Yesterday, I managed a couple of short but satisfying hours at the cliff. After sensational fingerlocks and 5.12 warm ups, I got on what I’ve dubbed the ‘mini proj’, a brilliant 14 move direct start into an area classic. You gotta see this thing, it’s a beautiful, burly, overhanging arete. I was so excited. I got on, climbed into position and squeezed like Scrooge, but fell off. I tried again, fell. Again, nothing. I grinned through my teeth, but backed it up with a smile. This thing was going to be VERY hard.
For me, this is what I LOVE, knowing I can do a move, but haven’t done it yet. Some people hate falling on hard moves, they say “what the hell is the point if you’re just going to go up there and fall off at the same spot every time?” But I think climbing above (and beyond) my limit is where things gets really interesting. If I climb below it, I get bored, if you know can do something, wheres the challenge? Where’s the progression?
In the past, climbers would seek out the path of least resistance just to get to the top, but these days, I think many climbers are looking for the path of MOST resistance. I’m looking for the line I think I can barely do, but only with a severe amount of hard work, and I don’t mean like glue up jobs, I mean hard sequencial effort. In fact, I think that’s how Sharma gets better every year, he finds something above his current limit and tries it hundreds of times, effectively gaining power, endurance and stamina every day, every week, every year until on-sighting 5.14a is just not that big of a deal. He’s fitter than ever.
So in the end (by mistake) I grabbed a different part of the rock and realized the hold has a thumb catch, although nearly impossible to see without looking for it, the tiny bump made all the difference. From “maybe next season” to “maybe next week”. One minute I was thrutching and hucking, and the next minute I did the move twice completely static. A sweet feeling yes, the line is outstanding, three stars, 5.13d runout, maybe r/x if you’re gear placement sucks. But it’s not as hard as I was hoping for it to be. I guess that’s the break you accept when discovering natural first ascents. The best part is, the new move is much better, so not only is the climb easier, but more enjoyable too. That’s rad, every crag needs a few moderates I guess, joke, I just hope to link this climb soon, I still haven’t climbed into the move yet, so maybe it will put up a good fight afterall. We shall see!
On a side note, summer is HERE and I ordered some new Patagonia Clothes for the big walls and patios. Check out my new FAVORITE t-shirt. How can you not love this? Seriously, I mean C’mon!