Thursday, September 15, 2011


Earlier this year, you sat with baited breath as I relayed my attempts on a 5.13b, LaConfienza, in Maple Canyon, UT. You sighed in disappointment when you read that I fell at the anchors. Now, you may smile for me.

Almost 8 years to the day since I sent Apocalypse '95 5.13b, I finally sent Vision Thing, my second 5.13b. It has been a long journey through injuries, both mine and Tony's.

Vision Thing is located in the Wasteland in Rifle Mountain Park and receives morning shade. We arrived in the park about 9:30am to warm up and give me plenty of cool morning temperature to climb. There was a line at the Meat Wall so we went to Ruckman Cave to start on Choss Family. Boy, it felt hard for a route that I've been doing since 1998. I did it twice and moved down the wall to Pinch Fest. While Pinch Fest is 5.12b, I have done it hundreds of times. It felt hard. I hit my elbow so hard that I broke skin through my SmartWool shirt. I fell.

I thought perhaps I could salvage the day, so we went across the road to the Meat Wall. 80 Feet of Meat felt better. It is a nice long route with no real hard moves. After some debate, I decided to give Vision Thing a go.

Some days earlier on redpoint, I had fallen making the last long move to the final bolt. I was so pumped, I couldn't close the fingers on my right hand onto the sloper intermediate. On my next run that day, I found a tiny, but super positive crimp to use instead of the sloper. I then climbed the last section a couple times to burn the moves into my mind.

We arrived in the Wasteland to find it deserted. I changed into shorts, tied in, pulled on double kneepads and slipped on the Solutions (shoes). A deep breath and I was off. The opening moves are long and powerful. Thankfully, I had these pretty well dialed because they felt harder than usual. After clipping the fourth bolt I secured the double kneebar and focused on slowing the heart rate. Behind me I heard someone else arrive to the wall and the dogs get all sorts of excited. Refocus and I launched into the middle boulder problem and secured the left kneebar for the next clip. I got it well enough to get a good shake before the big and powerful moves of the traverse. I launched for the good left crimp and only got three fingers on it and I think a foot slipped. I calmed my mind, moved the right foot, stabbed the left across to a high stem. I bore down hard on the left hand, tightened my core muscles and moved my right hand to the undercling. I was determined not to fall. Again, I relaxed my mind, readjusted the left hand, moved my right foot up and I knew I had it. I reached up to the pocket and moved across to the rest. "Sick!" said Kenny.

I counted, yes counted, to 330 forcing myself to fully recover before the upper boulder problem. I started climbing all the while keeping relaxed. It is about 10 feet of casual climbing before the business begins. I grabbed the left sidepull, got the hard dropknee and twisted through. I unwound and moved up and left to the left kneebar to make the next clip. It felt casual. I crunched my core and chalked up my hands. A little self motivational conversation and I moved. Placing the left foot well I moved the right foot up to the nub. Launch! I grabbed the left hold and tighted the core as my right foot swung off. After placing the right foot in a stable stem I clipped the quickddraw. I matched hands, moved my feet, grabbed that critical small crimp, readjusted the left hand. Launch! It felt easy! I calmed my mind, stepped up and got the left heel hook and clipped. After a short rest, I moved right and then up to the anchors. I had to fight just enough to make this an excellent redpoint.

Success! Finally! Now on to Cantina Boy, also 5.13b.

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