day 9

Day 9 on Hard Boiled. Three redpoint burns. Three falls at the crux. Whatever. Here she is, the object of my frustration:

me on Hard Boiled

And here’s Phil on Buddhist Palm:

Phil on Buddhist Palm

Thanks to Paul Dusatko for shooting these videos and putting them to rad music.

day 8

I’m not even going to try to think of clever titles for blog posts from now on. It’s just ‘day 8’ – the eighth day this season I have spent working Hard Boiled. Communists must love climbing routes. It’s cold, everything is blue/gray, everyone has serious expressions and rad facial hair, and at the end of the climbing day, before getting in line for communal potato soup, you get tattooed with a big government-standardized stamp marking your consecutive day attempting the same route you’ve been projecting since birth – ‘day 8000’.

I got on Hard Boiled four times on Saturday. That’s a lot. It felt like a lot. My middle 2 goes were redpoint burns and on both attempts I fell throwing out right to the crux crimp. Things felt better though. Every week is a little better than the week before. There’s a rythm I’m starting to feel and I’m changing little things like the speed of my footwork in the crux. Moving on the route is more natural and fluid. I feel a redpoint coming on. And I think my finger is getting better.

day 7

My seventh day of the season projecting Hard Boiled. I don’t know what to say about it. I’m where I thought I would be at this point. The only difference between this and my experience working Better Than Life is my attitude. This time I expected to suffer. So, whatever. Here it is. It sucks, obviously. But no more than usual. Which reminds me – big up to Phil Requist for introducing me to 5.13 sport climbing. I shouldn’t say that. Climbing routes is great. Honestly, what else would I be doing? And there’s a reward at the top of every route I work hard to redpoint. Probably this process builds character or some shit. It must do something. Every season gets a little easier. My capacity for suffering gets a little bigger every year around March. Suffering, I suppose, always happens before a meaningful accomplishment. Which brings me back to Saturday. About two-thirds of the way up a 5.13b in Santa Maria I found an opportunity to, once again, expand my capacity to suffer. My lesson in attrition begins after my left hand lands in a three-finger pocket twenty feet from the chains of Hard Boiled. Twice I got to this point. Twice I paused here to shake the lactic acid from my right arm, chalked up, got psyched, then reached right to a two-finger pocket. On two redpoint burns I reached that two-finger pocket with my right hand, reached far left to another two-finger pocket, and twice I fired at the first hold of the crux. This is where I fell twice. I can visualize hitting that next crimp. My vision of me firing through the crux section is clearer now. Basically, I believe I’m where I need to be to redpoint this season.

climbing is the new yoga

I’ve never done yoga before. Before last Friday, that is. The day before climbing at the Tor. Bad idea. Yoga kicked my ass. I don’t know what I was thinking. It must have been an arrogant moment when I thought I would jump in to this yoga class, dominate all their yoga stuff, then wake up the next day to crank at Santa Maria. So, I’m sitting in class, getting my hips all warmed up or whatever, while these tiny women start sitting down next to me. No worries – I bench press. And I climb. But I’ve heard stories – that these classes are gnarly, that these people are actually pretty leathery. And I’m believing none of it at this point. Fast forward through 45 minutes of ‘down dog’, and I am digging deep to not explode a testicle. There’s frickin’ sweat running off my face onto the little yoga mat, my everything is burning, I can’t stop shaking, I might have crapped my pants, and the chick next to me has looked like a marble statue for the better part of an hour (and by ‘chick’ I mean ‘hell spawn’). I felt them feeling sorry for me, like I had been in a horrible accident and was re-learning motor skills. Yoga is what I imagine Twister with Satan would be like. Fuck yoga.

I got on Better Than Life on Saturday. Felt pretty strong but energy was low. Go figure, maybe it was the 60 minutes of Hell-pretzel action the night before that made me feel like a chew toy. Note to self: no more of that business before Tor day. My finger felt not better, the left ring finger I’ve been nursing for a couple months, so I made a short day of it. After warm ups on Power of Eating and Chips-A-Hoy, I bolt-to-bolted Better Than Life, then redpointed Chips and Auto Magic. My weight is down to a little under 190 lbs and things are feeling pretty strong, but this finger has got to get better. So, my plan is to stop climbing mid-week, do what I can on Saturdays at Santa Maria until the weather shuts us down for the season, then take some time to heal this winter. Taping between my knuckle and first joint helps a bunch too.

Phil was absent on Saturday. No doubt, he was missed. But it was tons of fun nonetheless. It was me, Paul, Hawk and Elhanan – all friendly dudes, all psyched to be at the Tor on a good day. I had a lot of fun.