It always feels good to achieve a goal, especially one that you know will be a great challenge. After popping a tendon in my left ring finger while climbing at Wild Iris in Wyoming I needed a little motivation to get back on the horse.
An injury smack in the middle of our trip was deflating after working so hard to regain our strength following two shortened climbing seasons in Alaska. A new goal to focus my efforts for the remainder of the season was exactly the motivation I needed. Attempting to climb twenty 5.12 routes before the end of the year was an idea I adopted from our friend Dana. It seemed to me like great motivation to try harder climbs as well as build up a solid 5.12 base. Previously 2010 was my most prolific 5.12 climbing season during which I climbed ten 5.12 routes before moving to Alaska in June. I knew doubling my 2010 count wouldn’t be easy but it proposed an exciting challenge.
Just under a month after my tendon injury Robyn and I were back at Maple Canyon to regain our endurance. During our stay I was able to redpoint the mega classic 49 as well as an overlooked but really cool line called The Neversweat. Although my finger wasn’t 100% these sends were a real boost! The remainder of our climbing season has been spent at the local crags here near Hailey where we spent considerable time at The Fins (2.5 hours away), Dierkes Lake (1.5 hours away) and The City of Rocks (3.5 hours away). It’s hard to imagine three crags that differ from each other in climbing styles, and rock type more than these three.
Pat, Robyn and I headed down to Dierkes Lake Saturday in high spirits looking to spend another day at our local choss pile. I say this with every ounce of respect for the place, as the climbing is actually super fun and challenging. Better yet it offers a protected south-facing cliff that gets a lot of sun which means we get to climb off-and-on all winter!
We started things off with a great link up off Ziplock called Black Thing (5.11c). Another tough climb that increases the pump (and hold size) the entire way. After I hung the draws, we left the rope up and moved to Sanitary Landfill (5.10b) where our buddy Pat got on the sharp end. Pat missed Robyn and I at the University of Idaho by only a year, but befriended several of our friends from Moscow. Come to find out he lives here in town, is a rad dude, and is stoked to climb! Unfortunately for all of us, however, Pat blew a pulley on his first lead while moving to a pocket with his left hand and readjusting his feet. What really struck me in the whole event though was how positive and upbeat he remained after he new he would be sidelined for up to 6 weeks or more. His attitude remained genuinely positive, and we finished the day in good spirits. It was certainly a good testament to his character and I really respected the way he handled it.
After Robyn cleaned up Sanitary Landfill, we shifted to my project Soloflex (5.12c). Soloflex presents two stout cruxes separated by a good rest on a pigeon poo pedestal. The first crux involves a mandatory foot-cut on edges along with a tough body tension move to a pocket hidden over a bulge. My first go spit me off at the lip of the roof and left me wondering if I would have the strength for a second go.
The second go went much smoother and I sailed through to check in at the avian-shat hotel. Checking out and entering the redpoint crux was a bit nerve racking. A steep 15ft section of finger crack guarded me from victory, and I was only sticking the exiting crux moves about half the time. The bottom of the crack has a undercling good for a painful knee-bar before launching into a lefthand finger-lock. Toe hooking the initial undercling, I was feeling remarkably good and stacked my right hand over my left reaching for the safety of the final horizontal. Traversing out the horizontal, dangerously runout diagonally from my last bolt I had one last nervous mantel before the chains. Rather than prolonging the exposure, I went for it, mantled, and SENT! Soloflex was certainly a capstone climb for me so far this season. The beta was involved and the climbing was challenging physically and trying mentally.
Twenty 5.12’s Tick List!
|2012-10-21||Onsight||5.12d||Gurlymon a.k.a. Burlygirl|
|2012-10-14||Red Point||5.12b||Wings for Mary|
|2012-10-13||Red Point||5.12b||Ghost in a Shell|
|2012-10-10||Red Point||5.12a||Red Arete|
|2012-10-06||Red Point||5.12a||Smoke Signals|
|2012-09-02||Red Point||5.12a||Degals Direct|
|2012-08-25||Red Point||5.12c||Dinner Roll|
|2012-08-24||Flash||5.12a||Shaken Not Stirred|
|2012-08-16||Red Point||5.12b||The Neversweat|
|2012-07-17||Red Point||5.12a||Tomahawk Slam|
|2012-07-14||Red Point||5.12b||Stop That Terrain|
|2012-06-14||Red Point||5.12b||Dirty Dancing|
|2012-05-22||Red Point||5.12b||Liquid Jade|
|2012-05-01||Red Point||5.12a||Smokey and the bandits|
And now we feast! Wednesday will have us sipping Barely Brown’s growlers in Pendleton, Thursday will be spent with family in Portland, and Friday will be spent at a Blazer game witnessing Brandon Roy’s first game back at the Rose Garden! Lots of love and well wishes from us here in Hailey!
Drive safe, share time with family and friends, eat great food and don’t drink anything you can see through. Cheers!