Phil claims the first tick of the season. Antonio and/or Arthur had claimed first tick, I think, a couple months back but those statements could not be verified. I understand their frustration. Such a fortuitous symbol may foreshadow a fruitful season for one Phil.
Strictly Ballroom got a little closer to becoming a finished project after Saturday’s session at Owl Tor. I hit the mono move off the dog (I love saying that), for the third time ever, and slapped the jug at the break. Though not a statement of undeniable success I did pull through the mono more confidently than ever. I knew I would hit the crimp and I new I would make a reasonable bid for the next jug. This has me psyched. Unfortunately one good pull on my ring finger totally split my skin. By my estimation I get one or two pulls per finger on the mono. If I alternate between ring and middle fingers, which is reasonable, I can get four attempts per day at most. That’s troubling. Oh well – Owl Tor’s just not giving away projects. Who knew?
Diet is important now. It’s always sorta important but now it might be the most important thing. I hate dieting. I hate that climbers need to be small. Men should bench press boatloads of iron, grow beards, eat meat, drink, pillage… the opposite of dieting. So I better get a project ticked this time around.
Inspired by one of my generation’s iconic celluloid gems this post’s title is appropriate as I tried to parlay my send of Gala Gala Happy into Strictly Ballroom. But there has bees no and then. Strictly Ballroom has shut me the fugg down. My schedule for a redpoint on Strictly is now in the lifetime-ish range. Sadly, there’s just one problematic move in ~50ft of climbing – going to, and then from, the low crux Satanic crimp following the route’s signature mono – but it’s truly a deal breaker. Newsflash: f you can’t do the move you can’t do the route. To make things more frustrating, getting to the move is not an issue. Neither is linking from there to the chains. Anyway, progress is stalled.
In more optimistic news, a diversion to Mr. Lee’s two weeks ago has me psyched on Buddhist Palm. I one-fall’d it, second go, having not been back there this season. It felt really good. Steve and Bob made their annual appearance that day so maybe this can be chalked up to good vibes (Bob’s always gushing sunshine). A redpoint could materialize here as Phil and I plan to get back to Mr. Lee’s more in the Fall. I’m also psyched on Terrible Angel. Last Saturday was the second time I linked to TA’s first bolt, first being a couple weeks earlier. Prior to this season, as far as I know, the opening sequence has not been linked since Wills Young did so many years back. The trick has been to pull the first right-hand mono with my ring finger, hit the good left-hand crimp, then switch to my middle finger as I reach to the second mono with my right hand. And don’t work high-step shenanigans. I pull the left crimp with my right foot in the low 2-finger pocket; technique won’t save me here. Switching fingers between pockets is a first for me and I’m psyched that my favorite Fred Nicole quote is coming into play. To paraphrase the Swiss Beast from a forgotten Climbing magazine circa 1990’s:
“One finger is working while the others rest.”
The rest of the route is great; hard, very hard, and great. Phil put together the finishing sequence this season and it’s brilliant. Speaking of brilliant… rad little vid from the surfing world:
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.
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.
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.
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.