Sunday, 24 October 2010

Doing battle and routes of anti-style

Today was a good day. We got out to two local crags and have both made what feels like progress in the right direction. So far since moving to Spain i feel like we´ve not really began to get our teeth into the climbing. Partly due to temps and conditions, partly due to having guests and partly due to work pressures. This weekend marked the beginning of something different... i can feel it. To date i´ve managed to pick off a few choice routes here and there... always going for ones that play to my strengths (even the 8a+ a few weeks ago was right up my street). Today i began work on what could become a nemisis. Although it´s only 8a, it´s in no way technical and in a very real way feckin steep and powerful! It crosses a 6m roof and then blasts up a beautiful barreling head wall via dynamic climbing on sloping holds and pinches. Absoloutly fantastic!
Cova Fuma

Me taking in what i know will be an ass kicking - Gran Fuma, 8a

Today i gave it two full on redpoints. The first one i was placing the draw but still fought through the crux move, only to fall off above the next bolt. Eager to punish my body into getting fit i tied in quickly with little rest to try again, A Muerte! This time i made it one foot move higher but was soo pumped once i fell off that i couldn´t even pull back on to top out. After a few minutes on the rope i hiked to the chains. Deciding that it would be easier to top rope it to remove the draws in the roof section i got another good workout! but this time came off directly above the crux. Brilliant! This thing will make me strong - i love it!

Even better this evening was Caroline´s performance on her 7b+ project in Echo Valley. During the past few years Caroline has developed a healthy bias towards climbing routes on positive edges. Standing or God forbid pulling on sloping holds was a definate no no and hence avoided. Climbing at Ceuse this summer helped Caroline to get to grips with this style and after ticking a couple of lower grade 7´s near by in Spain she began working a extremely thin and technical 7b+. This was equal in grade to her previous best route but completely against her style. To make things more difficult the meager holds on offer were always just out of her reach. From my perspective Caroline couldn´t have chosen a better route to push herself on. As i keep reminding Caroline, if she wants to climb harder routes she must learn her own techniques for dealing with reach. In this case it involved Caroline literally dancing up the vertical face, coiling, springing and standing full stretch on one tippey-toe to reach a mono edge while the other leg kicks back. A brilliant lead and a flying pass on her "leading thin, technical limestone" lesson. Now... time to find her something that will work her hard...

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