Thursday, September 21, 2006

Snow, Plastic, Yamnation

The last day of the HERA event started in the gym again due to the occasional rain squalls and general cold (40 degrees according to a bank sign...) weather. My group went to the Front gym, and beat ourselves silly for a few hours. I love plastic bouldering, it just winds me up every time. Some people deride plastic climbing as "boring." Over the years I've found that most people who don't enjoy plastic can be slotted into one of two basic camps: The unimaginative, who see only plastic dots and tape and not the fantastic movement between them, and the weak, who find the distilled strength of plastic bouldering ego-destroying. I can always go climb somewhat difficult routes (for me that's 5.11) even after six months of turning into a sloth while sitting under my paraglider, but I'll get slapped down by the junior youth team's warm-up problems in the gym after a long absence... Plastic demands power and skilled movement, most rock climbing up to about 5.something demands skilled movement. I'll always take a good day of climbing outside over climbing plastic, but my life is often a mess of time problems and work projects, plastic satiates my climbing lust. Anyhow, I like plastic, it was fun to share that enjoyment with the HERA women, one of whom is a bit older and hadn't done much plastic bouldering but was sending by the end of the morning with a smile, cool.

In the afternoon a brief sunhsine patch suckered us into Little Cottonwood, where we had at a classic corner in the Dihderals area. It wasn't too difficult, 5.7 or something, but it was wet and it started sleeting pretty heavily by the top of it, I was kind of sketched out clearing the slush out of the crack with my feet on wet granite, 5.7 can be pretty damn hard some days. Our group was down to 2, but they both sent it, thanks to Dave for all the help, getting out and doing that route wouldn't have happened with his enthusiasm despite the weather. On the flight home through Denver the Wasatch was covered in snow, I kept expecting to see tracks in some bowl, same for the Rockies all the way home to Canmore. There's still snow in my yard, the only one who seems psyched is the dog...

We're off the Yamnation project until the weather improves, which it looks like it might for Saturday and Sunday, we'll see. I've had a couple of decent short sessions outside and at the gym, but I'm fighting a bit of a tendon tweak and also something in my elbow. I can always tell when I'm at my peak fitness, it's a delicate dance between climbing too much and getting really injured, or not climbing enough and starting the slide away from top fitness.

Yesterday we actually made it to the Yam parking lot before realizing we were too late (funny how coffee can turn into coffees...), we simply didn't have the fire and thought the cliff would be under snow. It wasn't, we could likely have climbed a bit before the weather totally went to hell. We set up the spotting scope and could actually see one of the bolts from our "low" point, it looks like it's only about 10M from our "high" point, so that fired us up a bit, linkage is close. I think we have a minimum of four more days to get the route done, one to bolt/work the lower pitches, then another for final tweaking, then two more to redpoint the rig. I'm learning each pitch as we climb to the high point and then bolt a bit, but most seem really hard. I want to get this rig done before winter sets in like a frozen skating rink, I don't know when the next time will be that I have this level of fitness... The last time I could onsight and redpoint well on rock was about 2001, so it might be a while. Pressure is good.