Sunday, March 26, 2006

5.9 baby!!!

Today was a beautiful day for climbing. Sean and I are trying to train for a trip this summer we have planned to the Ozarks and Red River Gorge for climbing, so that means we've got to hit the outdoors as much as we can. I've got personal goals to get better, overcome the confidence issues, and lead more.

We went to Reimers. We haven't been to Reimers in months...since then, it's become part of the Travis County Parks, so we've heard that there are tons more people and more families going there. Mmmm...children...and climbing...hopefully it wouldn't be like children at the climbing gym...

We got to Reimers sometime around 10:30am, a bit chilly in the morn, but a beautiful day nevertheless. It actually wasn't as busy as I thought it would be. We went to Shortcake Wall (aka Oblivion Wall), since Dead Cats is usually swamped. Plus, there are good, short leads on the wall.

There was a pair of climbers climbing on the easy route, so we hopped on one in the middle, without looking up what it was. Sean lead it first -- tricky start. Really tricky start. It took him a few times, but he finished the route.

I, trying to get over the confidence issues and wanting to suck it up and get better, decided to lead the route. I didn't recall leading it before, but said..heck..why not...I gotta do this.

Yeah, so seeing someone else start something tricky is one trying it another. Okay, so I'm only 4'11" tall. Outdoors is great for me, since there are more options. However...this route, the start at least, was definitely not the case. The taller you were, the better it was...

I tried the start what seemed to be more than 10 times until I finally got some moves right, to finally get to something I could hold on to. And then it was a few calculated moves to the first clip..quickdraw is in..clipping. *Rest* I was so pumped from trying the start over and over and over. And this was the *first* climb of the day...I usually try to start with a short 5.7 lead for a starter. *chalk up* *shake it out*

I surveyed the moves to the second bolt. Hum...a bit thin for a shortie like me, but I was going for it. Got the key moves and *bam* quickdraw is in, clipping. *rest* *take a breather*

The route continued like that until the end, which was significantly much, much easier than the first half of the climb. But hey, I worked it! What a way to kick my ass back into outdoor climbing!

When I was at the top, I had to clean the route and rappel down. My god, did I get everything ass-backwards!!! It had been months since I'd cleaned a route and rapped took me forever to get one of my slings out of the chains. It somehow got tangled up there..and I mean the caribiner, not the sling itself. It was stuck in the chains in some weird formation...I had done something weird up there. But not to panic. With a little bit of jiggling around, I eventually freed the caribiner from the chains and rapped down.

I was pretty spent, so I went to get some water and look at the topos...

Holy crap, I'd just lead Gut Punch the Buddha, a 5.9!!! Not only that, as the first climb of the day??? Last year, I almost finished a 5.9 on Dead Cats Wall if it weren't for the last 2 feet of traversing over a bulge with thin feet to the finish...since then, I hadn't even tried to lead a 5.9. Well, sometimes ignorance *is* bliss. Because I did it..with rests, but hey, I did it nevertheless :) I was pretty stoked.

We decided to take a backwards step and lead the 5.7 on Shortcake. We're just starting to get back into need to kill ourselves...

Sean lead it, no problem. A cinch compared to Gut Punch the Buddha, that's for sure. But of course, that means that I have to make a retarded mistake, trying to make things harder for myself...

Again, being short..well...means that I've got to make some pretty dynamic moves. I'm okay with that, actually, kind of used to that. I started the 5.7. Left hand is good. Right hand I had in a low pocket. I eyed a jug I had to go for dynamically, for my right hand...I went up quickly, with right hand still in pocket...a 3 finger pocket..*pop* I fall off the wall...I completely twisted my 3 fingers that were in the pocket, probably almost popped them out of their sockets, if I didn't do that. *youch!* *shake it off* Okay, so I skipped the pocket, found something else and launched to the jug. From there, it was a cakewalk. Cleaning up was better, but still rusty.

Next up was the 5.8. Sean lead first, no problem. My right 3 fingers were hurting. But they were not too bad, so I kept climbing. I lead the 5.8, no rests, no problem. woohoo! getting back into it.

Sean led the 5.9 on the very right of the wall -- a fun route, but I remember it being tricky -- I had top roped last year and was sketched out by it. Sean made it look so easy. But we knew all the tricks. I decided to toprope it, a bit too chicken to lead it today. Just because I can do one 5.9 doesn't mean I can do them all ;)

Well, because I knew all the tricks, it was a pretty easy top roped route (Sean left the draws in and I unclipped them to simulate if I were leading..the locking off and whatnot). Heck, I totally could have lead that thing. The top was a bit balancy...part confidence issues if I was leading it. But it really wasn't that bad. I so could have lead it. Well, another day. My fingers were still hurting.

Time for Fat Chicks Trying to be Sexy - the 5.10a on Shortcake. hell with it, I was definitely *not* going to lead! Long story short, Sean got to the second bolt. The run between the second and third bolt is the crux. He took a pretty big fall which whipped me into the rock, and he almost kicked me in the head..literally. I don't mind the whipping into the rock taking a lead climber's fall -- it's happened enough times with Sean that I'm pretty good at sticking my foot out to not really hit the wall/tree/object. We've got a good 50+ pound weight difference between us, so it's bound to happen. But I think the fall was scarier for me than him, because I envisioned him falling *on* me. Luckily, he didn't. It was pretty crazy, though.

We decided to call it a day after that. Sean was pretty pumped from trying for the 3rd bolt over and over, and my damn fingers...I cannot believe I screwed them up on a freakin' 5.7!!!

After climbing, we headed to town for late lunch/dinner and to REI. I wanted to try on some rock shoes because I have a big fat $102.76 REI dividend + 20% off coupon to use. And I love my Montrail Zealots, which I got from REI on super super clearance for $25 over a year ago. But they're shredded down to the 3rd layer of rubber..I think it's time for new shoes, especially with the outdoor trips we've got planned later this year...

I *heart* REI. I didn't have my dividend or ID on me, but did get to try on the shoes. I'm going to get a pair of La Sportiva Miura's - the women's, which they just got in. I normally wouldn't go for such expensive rock shoes ($125) know..with the dividend...and the 20% off...I just can't *not* do it. The men's Miuras get good reviews, and La Sportivas carry some of the best rock shoes...

Here are the specs for the Miuras (from the La Sportiva site):

Women's La Sportiva Miuras

For climbers that demand the highest level of small foothold performance from their climbing footwear. Excels at hard rock climbing, power edging, pockets, Yosemite granite...everything. The new Women's model is chock full of new features.

Full eight-panel Dentex lined upper and speed lacing system for an absolute precision fit

VibramĀ® rubber with Powerhinge and dynamic slingshot heel band that focuses power to the toe box

Offset asymmetrical toe box places power and energy under the big toe creating an inside edge sweet-spot

Women's model has a padded heel collar for supreme comfort and a breathable tongue to round out the design

COLOR: Ice UPPER: Leather CONSTRUCTION: Slip Lasted LAST: WPD75 LINING: Dentex SOLE: 4mm VibramĀ® MIDSOLE: 1.1mm Laspoflex (forefoot only) WEIGHT: 19oz

Well, guess I'll be hitting up REI tomorrow after work! :D


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