“My strength is gone, but the technique is still there.”
“I can hold onto something smaller than this.”
“I know what I’m doing – the gear will definitely hold, but I don’t plan on falling anyways.”
“Just breath, heave, and pull yourself through these moves”
I keep these mantras going in my head as I climb. I’m climbing routes that are easy, technique-wise, but my body just isn’t used to pulling on tiny holds anymore, and it shows. I’m struggling on routes that normally I would use as warmups for the “real” climbing of the day. But that’s what happens when you take six months off climbing to explore New Zealand, Hawaii, and then to find a job.
Alex and I are at Crow Hill, the famous training ground for old-school climbers like Henry Barber. The rock and the routes up it are amazing – this is actually one of my favorite places to climb, thanks to the beauty of the routes and the fact that it’s one of the first places that I really got to stretch my Trad-climbing legs.
Over the course of the afternoon we bust out four climbs – two leads each:
Note that I am not 100% sure on any of these route-names.
Our first climb was a two-pitch route called Green Gremlin – a nice route consisting of two pretty short pitches.
I took the initial lead, heading up a a small crack to a roof, and then traversing around the base of the roof to land us on the first belay ledge. Simple and easy, though I had a bit of head-games moving around the roof and onto the ledge.
Alex lead the second pitch, following a dihedral up towards a small copse of trees sprouting straight out of the rock. Nice layback moves, leading into a rather interesting roof finish.
The second climb of the day was another clean and easy route that may have been named Crescent. Easy, but a great way to get used to the area… especially when most of the routes were still seeping water from the previous week’s rain. This one started off with some very thin moves up a slab, until about 10ft up where it connected to a beautiful hand-and-finger crack system that lead up nearly 50 feet to a tiny little roof, which protected it from the worst of the water. Very fun.
Last climb… was horribly evil. I’m not sure about the name. But what looked like a perfect finger crack from the launch point quickly turned into a route filled with small runouts, sloped holds, and uncountable moments of “Hey, that next hold will be awesome! Wait… its horrible!” I scared my way through everything but the crux – the last few moves were just too thin and too exposed for me to finish, so I ended up Aid climbing the last 4 feet or so.
I 100% intend on returning to this route later on. I will not accept defeat.
A few climbs at Crow Hill