Kitten Mittens Project

Kitten Mittens Project

Friday, December 5, 2014

Strolling with Bones

Found this sign the other day!

It’s very easy to get caught up in projecting and try hard on routes. It’s one aspect of climbing I love. Going through the process of finding sequences and discovering the subtleties of how a route wants to be climbed. However it’s easy, for me at least, to get too caught up in it and forget what it feels like to actually climb a route, other than your warm up, cleanly.

I have found myself in this situation a couple of weeks ago, on Low Down Dirty Dog, my project down in Centennial Glen. For months I have been going down and trying to redpoint this route and always come away with sore skin and no cigar.

I knew LDDD was going to take some effort. Initially I could hardly touch most of the moves. After lots of days of trying I began to feel more comfortable though, linking sections and more recently throwing some redpoint burns at it. There is, however, still a section at the end that is proving to be troublesome. The last move is a crazy lip turn manoeuvre from a slot, some poor feet and a grim right hand side pull. A position you need to leap from to gain the glory jug. Coordinating the movement is very weird. It’s such an insecure position to jump from. Everything needs to push and pull perfectly. Too little from any one arm or leg and you won’t make the distance, too much and you’ll ping off and take the out of control plunge into space. It was messing with my head a bit.

After a while though I was becoming tired of it. The same walk in, falling on the same moves and walking out with the same result. I didn’t realise I was in the rut I was in. It was only when my right knee started to give me some grief from two big heel hook moves that I took a step back. I was fatigued and my climbing was stagnating. The days out were still a lot of fun of course. Things don’t get much better than hanging with your pals at the cliff; however, the actual climbing part of the day was becoming less fun.

I needed to get my climbing mojo back, to get on a roll again and build up some momentum. So I wrote a Summer 14/15 route list, fresh new routes for a new fresh start. There are a lot of classics out there so I’ve written down a few.

So far I’ve ticked one off the list, Lee Cossey’s Zigzagonal, 32 at Elphinstone. This was one of the first routes at the Stone and one of the first routes I tried on my first visit there. It’s a ridiculous excursion across the wall taking in nearly 40m of insanely good climbing on insanely good rock. The first 25m is consistent jug pumping, something Elphinstone has a lot of and something you need to become used to if you want to climb there and not get shutdown. Climbing passed jugs and not stopping for a shake is somewhat counterintuitive in the mountains. However if you stop on ever jug on your way to the top here, you’ll inevitably get the ‘Elphinstone coke bottle pump’ and fall. Falling on jugs? Strange I know, but it’s just how Elphinstone is. The last 15m is where the difficulty lays in wait. From the second last rest there is a very consistent 18 moves of edging you need to climb with absolute certainty. Stop and hesitate for a moment and it’s ‘bye bye Charlie.’ At the end of this section there is a gaston move you need to attack with every little bit you have, otherwise it could be ‘bye bye Charlie,’ again. I only just snuck through this on the redpoint, letting out every bit of growl I had. Do it all right and you’re at the rest, four moves from joy. Two set up moves put you in front of the last hard move. Which isn’t really too difficult off the sit, stand tall, huck for the sidepull and keep tension. On redpoint however, you need to throw the kitchen sink at it, maybe even the whole kitchen. Hit it and it’s an easy one move to reach the grand prize for dear ol’ Charlie boy. This is the fun I had been unknowingly looking for. I remembered how much fun rock climbing is and am frothing for more in the coming months.

Next on my Summer 14/15 list was High Hope 32/3. It parts ways with Zizagonal, and Green Grass, at half height and blasts straight up between the two. It is another classic bolted by Lee with the FA falling to Quentin the Frenchy last year. I put my draws on this staright after doing Zigzagonal and can’t wait to start throwing some attempts at it. I just need to get through this work in Gladstone first.
Work away training away.

My tooth fell out...and I din't shave.
Meanwhile, Amanda has been trucking through her ‘Post Audrey 20 at each grade,’ rapid base building program. She has nearly gotten through her 20x 23’s, having climbed around 80 laps now since she could climb again 4 months ago. She’s frothing to keep motoring through and sink her teeth into some harder climbing.

Audrey helping me with the washing.
Matt 'Nory' Norgrove getting back into it at Elphinstone on Love Cats, 30.
Also, recently I went out with Kamil Sustiak to take some pics on a couple of routes. I had heaps of fun. Hopefully we can hook up for some more in the future. Check him out on Instagram @ontherope_photo or 

Little Empty Boat, 33. An old Vince Day proj at Porters Pass
I did the FA of a couple years back.
Little Empty Boat
Kamil in action

Getting rid of the Milkman, 29, Elphinstone. A FA I did earlier this year.

Getting rid of the Milkman

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