Monday, June 18, 2012

Everyone hits a point on an epic project where expectations fade away. Even frustration becomes rather boring. You stop caring about the end result and realize that maybe you just picked this project because you like it so much. It took me a long time to get there on Steakhouse. The other day I went up there completely alone. I did the 35 minute hike with two pads, a camera and all of my gear. The first three tries went as they always do, falling off the last move just barely. Then I decided to work out some more micro beta on the last move and found a small foot adjustment that seemed to make quite a difference. At this point it was getting late and I was a bit tired. Since it wasn't yet dark I decided to give it one more for the road. And, after an estimated 20 days of effort and 78 falls on the last move in the link I finally got it right and sent the bastard. I was so excited that I just could not stop laughing and could not believe it. This could have been the most epic project that I've ever had that far from home. They say that life is a series of moments, and that was one moment that I will never forget. I took a raw shot of the send for my own personal use. I want to be able to go back and watch it when I'm 70 and smile. That was a feeling that I will take to the grave.
   There is usually a lesson to be learned with a big project. Most of the time people are afraid to open up a can of worms with one rock climb. And maybe they are right in doing this, I dare say I don't recommend it in one sense. But then again, testing your tenacity is a great tool for finding out what you are made of. If I only did things that were easy for me and fit my body/style, I honestly never would have progressed as a climber or a person. But when you stick out a challenge to the bitter end, now matter how rediculous it feels, well, let's just say that you get what you pay for. I've heard this described by a great man as "a war of attrition". You win because you refuse to give up. A bouldering or route project can beat you a thousand times, but you only have to win once. And honestly, those things can't elude you forever. Eventually you relax, muscle memory will take over and the inevitable happens. What a great feeling this is. So I suppose, in a way, I do recommend this. Go out there and find something you "can't do" and attack it. You might just surprise yourself.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

   Once you've been to a place you love enough times, it starts to feel like home. Even though the Rocklands is so far away from where I work and live, in a way it kind of feels like that now. It is my third season here in the past four years. I've been seeing so many familiar faces and at the same time making tons of new friends on a daily basis. There is a very strong sense of community here for me. And basically I'm really enjoying this trip in particular. Things are very different here than they are in the states. This is nice because you really can feel like you are somewhere far away from what you are used to. So far the experience this year is 5 stars for me. Every morning I wake up and trot around the campsite, talking shit to everyone. We have coffee, breakfast, a few laughs and then it's time to get out to the rocks. The hardest part of everyday is deciding which amazing area to visit next. After climbing till dark, everyone gathers again around the campground bar for beers, brandy, and a good brai. We all get drunk and laugh late into the night. Somewhere around 1 am it's time to stumble back to the tent, take a giant gulp of murky tap water and pass out. Reset.
   It's no secret that the bouldering here is on another level of cool. I've spent my first few weeks here getting warmed up to the style here again. I can only describe it as powerfull. If you can pull hard, far, and for a long time, you'll do well in this place. The first climb I did this trip was the last thing I remember touching before I left. There is a climb called Arch Baby that Ian Cotter-Brown and I got the shut down on our last hot day here 2 years ago. I decieded to come full circle and take that shit down. It did not come easy for me though. An entire day of replicating my signature move of falling repeatedly at the end of a rock climb. Next day went better and I took this one down first burn of the day. I was psyched. The next climb I did was one I thought I'd never do. There is a climb called Teatime at the old campground. I used to get sucked in to giving half ass burns on this thing out of sheer boredom. I know how to crimp, but really I don't like to. But once again I gave it some goes. It was going bad as usual till my friend Caroline, a shorter climber like me, hooked me up with some midget beta. Then what do you know it went down with the thunder. I felt so surprised, which is one of my favorite feelings in bouldering.
    But despite all I love about this place, I am a bit closed minded at times and tend to hone in on a singular goal. Even at home I tend not to look for an area or group of climbs so much as I look for that one perfect problem. No eliminates, or contrivences. A pure line is one that really strikes me. There is a lot of them here. But truth be told, I actually came all the way around the world for one problem. It's called Steakhouse. Everyone who knows me well knows that this climb has been the one for me since I started to epic on it two years ago. The entire last month of my previous trip was dedicated solely to climbing this 7 move beast of a roof out of the Madiba Cave at the Roadside area. Everyone loves what they love. I love roof climbs. This one for me is really special. Wild gymnastic moves lead to a heartbreaking throw at the end. No matter how many times I do the last move, I can never really put my finger on what makes it go and what doesn't. I have fallen at this last move in the link more times than I can count. After a couple of weeks here I started to revisit this line. At first it did not go so well. But, before long I was right back where I left off. Again, falling at the last hard throw. It has become somewhat of an internal struggle. A battle with a bully who is bigger and meaner that me. I am just ready for that special moment where I pull a George McFly on its ass. As is my custom, which many don't agree with, I have shut my brain involuntarily to all hard climbing here until I complete this one. We all must choose our battles. I'm happy that I've found mine. I know for sure that I am going to do this climb. The anticipation of it has sparked a fire in me that I have never felt in bouldering before. A new level of committment, psyche, and desire. All I can do now is try as hard as I can and wait for it. I'll keep you posted.......