I am such a gargantuan twit. I could not help myself. Twit I am. I was almost angry. Almost. TWIT.
Last night was what I would call near "perfect" conditions, cool and windy. I nievely warmed up on the climb early to get the blood flowing, big mistake. It was still only 6pm and I knew if I had waited longer, the temps would continue to drop and the sun would fall lower on the horizon. Which they both did. The so called 'warm up' burn was excellent in the fact that I easily strolled the crack, then rested and then climbed through the upper crux first try even locating a new foothold on the fly, but consequently cutting my skin AGAIN on the sharp holds. So it was both good and bad. Now truthfully, this would not be an issue if I had more time, say if I lived nearby – I would simply rest for a few days, visit family, see the mountains, get some work done and basically enjoy myself until I could return with FULL POWER. But trying to climb the worlds first E11 with a bonafied departure date looming over our efforts is quite troubling. I waited two or three hours and gave the wall a lead attempt (second overall), with tape wrapped around my rosy finger tips. For the record, climbing tape SUCKS. When it comes to technical climbing on small sloping crimps, tape is about as useful as a bowl of vaseline. I fell from the same high point as last time. The fall was fine. The gear sticks, maybe too well.
The weather is calling for good temps this weekend. But it could turn to rain and I need to start accepting the fact that maybe I won't climb it. I need to find peace with the fact that maybe it just won't happen, which is very hard to do when I know that it can. I know I can climb this thing, I just need the stars to align one time. Good temps, good skin, good focus. Still, I'd like to let go of thinking that by climbing this route anything will change, it won't. The fact that I have a desire to grunt and crawl my way to the top of a rather challenging face has no bearing what-so-ever on the happiness of mine or other peoples lives. It's just a fun thing to try and do really, that's it, nothing more. I need to remember that the BEAUTY is in the STRUGGLE and therfore everything is beautiful as it is at this very moment, even when I am flying through the air hurtilng towards a potentially very dangerous ledge. It's all good. Or is it?
Will I be back in Sept? Next April? The April after that? Ever? How long might it take as a visiting climber and what would success ultimately bring? Will I feel happier about myself? Will I have a better relationship with Lydia and will my family love me anymore? Not likely, so why bother? Because some magazine might give me a few words and a photo to show the climbing world who I 'really' am? Not likely, so what gives? I suppose the truth is this, I want to climb this route, because above and beyond everything, it represents what climbing is to me. Since the very beginning I have always loved long single pitch climbs. The one length of rope that measures power and endurance in the same space, the 120 feet of maintaining a steady mind and controlling unsteady nerves. Placing gear from the ground up means being responsible for yourself every inch of the way and by taking the gear out means leaving it for the next person the same natural way you found it. I want the challenge, I enjoy combining 8c with R. Working a climb for a week or more gives ample opportunity to climb your absolute best, onsight ciimbing provides too many avenues for error and a stroke of luck, at least for me. Ever fall off an onsight climb only to realize there was a jug just out of sight? Working a climb allows an opportunity to develop a relationship with the stone (and yourself), and placing the gear on a dangerous climb adds an intimate element that cannot be faked or ignored. The moves are great, the crack is one of the best climbs of it's kind in the world and the headwall is demanding and precise. It's not for everyone, but it is for me. It's getting harder and harder to find climbs such as these, and this is why I'm here and this is why I would come back again.
I stole these pictures from a user on ukclimbing.com – I hope you don't mind, thank you. To answer a few questions; Yes, I am climbing the exact same line that Dave himself used, hold for hold on the upper headwall. The line veers considerably to the left and then back to the right and eventually straight up. It is difficult to call this the 'DIRECT' finish of Requiem when in reality, it's not very direct at all. But the climbing proves good and it's fun to try hard. To open this can of worms a bit more, Yes, there is a new sequence which actually goes straight up and onto the headwall without veering left (E10?), I have done this clean twice on TR and is slighty easier than the line Dave chose. And yes, the Rhapsody line comes within mere inches of the clearly visible arete on the left, which I have also climbed a few times at around E9 as is spectacular as well. So effectively Rhapsody is an eleminate not a line in of itself. It's not even safe to call it a link up because you are still choosing to avoid obvious and accessible holds to the left, it is merely a path of most resistance. I can understand that this is going to raise a number of questions, concerns and controversy. Like why didn't Dave or I see this variation before? Why am I still trying to climb it even though I'm aware that it's not a true line? Trust me, it's really no big deal, so please don't go making it a big deal. All the answers are there, it might just take some time to sort them out into words. I don't really have much more to say at this time, but like one thread user said, 'I'll have to spill the beans eventually'. So now you have it in short form, the longer more involved repsonse is coming, so please be patient.
There was another question about falling from the top vs. the crux. I have not fallen on the upper moves yet on this entire trip, so I can't imagine falling there on the link, but I suppose it can happen. The crux for me is getting my foot high enough to stick the left hand finger stack, perhaps if I was shorter, stronger or more flexible this wouldn't be such an issue, grin. And to all of the spectators who come out to chat, boulder and watch, thanks for your great energy. I want you to know that it doesn't bother me in the least and I enjoy meeting you, well most of you anyway, ha ha ha, that was a joke. relax. Once I'm on the climb I am thinking of nothing else but going up. I just hope my efforts don't bore you too much. We still have 3 or 4 climbing days before we leave, I appreciate the good vibes. Here's to another week of clear skies at Dumby. And hopefully some sticky friction. Cheers.