Thursday, December 29, 2005


Right, I've been in Nepal and all over, finally back home in Canmore and finally training hard again. I came back from Nepal tired and with a bad case of the post-trip blues. I often find the aftermath of big trips very difficult mentally--all my energy and focus goes into creating something, then it's done, it's hard to fill the resulting void. Total commitment to an idea means just that, there's not a lot of room for the rest of the world or even myself when I'm in the midst of planning or executing a trip. I find it very difficult on return to do the daily life tasks, train, or get much of anything productive done. Nepal was a great trip, but we failed miserably to climb our planned line on Teng Kang Poche. I could write volumes about why, but the reality is that we just didn't have what it took in terms of organisation, commitment, weather, conditions, etc. It was a great trip with fun people, but I hate failing. I know I'm supposed to "learn" from failure, but failure sucks, and I've failed enough to have learned that very well. I spent a week after Nepal looking listlessly at the computer screen and reading pulp fiction. Then I started to climb mixed routes again, and I can feel the energy building. Nepal put me in a truly horrendous climbing condition--a month of hiking up hillsides at altitude makes you aerobically fit, but I am fundamentally a technical climber, not a high-angle backpacker (alpinist). That's the one good realization to come out of the post-Nepal blues: I know what I am a bit better. If I go back to Nepal I'll go back with either a technical mindset or a hiking mindset, there is no middle ground for me. Easy climbing disturbs my ability to enjoy the mountains--I'd rather just go hiking and groove on the mountains. If a rope is involved I want it to be there because the climbing is hard enough to be the only thing that matters. Mixed climbing for me is hard--on the average mixed route I'll fall off, pumped silly, and I don't want it any other way. We've been playing with some new styles for mixed climbing of late, this link goes to some of that. Basically I'm really exicted about mixed climbing again, I'm working a new line in the Cineplex, up on the Parkway. I've been training consistently since early Novemember, but it's still too hard. It's just too crazy good, three big swings and then some horrendous moves for 25 feet across a thin crack in a flat roof. Everytime I go in there my stomach feels like it's been beaten with a baseball bat, perfect. I hope to get it done by the time I head for Ouray, we'll see.

Workouts: Basically just a ton of mixed climbing for the last month, with an emphasis on front lever power and power endurance. I train in at the Vsion when I can't get out mixed climbing, but absolutely nothing trains you better for mixed climbing than going mixed climbing. It's a volume game, mixed climbing is jus too weird for anything but mixed climbing to simulate the movements and head space required. Yesterday Scott Semple, Raphael Slawinski, Valerie Babaonov and I spent the day in the Hafner cave doing laps. I did Cave Man, m10 four times, with as much downclimbing as I could handle each time, and three laps on Fire Roasted, M10. The Hafner cave is the best training cave we have around here, plus it's a really nice place to hang out. The 30-minute walk is just long enough to get really warm on. Last time we were in there a big crew from Japan was also in there, going at Caveman with intensity. Toshi, a Japanese bud of mine from Banff, was working Caveman bareback and getting close, he's fired up.

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