So yesterday, I went out and TR’d this totally amazing arete feature at Neat and Cool crag. First freed by local hardman Andrew Boyd in 2004, (Boyd is known for his ideal vision and for freeing impossible aid climbs) he established this beautiful feature by taking numerous 30 foot falls just skimming the talus on the ground. Obviously, it’s an arete so there is no gear, but a break just above halfway allows for small cams good enough to hold from ripping. It’s of brilliant quality, especially if you’re a local climber and have access to some of the more quiet days in the bluffs. I would have led it yesterday, (or tried at least) had I not been with only my girlfriend, she’s half my size and the one or two pieces of gear would surely behave as a pulley system, hauling her into the sky and sending me down to the sharp collection of broken rock on the ground. It’s called “Bruce Lee vs The Kiss Army” it goes at about 5.13b – but it’s no ordinary climb, it’s cryptic and balancy, thin yet powerful with the crux of course being the slow and tedious rock over to easier ground. It’s possible to fall off any of the 7 or 8 crux moves, what an adventure, it’s a full on sweat fest. It’s going to snow today, so the redpoint will have to wait.
In regards to the title of this post, for anyone who read my post yesterday, I have changed my mind. I wish there were three of me, not just two. Fuckin hell, ha ha ha. I wish I was in Switzerland now. Austrian climber Beat Kammerlander (one of my many hero’s) bagged the first clean gear ascent of a difficult thin crack he had first climbed as a bolted sport route in 1997, 11 years ago. The climb is a 40 meter pitch, and goes at 5.13d/14a, oh and did I mention that Beat is 50 years old? He’s an animal. I’ve never had the pleasure of sharing a rope with Beat, but we’ve pulled back more than a few beers in Indian Creek. ha ha. Which is kinda the same thing right? me, ivo, beat.
Here’s what I found at Gripped – March 13, 2009 – Kammerlander Climbs Prinzip Hoffnung (Principle Hope)
Kammerlander’s friend Marco Wasina originally equipped and climbed the route’s lower half but did not finish the full 40m pitch. Shortly after this first ascent, Kammerlander returned to the line, added bolts and extended the route to the top of the cliff. The route Principle Hope 5.13d/14a is an obvious thin crack, and an obvious candidate for climbing with clean gear. Realising this, Kammerlander returned this year, pulled the bolts and began working the line on natural protection. After months of rehearsal and training Kammerlander redpointed the line entirely on clean gear adding it to the growing list of difficult global trad lines.
Here are some pictures. I can’t help it, hard trad turns me on, it makes me horny, I don’t always want to clip bolts, I like trying to climb something I may not be able to do, constantly searching for that line of what is and what isn’t. This may be the kick in the ass I need to make a return trip to Europe, it’s been nearly a year. For me, trad feels much more intimate, not just with the rock but with myself as well, I go into a deeper place into my heart, I ask much more honest questions with myself, I know I can climb 5.14+, but can I climb 5.14- with natural gear? Can I overcome the difficulty of placing my own protection, can I climb hard and still play safe? Can I accept the consequences, can I block out each and every superficial voice in my head? Can I climb knowing the entire time that no one else but me is responsible for my safety, can I climb well and be scared at the same time? Beat has been a leader of bold climbing since the early 80’s and has repeatedly set the standard for style and ethics. If you don’t know much about him please do yourself a favor, do some research, you will find you love this man too.