Sunday, June 19, 2011

Project Diary: Days 1 & 2

This journey has had beneficial effects on my climbing. I have flashed 5.12c, onsighted 5.12b and returned to 5.13 by redpointing six 5.13a in the past year. My fitness continues to improve and I'm very pleased with how I am climbing. However, I am a bit frustrated because for a while now I've felt that I have landed on a plateau in my climbing. My plateau is at 5.13a. I know I am at a point in my fitness and strength that it is time to step up and do harder routes. However, it seems that I have given up too easily on routes because a move felt too hard or holds too horrible. Am I just selecting the wrong routes? Or am I walking away too soon? How do I get off this plateau and climb what I feel I am capable of? How do I get off this plateau without access to bouldering or a gym?

After some contemplation on the morning dog walk a few days ago, I made some decisions. First, select a 5.13b and get climbing. Second, give the route more than one attempt. Third, keep a diary of sorts to chronicle my step up and off the plateau. What follows is the first entry in that diary contemplating my progress.

Several other climbers in Maple Canyon have recommended to me a route called 'La Confienza' as a worthy 5.13b in the Pipedream cave. It was described to me as being big moves on good holds with a double kneebar. I am a sucker for such routes.

Day 1: I belayed our friend Jamie Gatchalian as he redpointed La Confienza Friday and a got good view of how the route went. He then gave me beta as I climbed through the moves. I made it to the anchors the first time on the route! The lower section of the route is about 5.12b with a few powerful moves over a small bulge to a left kneebar. While keeping the left kneebar, reach long left to an excellent hold and make a couple moves before getting a double kneebar. This is not a hands free affair, but it is pretty solid and it will allow me to get a decent recovery. From here traverse on good pockets to a gastone and cross through to the top of a big cobble. At this point there is a marginal left kneebar or a heel hook by the left hand. The kneebar felt like a waste of energy and the heel hook felt a bit funky. Now, there are 4 powerful, long moves to the final jug and a guarantee that my feet will cut loose.

I gave the route three attempts, each time finding more efficient ways to move through sections. I finally figured out the correct body position for the heel hook on the big cobble. From the cobble to the anchors is powerful, so efficient foot placement is going to be important.

I'm in love and psyched!

Day 2: It was Saturday and the cave was organized chaos. The good thing about this is that many people wanted to climb this route or one of the many branches. I saw some good beta for a kneescum to the first undercling on the low section. I did get this the first time on the route, but had forgotten about it. I need to remember this when I get on tomorrow. Also there is a left kneescum just two moves later to enable a better shake before moving into the little boulder problem at the bulge. Speaking of the bulge boulder problem, another woman, Maggie, had some less powerful moves that I like better than what I as doing.

I felt tired from the three runs on the route on Friday, so I spent my two times on the route really focusing on memorizing movement and learning more efficient foot placements. I practiced maximizing the rest at the double kneebar and at the big cobble heel hook. Moving of the heel hook has the potential to be a bit powerful. I need to be quick and efficient with both hands and feet. Then the move left to the good pocket is burly! It is going to be core intensive to keep myself on the rock. I think I'm at the point that I will begin redpoint attempts on Monday. Wow!

I ended the day by onsighting a fun 5.11c, Dry Spunk. This will make an excellent warm up in the future. It is fairly easy climbing for most of the route, it is long and there isn't a hard move on it.

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