The Prodigy Lives up to its Name

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Trust me! I’m an expert!

IMG_20151213_201237I picked up my DMM Prodigy when I landed in Spain and I was instantly impressed. At 61g/m it is lighter than most of its competition. It is the same weight as the Beal Diablo 9.8, 1g/m lighter than the Edelrid Heron and 3g/m lighter than the Mammut Eternity range of ropes. The thing that impressed me the most was that the rope does not feel heavy when you’re tied in! The finish makes it glide through quick draws like its not even there!

Dmm Prodigy

Brand new! How pretty is that?!?

The majority of the lines I was climbing in Spain were 40m+ and I never battled with the rope. I onsighted several 7cs that were really long and steep. Each of them left me feeling really pumped but when the time came to clip the weight of the rope was never an issue!

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The author onsighting Kameleon (7c) in Montsant. A 50m climb on tenuous pockets.

The sheath of the rope is durable! Next level durable! For a month, 4 guys climbed on my rope almost every day on every type of climbing. We thrashed the Prodigy and it put us in our places. I have a lot of respect for the engineering of this beauty!

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The crew! We put it to the test…

Brian's Fingers

Trust me, I climbed a lot

Between the 4 of us, we logged over 220 attempts on the rope, varying from really short, harsh falls to 15m+ whippers! We dogged routes. We projected. We fought through endless battles with the Prodigy and at the end of the month, all we had to show for it was a little fluff on the one end. That’s it. A little fluff.

In conclusion, I would like the thank DMM for making it possible for me to climb all the beautiful long routes in Siurana! Without the Prodigy, it just would not have been possible!

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Getting ready to try Photo Shot (8b) in Margalef

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Photo Shot (8b)

 

 

It’s All Uphill…

Last time I was punching my keyboard for this site I was really upset because of my A2 pulley rupture… Well, it’s been 12 weeks since then and the finger is recovered. A lot has happened since then. The worst part of the time involved a 5 week break doing NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING. No running, no gym; just computer games and parties. It was a really weird break from climbing. In the last 12 years, I have not had this much time off. So, the result: I gained 4 kgs and went through a considerable number of hang overs XD

BUT at the end of that all, I started working out again. I started coaching a little and I getting back in the swing of things. It all started off in Durban with a day at Kirk Falls with Illona and Candice. Was a lot of fun For my first day back I didn’t do so bad: 6c+, 7a and 7a+ all onsight. That was great fun!!! By the way, Kirk Falls is a gem! Get down there and climb!

The week following this I found myself climbing in Waterval Boven trying hard to regain some of my form. I had some fun in the process. I climbed a few lines and tried to climb Big Butterfly (7c) only to be foiled by wet cracks in the crux. I did have a lot of fun climbing some lines in Super Bowl that I haven’t been on in quite a while, like Karfoefeling (7b).

Climbing Karfoefeling in Boven. Photo by Gustav!

Climbing Karfoefeling in Boven. Photo by Gustav!

I received quite a big box of gear from Outward Ventures  which included my new Roca Dominator 9.2mm 80m rope and La Sportiva Solutions!!! Amongst gear were a couple dinner packs from Back Country Cuisine! I can tell you right now, the Cottage Pie is amazing! If you need something that is light weight and quick to prepare while you’re on a camping trip you can’t possibly go wrong. Most of the packs involve adding about a cup of water (more or less depending on the meal) and waiting 10 minutes until you have a fantastic meal. They also have some new dehydrated fruit snacks that are FANTASTIC. Make sure you grab some for your hikes or climbs.

The view from Arjan's place! Breath taking!!!

The view from Arjan’s place! Breath taking!!! He was kind enough to give me a place to stay on the way into and out of Cape Town.

Making the trip possible

Making the trip possible

Good stuff!!!

Good stuff!!!

The climbing I had been doing was all preparation for my trip to the Western Cape to climb sport lines in a place that everyone knows about but no one may write about (no comment). Really cool climbing in this place but unfortunately I can’t post any pics for anyone else to look at except maybe the hike in.

Hiking into you know where to do you know what

Hiking into you know where, to do you know what…

By the time I actually got to Cape Town I was ready to do some bouldering, but not before going for Sushi with Beth, JT, Sean, Colin, Jen and Jono at Harry’s! Unbelievable sushi! The Yellow Tail Sashimi was so fresh it was fantastic. It was Beth’s birthday so we had to celebrate.

Yellow Fin Tuna Sashimi at Harry's! Best Ever!

Yellow Fin Tuna Sashimi at Harry’s! Best Ever!

The next morning I drove through to Outward Ventures to see where I was going to be staying. I was sleeping in the store room on the floor and it was great 🙂 I was really happy to be there and nothing would make me unhappy at this point. After a short greeting session with Rob and Geoff, Jono and I departed for Echo Valley so that we could meet up with Steve Bradshaw to get in some bouldering. I didn’t realize how tired my body was from the weekend until we started the walk up to Echo…

Initially when we got to the boulders Steve and I were really disappointed because of the weather and the fact that they were actually dripping wet. Surprisingly enough, the wind changed and in less that an hour Steve was trying Skobbejak (8B) and having fun. When his skin was done we headed down to Mintberry Crunch (8A) for me to figure out what I needed to do.

Arriving in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

Arriving in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

It was not easy for an out of shape Brian. The crux for me is getting my right heel locked into place. I tried it for three sessions and on the final session fell dabbed the rock underneath my ass. I also slipped out of the heel at least 6 times. So the final result was a lot of fun but not success!!! Damn.

Working Mintberry Crunch (8A) in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

Working Mintberry Crunch (8A) in Echo Valley. Photo by Jono Joseph

Trying to hit the crux hold / finish hold on Mintberry. Photo by Jono Joseph.

Trying to hit the crux hold / finish hold on Mintberry. Photo by Jono Joseph.

I met up with Marijus, Rowan and Maciek while I was in Cape Town. Maciek and Rowan were working the stand of Cthulhu when I got there. Rowan walked all over it and started working on the 8A+ sit. On our last day when the weather set in, Arjan was doing laps on Mintberry Crunch, which he flashed when he first tried it.

Cthulhu (8A+)

Cthulhu (8A+)

When Squeaky and Sheldon arrived we tried a 7B+ called Lonely Boy. It is a really cool problem though conditions were inhibiting me from topping out due to the wet / damp undercling slots at the top of Los Muisenbergers (8A).

Working my way up Lonely Boy (7B+) with the spotting arms of Sheldon and Sqeaky. Photo by Jono Joseph.

Working my way up Lonely Boy (7B+) with the spotting arms of Sheldon and Sqeaky. Photo by Jono Joseph.

The next day we headed up to TM where we had a really cool day at the JIMBO WALL! I’ll be honest, I was scared shitless trying to work out Tripple Jeopardy (8a+ trad) ground up. My skin was slippery and I hadn’t climbed trad in quite a while, maybe 5 months or so, and climbing that sketchy 7a+ start was a bit more than scary, particularly when I had to take the wingers off of tiny Wild Country Z3 and Z4 cams. SMALL anyone?

This trip was really amazing for me. I just wish that I hadn’t just recovered from a 5 week break. I felt like I was weak for a lot of it. But that’s alright, I’m more psyched than ever. Since I’ve been back in JHB I haven’t had a rest day. So that is somewhere along the lines of 15 days, sometimes with two training sessions a day.

I’ve also been coaching Tristan and Alistair in their preparations for the U13 Comp at the Rory Lowther Memorial Competition. I was going to compete when I heard about the difficulty competition which was 4 routes, however, upon discovering that the difficulty was linked to the Saturday’s proceedings I couldn’t participate. I don’t mind. It’s going to be a great weekend.

My next installment happen much sooner as I discuss the Rory as well as the training program that I’ve set out for myself. Till then, here are some pics from Table Mountain.

Lunch on TM after a hard morning on Triple Jeopardy (8a+ trad). Photo by Jono Joseph.

Lunch on TM after a hard morning on Triple Jeopardy (8a+ trad). Photo by Jono Joseph.

Squeaky getting bendy on Jeopardy (7c+ trad)! Photo by Jono Joseph

Squeaky getting bendy on Jeopardy (7c+ trad)! Photo by Jono Joseph

The view from TM with Jono in the corner :)

The view from TM with Jono in the corner 🙂

Jono offering the dassie a cigarette... That little guy had not fear (I'm talking about the dassie, the rest of us were a bit worried).

Jono offering the dassie a cigarette… That little guy had not fear (I’m talking about the dassie, the rest of us were a bit worried it would eat our food).

The Jimbo Wall on TM with the Jeopardy routes!

The Jimbo Wall on TM with the Jeopardy routes!

Looking out at Lion's Head

Looking out at Lion’s Head

Welcome to La Sportiva

The last month has been wonderful. I’ve made a big change in my life in that I’ve transitioned from Edelrid and Vaude across to La Sportiva, Wild Country, DMM and Roca. Outward Ventures has been very kind to me in the past, thanks to Tristan at Vertigo Gear. It has been very exciting as I have been flipping through lists of available gear. I have a long list of new toys that are coming my way in the next few months, one of which stands out above the others: The La Sportiva Futuras. I’ll be reviewing them in a South African, non-bouldering, context. I foresee them performing wonderfully in the Magaliesberg, not so sure about Boven but time will tell.

I have a pair of Pythons in the mail that I’m going to be trying out this weekend at Chosspile. VERY EXCITED. From what I’ve read they are fantastically soft and high-performing slippers that are adept at heel- and toe-hooking, perfect for steep lines like Shadowfax and the projects in the Man Cave!

A few weeks ago I found myself at the Black Diamond Tradathon 2013 in the Magaliesberg. I made a short film about two of the sends I had on the day. I climbed a few awesome lines, starting with Black Karma (24), then moving on to Twilight Floozy (30) and Ivory Madonna (25). All of these lines are fantastic climbs. It’s possible that I made the third ascent of Twilight Floozy which was opened in 1992 by Richard Lord and repeated by Paul Brouard in 1994. It’s a brick-hard boulder problem with a massive span and a dyno from some really poor holds.

Ivory Madonna was also a lot of fun, it has a few fiddly pieces of gear that are really solid if you can find them.

On the Sunday I spent time on Terminator II (30) by was thwarted by the sun on the small, polished holds. It should be easy enough to do next time I’m in the area.

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Sticking the crux of Terminator II

Sticking the crux of Terminator II

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