Monday, March 9, 2015

Season of the Nemesis

Tis the season. I returned home from my travels a bit burned out, indecisive and, overall, confused for a plan. I had no job and more funds for further trips. I just could not decide what I should do. Where should I go? I went with my instincts. My instincts were to stay put and wait. Wait for what? I didn't know. I began to observe my surrounding a bit closer and realized that here I was home, in Lake Tahoe, in February, and there was NO SNOW. It's not everyday here that you get these kind of perfect conditions, unless you were talking about now. Upon seeing this ( please click it), I became inspired to do what I always used to do when I didn't know what to do.....project march! I thought about all the bullys ( bullshit nemesis boulder projects). I thought of all the ones I left behind, wrote off, said "f***-It". The list instantly entered my head. I had to tackle them my way, one at a time. No expectations. Just back to be honed in on a desire.
Number one on the list  -  Many names for this one but the most accepted is Eminently Climbable.
                                                   photo by Von Perry Photography

               In 2003 Scott Mitchell and Mike Reeves took me to this amazing crimper project with an incredible position on Echo Summit. The project was bullet proof rock, hard tick tacks, with a bastard top out. In 2003, we could not get off the ground on any of the positions in the lower moves. At the time we were all climbing about v8/9/10, so we tried the top out. After 4 days of efforts we all wrote the problem off as impossible. Thus this project was dubbed The Impossible Dream. Scott and Mike eventually moved away and left me with a slew of projects like this one. I kept trying, and trying , and trying and trying and eventually gave up. After all it was.....f*******g impossible. I let it be and was easily distracted by Tahoe's other untapped (more possible) potential. Fast forward, last year (maybe one before). My buddy tells me he sent Impossible Dream , from the sit and that it was v4???WTF. He named it Eminently Climbable ( a slight to the projects name). Another season went with no send. Then pics and word came of the legendary Fred Nicole entering our Tahoe atmosphere to sample some local goods. While here, Fred and his brother did a number of great climbs. One of them being, Eminently Climbable. Eventually we believed in the Impossible Dream and another send was done by local Dustin Sabo. I honed in this winter and eventually did a night send ( in February) SEND ( FINALLY!) of ...the Impossible Dream aka Eminently Climbably aka The Frank Nicole. The grade, whatever you want apparently....v4, v8, v8/9 , v11, v11/12. For me, never gonna forget it. Statement of the Obvious.....I was happy to do this one.

There I was on a frickin' roll. By roll I mean one, but it was a big un'. I could not believe that I finally sent it. That was cool enough for me. Typical boulderer who just sent a major proj....what do I try next. I dug deep to my darkest fears and this looming nemesis came to mind.
                      Hyperion ( the actual stick crux in the send shot from Von Perry Photography

In the ye ol' days of Erratica blahs blahs blah. Most locals know of Party Animal. That one is my baby. My hard problem which might not be too hard :). Not sure on that one, but I can promise that this one is one of my personal hardest. In the background there was always this leftward version of Party Animal that was originally projected and envisioned by Brian Arnold, that's right Ninja Warrior Brian Arnold. He named the project Hyperion. I remember it being a Sci Fi thing. I was outta the loop. Brian did not send in time despite being very close. Instead the gold later went to Scott Chandler. I believe that he sent Hyperion the day after I did the FA of Party Animal. Scott graded it v7/8. Holy S***! I suck! The reachy beta that short cutted the Party Animal move was about as inconsistent for me ( 5 ft tall) as dunking a basketball. I was stumped for years. Over time Hyperion was repeated by several such as MZ, MH, and GW ( fun game, guess who, hint:all Americans) and possibly more. GW, spoiler alert, Griffin Whiteside gave me some beta that was so simple yet so genius. Go right hand first! How did I never come up with that? Made so much sense. Why was not important. Now, I knew I could finally put this one down. I ironed out the details and refreshed my muscle memory on all the moves and went for another night sesh in February. With Brad Perry trying to hold his camera steady despite shaking from the cold air, I gave it hell. Somehow, he caught the actual stick of the crux in this great picture. After sticking that move, I had to keep my shit together through the v7ish exit moves. Even though my greasy tips were clinging by a thread, I guess the bouldering gods decided that I'd tried this for long enough, it was time to stand on top of this bastard. I remember feeling this rush. When you boulder like I do on projects like this, you know you can do it but you can't time it. When it finally happens it feels like you just knocked out Tyson when everyone told you it was impossible. I usually scream obscenities and sound borderline angry on the tops of these things. But, despite the intensity, it is all joy. I went home that night and drank a lot of frickin' beer. A celebration was in order.

      After those two, I felt like I was psyched for the whole month. I relaxed. I took a job that would last about a week. I focused on working and training a little. When the work slowed, I got anxious. I thought, what else has been hanging over my head. The next one stuck out like a sore thumb.
     Years ago, babablallallahahhahahaa. LOST IN SPACE. Space Race v7 (sandbagged ) sits right next to the area favorite Space Cowboy. The sit project was always looming over everyone as something that was begging to be done. It would be one of the toughest in the area. I began attacking this thing. All of my efforts were thwarted by the greasy, sharp pinches on this rig. Having the sweatiest hands I've seen doesn't help on this one. Dry skin and vice-grip forearm power is a must. It alluded me. Eventually I lost interest. Later I would hear that the first ascent was done by three different people at three different times. First, I heard, a kid no one heard of came up from the Bay and did the FA in 80 degree heat and called it v10! Sounds like bullshit but whatever. 6 months later I heard of the 2nd "FA" done by Joel at v11. Years later I hear that Randy did it first. It's cool it got done. Who did it first? I don't know and it doesn't matter. I wanted my turn and that's all I knew.
      I decided it was time to return to this one. It felt exactly how I remembered it. F***** up! Spiky pinches coated in bacon grease. If you can do 4 heinous moves then you only have to do a sandbag v7. So simple yet so messed up. Day one back on it this year went like crap (normal actually). Something told me to hit it the 2nd day in better conditions so I waited until dusk. Every 10 minutes I rested landed me to another high point. I had never got past the 2nd move. Then, I did 3 moves, then greased off. AHHH. 10 minutes later, it was a little colder. I got to the 4th move and greased off the last v7 move. Did I miss my chance? Sometimes, you get really close and then don't get there again for a while. 10 minutes later, it was colder. This time it was finally cold enough to not grease anymore. After 3 years of being worked over by this thing, I finally did it.
                   The day before the send. Space Race Sit photo by  Von Perry Photography

        Inspiration can spark fires that begin as a small flame, but they can burn very hot when fueled properly. This is my life I suppose. One problem at a time. I love how these things motivate me and get me all jazzed up. It's so overwhelming that I don't know how to handle it other than to make sure that through all of it the most important thing is to keep moving forward. Then the question, what is next? Plenty.

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