Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Early Gift

Saturday felt like an early Christmas at Sinks. The gift being, The Most Perfect Climbing Conditions I've Ever Experienced! Cobalt blue skies, air so still it felt like being indoors, cool rock, warm sun. And a friendly crew of local climbers assembled at the Bootie Wall to enjoy it.

Evan lowering past Lindsey.
Lindsey climbing "Waiting on a Friend."
The day's ingredients mixed incredibly well, and at one point I heard another climber spontaneously exclaim "I love my life!"

It's wonderful, when people are happy, and are aware that they are.

With no distractions or discomfort to fight, leading felt like top roping to me. I redpointed "Achin' for Bootie" for the first time ever, and then traded routes with Scott and Evan. With their draws pre-hung, I redpointed "Cavity Search", and then Scott put my draws on "Smell My Finger." (Don't blame me, Mark Howe named them.) With draws hung, and feeling very comfortable on the wall by that point, I flashed the route.

Last year, I wasn't sure I'd ever have the endurance needed to redpoint the long climbs on the Bootie wall. This year, I did three in a day. My endurance feels slightly better, but most significantly I'm learning how find rests, take the rests, and climb quickly in between them while holding back my effort. I'm realizing that successful route climbing effort feels very different than successful bouldering effort. Bouldering is all about learning to try harder. Sport climbing is mostly about learning not to try any harder than you need to. In the past, I approached routes like a series of connected boulder problems. Some routes work like that, but endurance routes don't. On endurance routes you need to move quickly, but stay relaxed. Trying as hard as you can between rests doesn't work. You've got to hold back some strength so you can use it later. I'm still learning some of the basics, 16 years into the game.

Ashley enjoyed herself too, top roping each of the three routes, twice in a row without rests, for an endurance workout. Ashley excels by training her strengths :)

Feeling bullet proof at the end of the session, I got on "Grabbing Greta" and accidentally didn't bring enough draws. The sun set, and the rock got really cold really quickly. It wasn't the perfect way to end the day. The session would have been more fun if we had quit while we were ahead. Night falls so fast this time off year.
That was our climbing this week.

Happy Holidays and Merry Climbing Everyone!

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