September 28, 2009

It was the fifth day trying the problem and I was still stumped on the same move, a slap with the left hand from a good crimp to a good but far pocket which juan can’t see because it is around the corner, the slap always caused my body to barndoor immensely.  It was the only move that I couldn’t do.  I figured out the last move, a left-hand dyno from the pocket to a good sloper with the right hand on some terrible divets which you have to crimp or bear down on, the setting up for the dyno would be tough though…

It was 9:00 pm and I was alone in the Sintra mountains.  There was a crescent moon.  The air had a faint breeze.  It was quiet and too warm to be bouldering on granite slopers.  Like many other boulder problems here this one had only seen one ascent, by the abominable Macau.  Similarly to what I have been doing for the past few weeks–bouldering alone–Macau has been exploring and sending in Sintra but for many years.  He graded this climb 7b+,  It was my fifth day on and I was getting sceptical.

After lying on the crash pads with my headlamp off, enjoying the forest soudns, I put the shoes back on, switched the headlamp on and decided to see if a proper sit-start was possible.  The way this problem had been sent and tried by other climbed was get a right hand crimp, to crouch down and place a right heel hook, then place the left hand on a side pull, lift the left foot off the ground and do a left hand deadpoint to a good crimp.  Needless to say it was an awkward start.

The sit start looked improbable but I had nothing better to do, I soon found out that improbable was really only its appearance.  The rock revealed a very nice and natural sequence leading up to the previous start, adding two excellent moves.

Having figured out the new start I managed to climb the problem in two parts and was again left wondering how to do that one middle move.  I examined the whole boulder again, like a chess problem, convinced that it was possible to do and that I just needed to figure it out, to observe it until something clicked.  Then it clicked!  A new foothold, a different body position unlocked a new way of going for the pocket while keeping the body locked close to the rock.  Then I would release the foot and have to hold a less violent barndoor.  It was now close to 10pm, my fingers were raw and close to bleeding and I was super psyched to try this new sequence!  I gave it three good goes but with the low start I was getting to the hard moves without enough juice.  I had to call it a night.

Today was the sixth and last time I had to work on this climb.  The warm up was lame, my body felt great but my skin hadn’t fully recovered and I imagined I would only have a few goes before it might bleed; I found myself resisting doing any effort on the warm up problems in order to save skin and so instead of wasting time I went straight to the boulder.

I brushed the holds and felt them.  The temperature felt warm but the holds felt ok.  I was feeling more and more motivated it was hard to contain the psyche.  I just wanted to get on the climb and do it.  Its a feeling that I have when I know that the climb has now fallen into the possible side of reality.  I can see it happening but it hasn’t happened.  Just possible.  And a part of me told me to relax or I would rush the moves, to contain the motivation… I already had the shoes on and my fingers chalked up but I sad and tried to calm myself down.  After about a minute I got worried that I would calm down too much and begin to be putting off the climbing, hesitating; I told myself I would give it a few burns just to help me warm up and maintain the adrenaline flowing.

I got set up, did the first two moves and hit the left hand crimp slightly off, crimped down and continued, put the right heel on and locked off the left arm, the bad sloper was right there so I reached statically to it with my right hand and my healing fingers told me the hold was exactly on, I locked the body in and reached for the pocket, then tightened the core and slowly released the feet, the hands stayed on!  I adjusted the feet with the right heel on the hard-to-see foothold, felt ok, moved right hand to the miniature grooves and tried to bear down on them, I’m at the dyno, I know this is just a test run, a warm up but I’m here now and it would really suck if I fell from here.  Raised the right foot and fired for the sloper, and hit it!  I remembered Macau saying he still fell a few times after hitting the sloper, and this was my first time here on link, I got the right foot up high and stabbed right hand to a high groove which turned out to be a very positive hold!  Yes!  Climbed up, turned around, gave a good yell and sat at the top of the boulder laughing.  So psyched.  This was supposed to have been the test run, do I have to go again? 🙂

Grades are all subjective, I’m giving it a 7c (V9).  It is an excellent climb, highly recommended.

Not sure what I’ll try next though.  I really enjoy climbing with other people but recently I’ve been bouldering alone and noticing an added depth to the experience.  It’s just me, no-one to complain to or climb hard for or receive psyche from… no spotter on the sketchier moves.  I’m finding it to be a very good learning experience when I go bouldering alone.  You’re doing it only for yourself when you’re alone.  So, I look forward to days when other people show up and to days when no-one else comes.

And now a link to the Zeitgeist movie (note, no climbing in this movie):


<embed id=VideoPlayback src=http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=3932487043163636261&hl=en&fs=true style=width:400px;height:326px allowFullScreen=true allowScriptAccess=always type=application/x-shockwave-flash> </embed>


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