Saturday, November 22, 2014

Red River Gorge

So close but no Ultraperm 5.13d for me.
I am back in the Blue Mountains after an amazing 5 months of climbing in Europe and America. It has been incredibly enjoyable climbing on so many classic routes and meeting amazing people. I am lucky to have found a sport with such a variety of people, fit and psyched on life.

The rest of my time in ‘The Red’ was a huge success. I had a great time with a good balance of success and failures on routes. I never managed to send Omaha Beach. I didn’t really even try.  After 4 shots I had done the moves easily and realized the fitness needed was very achievable for me just not in the time required. I decided not to spend all my time focusing on the one route when the stand out feature of the gorge was its quantity of classic lines. I still tried hard routes but never got to that level of stubbornness required for a major project. 45 lines between grade 5.12a (24) and 5.13c(30) is what I ended up with, which included 4 onsights and one flash of 7c+ (28).  Rest days and skin management were low on the agenda and my pinkie fingers suffered bearing the brunt of my hold draping climbing style.

I generally always had perfect skin except
for the second pad on my pinkie!
Kaleidescope 5.13c. 
The conditions during the trip were varied with large amounts of rain, freezing temps and the occasional stellar blue-sky day. It got down to -10 degrees Celsius at one stage although when at a sun soaked crag conditions still allowed for some great climbing.  Care had to be taken to dodge falling icicles though.
Ingenious. Heating rocks up at
the crag to put in the chalkbag.

Frozen morning in the campground.
When your only there for the weekend...

One of the many highlights of the trip was climbing with Jack Masel from Perth who is a crusher but had never really achieved his potential outdoors. He climbed five or six of his hardest routes ever on the trip including his first 30. I still don’t think he has achieved anywhere near his potential. Rick and Roman from the Blueys also crushed. Rick, Jack and I looked on with disbelief when Roman turned up with endless fitness and managed to onsight three 5.13c’s. I also belayed Sean, who I mentioned in my last post, again on a route called ‘50 words for pump’ 5.14c (34). He fell near the top on the last hard move on his onsight attempt. Unbelievable!
Jack styling BOHICA 5.13b in the Madness Cave. 
Thanks to all the friends I hung out with on the trip, old and new, as well as Kailas for all the free gear and making me feel like a rock-star sponsored climber.  I now have no idea what to do. Maybe I’ll get a job, maybe I’ll go climbing.

No comments: