Sends and New Arrivals

I’ve had a really exciting weekend, again! Andrew and I headed off to Boven with the intention of doing Boa Rodeo, an 8a+ trad line. Both of us tried it for three days but had no sends. We discovered how hard it is actually is to place the gear! Wow. We ended up finding a good nut placement backed up by a Wild Country Z3 cam to protect the crux… Basically, for anyone who isn’t familiar with WC Zeros, this is a black Alien cam — it’s small and we’re falling on to this gear with from a pretty descent run out above it.

All pics are by Jahne Theron — Thanks bud!

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The gear is all great but I think that both of our heads weren’t quite in the head space they needed to be in.

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Two much cooler things happened this weekend… I finally made time to climb with Andrew on his Shear Force Project down in the Right Wing and holy 5h!tb@lls, it’s amazing! We are guessing it will weigh in around 8c/+. On the first day on it Andrew and I managed to piece together a sequence that seems to work; on the second day we both did some great links on it. The route is sick! It overhangs by about 8m, it’s 28m long, but it zigzags so get ready for about 35m of climbing all-in-all. The best part: the holds are not too bad on the skin and the rock will never polish. Photos and video are going to be shot when Jono from Outward Ventures makes his way up here early July for an awesome chance to take some pics and vid of La Sportiva Ambassadors Paige Claassen and Jon Glassberg. I met them at the airport today and they are psyched to be here! Enjoy your trip you two! See you in Boven!

Andrew demonstrating how he is going to kung fu Boa Rodeo

I had the opportunity, or stubbornness, to get back on Frazzle this trip. Now admittedly, I’ve been working this in (not so) secret by building a simulator problem at the gym and making the holds worse and worse. On Saturday by the time I got on the climb I was tired and couldn’t even hold on to the holds to start the crux. Not a good sign, but at least I had a chance to put the draws up and climb to the anchors (VERY LUCKILY).

Monday afternoon came around, Andrew put in a massive effort on Shear Force and I was totally psyched to climb it, but I really wanted a good shot at Frazzle, although I felt like I was miles from the send. I set off from the ground and had forgotten that I removed the first bolt so I needed to do some funny business to safely get to the second bolt before coming back down to remove the biner I used on the first. Not a smooth start, hmmm, maybe I’ll go to the shake and just sit there for a few minutes, brush holds etc. Well, I got to the rest, not in a particularly efficient manner but I’m here. May as well try the crux before I brush the holds.

I reach up to the sloping crimp and it feels amazing; my skin is just locked on to the hold. I mantle to get my foot high and then lock off to the horrid intermediate….I stabilize for a split second, and snatch to the crux crimp! WTF?!? I’m still on! FOCUS BRIAN! Hold it! I reach my right hand up to a good hold and scream! Andrew is cheering at the bottom! Now I’m starting to panic! I have only been to the chains once or twice and there is a bunch of tough climbing ahead, nothing hard but definitely tricky enough that I could blow it… I compose myself, chatting with Andrew for some psyche, and then set off. I almost come off at the next bolt but refuse to let go. I do a few more moves and I’m on a monster jug. I think I shook out for about 5 or 6 minutes, could have been longer, it felt like forever to be honest. But I was pretty confident from this point that I could get to the chains.

The rest of the route went down smoothly enough. I climbed to the last bolt before I started screaming again. I was psyched. Frazzle 8b+, second ascent. I know that Paul opened it at 8a+ more than a decade ago but it is the hardest thing I’ve climbed by far. I guess that’s where a personal grade has to come in. I know a bunch of strong guys who have tried this line and none have had success on it.  Whatever grade it is, it’s hard, fingery and a hell of a bouldery crux!

The only pair of shoes I used all weekend were my Pythons. Now, this was a big surprise to me. I did not expect them to work on a vertical wall. I figured they’d work in the cracks on Boa Rodeo and the steepness at Choss, and therefore the Shear Force line too, but on Frazzle?? That was confusing. Maybe they’ll surprise me on Rodan too (doubtful).

Now…. Off on a completely different tangent, I did the weirdest thing last week. I joined a gym. I’ve decided that bouldering just isn’t enough anymore, so I’ve started a training regime at the gym.

Yesterday was pretty tough:

  1. 20 min run @ 11 km / h at 3% gradient on the treadmill to start
  2. 12 min rowing
  3. About 10 one arms L & R
  4. 5 x 6 pull ups with 20kgs load
  5. 1 lap of the “super circuit” –> weight training with stepping intervals. Generally 30 reps of moderate weight.

The whole point of the exercise is to push my comfort zone a little further than what I’m currently used to. I feel like I can climb 6 days a week and not be making massive progress. So maybe I need to climb indoors 2-3 days a week, gym 2-3 days a week and climb on rock 2 days a week on a set program. Currently I’m busy with a 4 week power cycle at the wall; I’ve been working shorter, powerful routes at Chosspile and even in Boven. The idea is to raise the bar so that when my power-endurance cycle starts Rodan will go down. I have a date with Rodan from 6-14 July! Can’t wait. Hope to share the experience with a bunch of my buds!

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