No and Then

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.

Only a fool would turn his back to the Buddhist Palm (8b).

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.

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.