sea Doesn’t Want You – redpoint

the crankmuffin conspiracy

Climbing nuggets need a name, so I took action:

Thanks for your definition of crankmuffin!
There’s one more step: click this link to review and confirm the definition.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/confirm.php?code=036d194bde
(If the link is not underlined, you may have to copy and paste it into your web browser.)
If you didn’t request this email, please ignore it.
Urban Dictionary

But it seems the old garde at Urban Dictionary had other plans:

Thanks for your definition of crankmuffin!
Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to not publish it.
To get a better idea of what editors publish and reject, sign up as an Urban Dictionary Editor here: http://editor.urbandictionary.com/
Urban Dictionary
—–
crankmuffin
A crankenfrank’s (crankenstein’s) biatch. See also: crankenstein
Obviously that crankenfrank’s crankmuffin has a humongous badonkadonk.

Not cool, editors.

It was me and Phil at the Tor Saturday. We’ve really come full circle. After an uncharacteristically populous season at Santa Maria’s finest crag, it is Phil and me, once again, as the keepers of the flame. Yeah, I said it – you all let a good cliff down – Elhanan, Andy, Justin, Micah, Andree, Skip, etc… Don’t think the Tor didn’t notice. You played right in to her hands and now she laughs. Who now will send her projects? Feel bad.

I had a good burn on Better Than Life, which made me feel pretty good about the first day of the season.

da routes:

  1. Power of Eating (5.11d) – redpoint
  2. When the Sea Doesn’t Want You (5.12a) – redpoint
  3. Chips Ahoy (5.12d) – redpoint
  4. Better Than Life (5.13c) – 2 falls. I took first at the fourth bolt, so that’s from the ground to just before the throw to the hueco. I’m pleased with that for day one.
  5. Shatterhand (5.12d) – A bunch of falls. This route still sucks.
  6. Anchor Punch (5.12a) – A bunch of falls. At this point, I’m done.

wild thing, you make my fingers sing

My fingers are crying. They’ve been in pain all week from last weekend’s Joshua Tree excursion. And I’ll be returning to JTree today. I’ve left a project there: Desert Shield. This will be the first time I make the three hour drive two weekends in a row, so I’m hoping for some magic. Realistically though, a redpoint probably isn’t in the cards, but if Colonel Sanders had thought like that, we wouldn’t have KFC now would we? I also want to finish Avant Chain, perhaps the most painful 12a I’ve ever seen – my skin can hardly contain its excitement.

Last night I climbed with Justin and Kristy and Andy and Marcela and Bob and Lala and Tuto at Lizard’s Mouth. It was pretty good. Andy did the sit start to Gangsta Hippie and a couple rad-looking problems on the Top ‘o the World, Ma boulder. He looked strong. Justin and I spent most of our time on Gangsta Hippie – I did it twice but could not motivate for the sit start. It was cold up there, which seemed to suck everyone’s motivation. Afterwards, I drove to the Shed and campused for ~90 minutes. Campusing went alright, certainty an improvement over last week, as my focus was on technique – no more swinging around like a slapper. There’s just no use in squirming your way up stuff, I feel. If I’m going to finish a boulder problem or a campus move, I want to know I arrived there because I pulled harder, not because I lunged more femininely. Anywayz, that’s what I thought about while campusing yesterday, and I feel better for it.