This winter has been a lot different from the usual routine I had going. For majority of my climbing trips I opened up to less onsighting and more falling. In addition, I trained in the gym with a lot more purpose, than for the sake of climbing. Prior to this season I didn't think working a hard section of a single climb or bouldering in the gym would be as fun as moving over a thousand foot rock face. But it did teach me much more about climbing at my limit. In addition, it actually turned out to be fun and shoved a slice of humble pie in my mouth, on pretty much every trip. Highlights of the last several trips include sending the super classic Rostrum (IV 5.11c), onsight of a notorious Yosemite offwidth Twilight Zone (5.10d) and an incredible fingercrack Mr. Natural. Doing a few climbs on Parkline Slab, first 7 pitches of the Astroman, (French) Freeblast, few cool outings to the Ribbon Falls area, a lot of one to two pitch climbs. Also, I finally climbed the Nutcracker and got to repeat the first 5 pitches of the super classic Central Pillar of Frenzy!
|Gleb on rappell from top of the Harding Slot|
|Attempt to catch the fire-fall effect. Horsetail Falls|
|Gleb on the way into the Harding Slot|
On the first outing to Ribbon Falls Luke and I climbed the first nine pitches of Gates Of Delirium (V 5.12 or 5.11 C1) and on the other Tom and I had hell of a day trying to find the start of Ribbon Candy (IV 5.11c). Neither of those two trips resulted into “sends” or even us completing the routes to the top, but they did provide motivation and foundation for a more glorious return. One of the things that is beneficial about climbing tough routes is coming face to face with your ego. In the beginning I did not take failure well. Ego does not like to fail, but I came to a conclusion that failing is great. It is an opportunity to learn, nothing more nothing less. Even though ego will always be there to some extend, I feel like I have a lot more grasp over mine at this point. People often claim they fell in love with rock climbing because "there are no rules," but when you examine our little camp fire, you can spot a huge list of rules each climber has, which usually only applies to the guy next door.
|View of El Cap from Ribbon Falls area|
|Luke on Gates Of Delirium (Ribbon Falls wall)|
|Gleb starting first pitch of the Rostrum|
|Me leading Enduro Corner on Astroman (ALMOST got it!)|
|Luke charging up another cool crack on Gates of Delirium|
|Got to climb HD this year again!|
|Unknown climber on 4th pitch of the Rostrum|
|My partner Catherine on a cool ledge - halfway up Homeworld (9 pitch 5.10+ on Parkline Slab)|
|It is fun to climb with this guy, even when he is not my partner lol|
|Always excited to climb with Luke! He brings out the best in me lol|
|Climber on pitch one of Freeblast (Salathe Wall El Cap)|
|View from Bircheff-Williams or CPoF. Middle Cathedral is AWESOME!|
|Gleb Rapelling from top of the Enema - STEEP!|
On another outing Gleb and I took advantage of Spring-like temperatures in Yosemite and jumped on the super classic Rostrum. I climbed the route in the end of 2013 and was blown away by its steepness and quality. Before I climbed it for the first time I was intimidated by it and expected to fall often, maybe even pull on gear. I did much better than I expected and climbed the route with only two falls, one of which while leading the crux pitch, on the last moves of it to be exact. After topping out I was super excited about my performance, till I received several texts with the same question – “Did you send?!” Usually when I go climbing my main mission is to challenge my skills, sending feels good, but the long journey is what I enjoy more. No one cared about how much fun I had, if I did better than I expected, or if it was a route I would recommend. Only thing my peers cared about was if I climbed every pitch clean. If I was in sink with my spirituality, like I would like to be, this question wouldn't bother me. But I am not there yet and was left with a bad taste in my mouth. On the drive to the park Gleb and I spent quite some time discussing human ego and emotions. Perfect description for this dilemma is - first world problems! Neither of us expected to “send,” but I would be a liar if I said I didn't care about improving on my style. The Rostrum is a multi-pitch climbs that I put really high on my 2014 tick list. Getting it clean in January would take an elephant off my back. Since I fell on pitch 4 and 6 on my prior attempt, I took the evens and Gleb took odd pitches. We decided to use a 40M cord and haul our backpack so we could concentrate on the joy of climbing while leading and following. It worked like a charm. Pitches were as good as I could remember. When we got to the crux, both Gleb and I took a turn leading it. Both attempts resulted in yells of joy as we reached the intermediate anchors. Even though all four of the remaining pitches gave us a good fight we topped out just as it got dark with big smiles on our faces. It was awesome to lead our first "5.11c" pitch clean and tick off the legendary Rostrum. We came a long way since our first climb together – a flailathon on North Buttress of Middle Cathedral last spring!
On the day after we climbed the Rostrum Gleb and I decided to tick Mr. Natural - a long fingercrack on the Glacier Point Apron. It is rated 5.10c or 5.10d depending on the source and approached by 4th class or climbing a 5.9 pitch named Apron Jam. After tasting the glory on the Rostrum I did not even think about the difficulties that Apron Jam would present, but it had plenty. It worked me fairly hard and I barely led the pitch without taking a fall. With an approach pitch like that, I wasn't sure Mr. Natural would be a good idea, but both Gleb and I ended up getting the onsight on lead. The pitch was the longest fingercrack I have done in Yosemite, crux of which was first knuckle jams with some friction climbing and traverse out to the anchor. We ended the day by climbing HARD, RUNOUT SLAB..on TOP ROPE! It was a great way to finish the weekend and I am looking forward to MANY MORE!
|Onsighting crux pitch of Twilight Zone|
|Me leading second pitch of Hardd. Got the first, but second spit me off.|
|Gleb and I after AstroMAN showed us we have to go back to the gym and train harder|
|Looking up El Cap. Never gets old.|