After my last post about doing Steakhouse a lot has happened on the trip. In particular I got my self right into another epic project almost immediately. I began trying this problem called the Arch at the Old Campground area. In the old Rocklands movie it is the first problem in the video which is done by Fred Nicole. After some years the Italian Christian Core came out to repeat it and broke a few holds. This breakage made the line harder than the original and Christian Core reopened the line. This year in particular, the Arch saw attention from many strong visiting climbers. Although, it seems that I gave it a lot more attention than most. I had been trying this climb on and off since May. I chose it because of its amazing position, great movement, and the fact that it is extremely safe. The Arch is in fact a roof that forms a rainbow like arch feature over a running creek. It is a very beautiful line with water flowing right along the climb. There is a lot of different beta to work through this problem. In general, it was obvious that this one's not easy if you are short, big surprise. It took me quite a bit of days to figure out the moves. Even after I figured it out I changed my beta about 4 times. The Arch starts with some easy fun moves on good holds. But somewhere in the middle it gets hard and then it stays hard until you are standing on top of the boulder. Unlike most climbs in Rocklands, this one actually has a hard, slopey top out. This problem was definitely a step up in difficulty for me.
Starting in July I began to do my usual ritual of project marching. If I was climbing from July til late August, it was only on the Arch. Many people find this way of climbing kind of strange. It is just the way it is for me. I refuse to give up on things once I know I can do them. Honestly, it is the only way I can get things done. Projects like this turn into something deeper. Sure it is just a rock climb. But, for me personally, it becomes a story. Deciding to take on the endeavor is like opening a book. It starts off rather boring and a bit hard to follow. There are moments of frustration and then moments of joy. Once you hit all those moves and start to do small link ups, then you're in it. You have to know how this story ends. This all gets so exciting to me. Then intensity builds as you get closer to the end of the story. It is at this point when tenacity, doubt, desire, and frustration start to collide. It is the best and worst phase of projecting. Every try from the bottom is a potential end to the epic. I get shaky, nervous, and manic. The days begin to rack up, day 9, day 11, day 12. Day 14 I lose my shit. I curse, I throw my shoes, I wonder what the fuck I'm doing all this for. It is all so hard, but I have to know how this story ends. These projects are stories indeed. I learned this trip after many days on the Arch, that these stories don't always have a happy ending. Sometimes you give it everything you have and it's just not enough. You lose. However, defeat can be just as poetic as victory. Even when I know I'm going to lose, I don't care. Really you can't lose if you don't give up. I do not go down without a fight. It is just the way it is for me. This is my life, this is my climbing, this is my strange little world of battle that gives me a purpose. Day 15 makes day 14 look like a good day. New found optimism is quickly lost. Close to the end of the story I realize that maybe this time the hero dies. Day 16 hysteria sets in. Only a couple of pages left and it's over. After try number 4, I exhale, then laugh. You can't win them all I suppose. I accept whatever happens. I realize that I'm going to lose this time, but I also realize that I don't give a fuck. I'm going to give myself a chance. I don't know how this ends but I know that I'm not walking away from this. Try number 5= shit, try number 6= shit. Half of this story's ending is in my hands. The other half, who knows. I decide right then that I love this shit. Being outside, the anticipation, hearing the running water under me while I climb, seeing that tiny fucking bird that always flies right up and chills with me while I'm trying not to go insane, the gecko that thinks he's hot shit doing push ups on my top out, going back and forth between sun and shade trying to figure out if I've rested enough for another go at this pile. No matter what happens this is all so awesome. On try number 7, I climbed the Arch.