Sunday, 17 April 2011

Turtle power

I’m psyched! Two months ago we adopted Sella Wildside as our new crag. It has been the best period of learning for me in terms of climbing in a long long time. I don't consider myself a very strong climber, I never have. But I do acknowledge that I have some strengths. Figuring out sequences is one of them. Remembering sequences is another. Stamina is definitely not one of my strengths. But progress has been made. I've jumped on loads of routes at Sella over the past two months. I've dogged my way up an 8c, 8b+, 8b, 8a+ and a few 8a’s looking for something to work. Although I really enjoyed the challenge of working something beyond my level I was afraid that devoting a lot of time to hanging and falling while working desperate cruxs would result in little mileage on rock so in the end I decided to tackle my stamina issue head on – Ergometria 8a is one of the top 8a’s in Europe and the crag classic. 26 meters of perfect natural overhanging rock. Boulder problem start, tufas, pockets, cracks, slopers and a lactic infused redpoint crux right at the top by the chains! A full value three star classic and justifiably so. I worked my way up placing the draws and lowered off a sweaty mess. There are rests on the route but I find them uncomfortable and having long legs doesn’t help when trying to sink bomber kneebars so I ended up taking it as a full on stamina pitch only using quick shakeouts. Yesterday morning was my sixth attempt on the line. I knew every move I needed to make but had yet to make it from the deck past the central groove section in one go. After belaying Caroline on her warm up I got straight on it thinking that warming up on anything else would be pointless, I may as well warm up on it and check the holds. Making it through the boulder problem at the second bolt was nothing new but yesterday it felt different, easy. Right then, lets give the arms a proper warm up. The third, fourth and fifth clips passed in a blur of big moves on huge holds and I was at the central section. Moving up to and making the sixth clip I still felt fresh. This was weird, previous attempts saw me pumped out of my mind here before twisting into the ‘could be better’ three finger pocket and spanning out left to the sloper. Not this time. I paused, had a quick shake and chalk, shouted down to Caroline that “This feels strange, not pumped!” Twisted into position but instead of making the span, I made one more foot move higher and locked in the pocket. Now I could skip the first sloper and span to the second, re adjust the feet and stab again to the side of the crack and the dimple inside. The rest of the route just flowed like a perfect puzzle clicking together. Just like I imagined it would have to be climbed. Clipping the chains (without grabbing them of course!) I was chuffed! One of my all time favourite routes and my first stamina pitch. And as a warm up! Straight away I jumped back onto the 8b I had tried weeks ago and made it into and a few moves through the crux first go! Wow!! The stamina cometh!

Oh yeah… Caroline was given a pet turtle as a gift from one of her pupils. Meet Thor...

2 comments:

Claire Comiskey said...

nice one dave! great description, sounds exciting!

Dave said...

Cheers Claire... So psyched!! Had another play on the next night - amazing!!!