What would have been my seventh consecutive Saturday of the season projecting Hard Boiled at Mr. Lee’s turned into my first day at Owl Tor. No complaints here – I frickin’ love the Tor (and by ‘love’ I mean ‘love/hate’). Truth be told, I was a little disappointed because I had spent the previous week working myself in to a nervous redpoint frenzy in anticipation of a day on my project. On the other hand, I passionately loathe my project. Phil, Paul, Brian and myself met Chris at the Tor. The gate across the road leading to the Tor, then on to Mr. Lee’s, was closed due to ‘Fire Danger’. It was raining and, though I am a responsible patron of our public lands, decided along with everyone else this was an inappropriate declaration by our natural resource custodians. The sign stated no one was to enter these lands, whether in a vehicle or on foot. Probably this is a symptom of the wildfires ravaging Southern California and the commitment of resources to that cause. But it was raining, we’re responsible folks, we really wanted to climb… So, we parked outside and walked to the cliff. The Tor is a 10 minute walk in this scenario while Mr. Lee’s is attained only after about an hour. Walking is not my thing, nor is it Phil’s. Owl Tor it would be.
First things first, Brian sent Power of Eating. Redpoints at Owl Tor are a big deal. Power of Eating is not the most glamorous route on the wall, and some will marginalize Brian for this reason, but I’m as proud of this redpoint as any I’ve seen. Brian performed exactly as I expected. The thing is, my expectations are ridiculous. He dispatched this route very quickly – third day on I believe, first day of the season, fourth attempt of the day. To redpoint on the fourth go, refusing to leave the cliff without the send, takes massive motivation. I have never sent anything noteworthy after my second attempt of the day. Four redpoint burns is epic.
Meanwhile, Phil, Chris and I got on Better Than Life. It’s been a while since any of us have redpointed it but we all looked strong, I felt. Although, Phil and Chris looked far better than I. It was motivating to get on a route as hard as Better Than Life, the hardest route Phil and I have ever sent, and feel as strong as I felt, and see Phil perform as well as he did. Chris, of course, dominated. But he’s Austrian.
Paul top-roped Chips Ahoy. I was psyched to see him finally get on Chips. This is the Tor’s version of Smith Rock’s Churning In the Wake, the introduction to hard climbing here. Chips climbs in a style similar to Better Than Life and Strictly Ballroom. I won’t say a person can’t send those harder adjacent routes without Chips under their belt, but it would be difficult. While he was working it I tried not to say anything. I’m of the theory that whatever I say, Paul will do the opposite. He seemed to not hate the route. There was no flood of love for Chips though. I think there are other routes in the world he likes better.
Anyways, my weight was down to 190 lbs this day. Next week’s theme: lose more weight. It helps. I know it.