Tuesday, July 14, 2009

climbing in the land of the cowboys

the 16th annual international climber's festival

lander, wyoming

clint showin peeps what's what in the crate stacking comp. yeah, you need climbing shoes and a top rope.

bad ass. the winner this year stacked 22 crates. beating clint this year and his record of 20 set last year. 


anyway, i had an eye opening trip.

i set three goals for myself on the trip:

-try a 5.14

-onsight 3 5.12s in a day

-send a 5.13 in one session

basically, i would've been happy with doing just one, and in all actuality, i almost did two of them!

the first day, went to wild iris, i pulled out a pair of 5.11d onsights, and came super close to onsighting a 12b. i missed a foot and well, fell off. then pulled the rope and climbed it pumped(for the non climbers, by pumped, i mean that my arms were full of lactic acid. the route was like 80 feet long, and the crux was the very last move! and i fired it way easy on the 2nd go.

the next day was really chill. i tried the infamous 'killer', the classic 5.12c at sinks canyon... somehow (well, a conscious decision really) i got onto 'mr. majestic', which is in fact, not 'killer', not a 12c, but is 5.13a. yeah... i didn't have a guidebook, nor any motivation, and a 5.13 is kinda rough for a warm up. the combo of those three didn't go over very well. (serious, i tried to warm up on that, i had no idea what else to go for.) ha, what evs.

"rodeo free europe" 5.14a

the third day was strange, but in a good way.

so if you noticed, my main goal was to try a 5.14. well that seems simple on paper, but in reality, is not at all. i was very nervous. the crag was very crowded, and well, i didn't wanna feel or look like a punter, up there way over his head... plus, legitimately attempting something of that difficulty is very intimidating. like climbing in killer cave, trying evilution to the lip(v10) or the mandala( v12) in bishop, climbing indian creek in general, or the first few times i went to the fins. i don't really know the best way to describe that feeling. i guess, well, it feels like such a huge thing, something i have dreamed about for a long time, and all of a sudden, this year, i felt it was time to go for it. a big step.

the night before, i thought a lot about it. i decided to kick my ego and just go for it. fuck that shit, i came here to try an established 5.14. i wanted to know what it takes to climb the grade. one of my biggest goals in climbing has always been to climb 5.14, and it's beginning to feel like that could happen, but how am i gonna know in an area where the hardest established route is 5.13c (karma police, which i climbed in 2007), and where the only things that are harder are projects.

i picked a route at the rodeo wave wall in wild iris called 'rodeo free europe' (5.14a).  in an old edition of the guidebook it is called 5.14b, and in the new edition it is called 5.14a. what does that mean? well, it means it's solid at 5.14a, if not hard for the grade. the route doesn't suit me very well either. i believe it would be easier for a shorter person to do the moves, based on the foot holds available, plus it is very power intensive. basically a boulder problem (it's like, 35 feet long), the moves are all way physical, and the holds are all really bad, with monos and desperate pocket stabs in the crux, pretty much scaring the hell out of me. i've had three tendon injuries in the past two years... yeah, what was i thinking.

the setup for the crux. the two moves after this shot shut me down cold....

so having chosen a hard route that doesn't play to my strengths but probably to the polar opposites, aka my weaknesses, here is what i learned:

i tried it 4 times on one day.

i managed to do all of the moves except for 2 or 3. which i came close on! amazing!  

i did not link very many moves together, but i did make links.

i could hold every single one of those horrid little pockets, not weighting the rope!!!!!!!

the crux of this route is not mental, but very much physical.

now to apply what i learned:

-my first day on 'rodeo free europe' was much more inspiring than my first days on either 'unagi' or 'the mist project'.

-'ueber unagi' is way harder than 'rodeo free europe', and in similar style. 

-'the mist project' is not quite as physical, but almost twice as long, and so it is hard to say which is harder, as they are in different styles, and 'the mist' is more my style(big reaches on small holds). but you know, it could very well be 5.14a, i'm hesitant to say that, and kinda doubt it. one day on 'rodeo free' was not enough for me to tell. we'll just have to see.

-i make an annual trip to lander, and i believe i can do 'rodeo free europe', and that i will do it. no way have i peaked yet. and it allows me to use this route as a yardstick of sorts, to measure my progress every year.

so yeah, a productive trip.

i'm still waiting on a photo, so once i can contact jerry painter, i will get one.

 i'm glad to be psyched about wild iris. cause i kinda hated that place, like it's super pretty, mountains, trees, flowers and all, but yeah, i hated it... now i have a reason to go back there! and i actually am starting to like it a lot! (still workin' on liking sinks....)

well, hmm, i only told my highlights for the trip, but i believe every one had a good time, and it was super inspiring to see supy and clint pushin' their limits and trying to onsight every route they climb. i dunno if either has climbed 5.11, but they are both onsighting solid 5.10 pretty frequently. also, the local swimming pool was a lot of fun, as usual, and has a climbing wall above the deep end! not to mention the only place to get a shower for under 5 bucks.

and a parting shot for my buddy peter:

this dude dominated the slackline comp. 360 spins, jumps, yoga poses, and the best of all,
 he downed 2 beers while on the line. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Tom. Sounds like a good trip! I remember when they were having the first annual climbers fest in Lander... I was all set to go and my '74 VW bus broke down just out of my driveway. Time flies!