Part three. The final installment. Three back-to-back updates is my way of trying to overcome the shame of not updating for over two weeks! but I will admit, it was a welcome escape to leave my computer at home over the last trip. It's been hectic getting all aspects of my life put together, as it always is when you try and diligently pack every and all responsibilities into your two weekly rest days.. please don't mistake the previous sentence for a complaint however, life is fantastic, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
rest day mini-golfing, like a pro
Moving right along.. After a couple days climbing and hanging in Salt Lake, I made my way for Rifle. Temps are finally starting to cool off a bit around Colorado, but I have to say I've been super impressed (and stoked) with how climbable rifle is in the kind of heat that would make most other burly areas completely miserable. It's not like I'm warming up in direct sun or anything, but still, daytime highs of mid 80s in the canyon, and still feeling capable is pretty cool (no pun intended). Day one I hooked up with my friends Lauren and Nate, and got to check out a few new-to-me walls. I did 'Thieves' 13a at the Wasteland, which I whole heartedly thought was bad ass- a great rock climb on fantastic stone. I also got to check out the Bauhaus, home to most of Rifle's hardest climbs. I decided to have a go at 'Roadside Prophet' 14a, a super cool, ultra long pitch with some thuggery around the bottom and some pumpery towards the top. I was stoked to manage the reachy moves at the bottom, and super excited to finish it that night on my third attempt. The following morning I took a crack at a new extension to 'Living in Fear' 13d that Sam Elias had bolted. This incredible extended pitch stacks some additional difficulty right on top of the last boulder problem in Living.. without rest. Then follows up by finishing up some tech 5.12 climbing to the final crux exit move on 'Sometimes Always'. It's freaking awesome. I was stoked right away, but only got one attempt before I had to take off to see some of my old time best friends over in Winter Park.
a proper night out is not complete without some duck hunting
After a day of hanging out in WP, I returned with the extension on my mind. Sam was now back from his trip to Mexico, and seeing in that he had yet to try it himself, he was obviously stoked as well. We exchanged beta, and when I was warmed up and ready, he offered me a catch. Somewhat to my surprise, I fired through Living feeling great, and continued through the crux and to the rest on the extension. From here I got running beta from Sam and Joey Kinder to finish the pitch (I had yet to climb the last 4 bolts or so). I asked Sam's permission before I clipped the chains. Although I did technically climb this route first, Sam deserves all praise for his efforts, vision and time invested. I'm super grateful to be part of the first ascent team on 'Living the Dream' 14a/b, Rifle's new endurance test piece. Sam dispatched next try.
Sam is 'Living the Dream' - photos thanks to JOEY KINDER
Later that afternoon, I decided it was time to strap on 2 of them dang sticky thigh straps and get my KNEEBAR on. This is a skill that I'm seriously lacking, and it's something I need to perfect if I wish to succeed on future goals. I tried the neighboring route, 'Present Tense' 13d, a very interesting and kneebar intensive power route. First try I hung like a champ, A LOT.. it was cool though, I knew I needed practice. After a solid rest I came back, expecting to rehearse and continue sussing (and hanging), but I remained focused on one move at a time, finding the strange rests and trusting those damn kneepads when I could, I all of a sudden found myself below the final crux- a sequential bulge- where I took a moment to think over the movement and grab a quick rest before carrying on to the summit. Very excited about this accomplishment- kneebars are actually quite tricky and hard to get used to, so I took this route (where I used 11 kneebars) as a proper start to my training on the topic.
The next morning I enjoyed a couple repeat climbs and the company of friends before heading back to Boulder before traffic could hinder my commute. It was no doubt good to arrive home and do 'home' stuff. Boulder is a killer spot to call home. Now I'm on the weekly program while I get into a regular schedule of setting routes more frequently to save some money for a long trip to the South East I have planned for the fall. With every passing day, us obsessive rock climbers can begin to feel the fall breeze slowly edging it's way into our lives, beckoning our hoarded sick days and encouraging our patience for the beloved autumn. SOON!
Da Kine Corner= HARD, Andy Mann image
Lastly.. over at the Climbing Magazine website, there's a slew of kick ass images from our recent trip to the incredible Smith Rock, Oregon. Have a look here.