Archive for June, 2011

Cool Article from Rock and Ice

Nice article from Rock and Ice. Kinda sums up my attitude on rock.

Read it here.

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Wicked climbing at Grefsen

Yesterday Gorm and I went up to Grefsen crag to get burly. The weather these days have been pretty crazy but we lucked out with just a few mm of precipitation early in the day. Psyched to pull we scrambled to the rock and racked up.

I got on the wall to finish what I started on Tuesday. Climbed around both “this is never 5.7” parts, skipped a bolt and topped out in style. It felt really good. I was pretty pumped, but plenty left in the tank. A nice burly vertical tick for me. Gorm rocked it on toprope right after. Fun to look at this boy pull hard. So much power I’m jealous, but a lot of work on the technique side of things. But we’re gonna work on that.

Second burn I did an alternative start on toprope. I psyched myself up to hang on for dear life, and commit to every hold, before I went up. It was a great experience, I hit slopers but hung on, impossible sidepulls suddenly worked, and I climbed through the second “this is never 5.7” part (that turned out to be pretty close to 5.7…). Then I worked myself into the neighbouring route, and went up pretty hard onsight territory with confidence. Really good ascent!

Third and last burn I repeated the alternative start from the last climb, felt harder this time, but I got through. Ledge and up I went left instead of right, up the dihedral and out to the left. Had some rope help, and some rope hindrance that probably cancelled each other out (Gorm kept the rope a little too tight, and the rope drag held me back even after I yelled for slack), but I got through the alternative ending somehow. Got 6 cuts in my left hand in the process of hanging on for dear life on the jagged and sharp holds. But yeah, the bloodshed was all worth it.

I have never done so much steep (fuck it, vertical is steep for me, dammit) sustained climbing before, and I did three different versions of it. I felt stronger than ever, technique much improved, and endurance, well, let’s just say now I have some… Best climbing of the season, and I belive it will be a while before I top it. I am having trouble putting into words how freaking stoked I am about this climbing day. So much awesome pulling!

Tomorrow it is Grefsen again. I can’t wait!

Frustrating and adrenaline filled climbing at Grefsen crag

Tuesday afternoon. I drove up to Grefsen crag to meet Gorm for some vertical jug climbing after work. As we racked up some raindrops came falling from a blue sky. Amazing, it just has to rain! Every single day! Fortunately, it wasn’t much and didn’t represent a problem for the climbing. But the constant rains makes water seep down from the top of the wall in many places, so some routes were really wet, and I had to do a little dancing in the start of an unamed 5.9 to avoid getting my shoes wet. This route stopped me cold at the crux every time I tried it last year, and I was excited to crush it. However I quickly felt completely out of energy and my blood sugar hit the floor with a loud “thud” as I reached the crux. Fortunately it is a nice ledge to stand on so I just stood there resting my head against the wall trying to muster the strength to pull through the formidable (to me) crux. I finally decided it wouldn’t get any better until I got some food and water in me, so I went for it, and surprised myself by pulling through. The rest of the route was easy, but I felt so weak that I expected to fall off every jug. I didn’t and sent the route in a greatly reduced state. Pretty cool I must say, as I failed several times last year.

A bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit and a pint of water later I was starting to feel better. Gorm crushed the crux of this nameless route like he did several times last year, and it was time for another lead. I picked a route called “the number four”. Unlike it’s sibling further up the crag (the six) it is not named for its grade. The topo states it at 5.6 or 5.7 but I refuse to accept that. There were to parts of the route that I had to climb around to stand any kind of chance to get up. So unless those detours are a part of the route, it is at least a 5.9-5.12a. But steep and juggy is not my style, so I pumped out badly towards the end, and developed a mean case of tunnel vision that caused me to only use juggy sidepulls on the right hand side, instead of combining them with the nice crack on the left. And I slipped off the last move before safety at the anchors. And what a fall! 4-5 meters total, causing me to pull Gorm up in the air from his belay station. Fortunately he was correctly positioned close to the wall, otherwise it could have gotten dangerous. But what a rush that was. Filled with adrenaline I whooped with excitement on the way down, and despite being pumped beyond belief, I actually spotted the crack I missed on the first try, and climbed back up to the anchors. A breeze once I used the crack to supplement the sidepulls. But without the adrenaline injection, I really doubt I would have had it in me. I lowered super stoked and super pumped.

Then it started raining more, Gorm got so pissed by the rain and the dance around the wet patches at the bottom that we packed up and left. And swore we’d never return for the limited options, wet patches and danger of rockfall.

But as I got home and got to thinking, I realized that these pumpy jug fests is just what I need to get strong. I called Gorm and asked if we could do some sessions with laps on these routes, and he generously agreed. So now I am looking forward to pumping out a lot.

I am also in the process of tweaking my strength workouts. They have worked very, very well, and I feel so much stronger these days, not just in climbing but in general, but they are very long (60+ minutes) and I want to spend less time in the gym. So I now that I am climbing outdoors, I will cut down to the essential core, climbing and antagonist exercises, and hopefully end up with sessions around 35 minutes.

Cardio is going great, and I expect to manage a fat loss of about 5 kg before the trip. That would see me down to 73 kg and that sounds about right for me.

But yeah, I’m pulling jugs for a while!

Some good climbing in between the rains

Sunday, June 12th Gorm and I hiked up to a crag called Hauktjern, about 30 minute walk into the forest. We made camp around ten thirty and managed one rep of Skrabanek (I think it is a 5.10a) on toprope before it got too dark to see footholds. But still a fun ending to the day. I positively love this route for its last 3-4 moves. The start in the pit was very hard in the low light though.

We retired to our tents and had a good nights sleep. At least I did. I dragged Gorm from his sleeping bag kicking and screaming at seven thirty. By then I was bored with waiting and ready to pull some rock. Breakfast was of the solid kind with Pilau (Rice, potatoes and meat), beans and chapatis. Washed down with a guilty pleasure; Coca Cola. Then off to Veslefeltet for some redpoint attempts.

Warmed up on Fingra fra Kanten (again estimated 5.10a) on toprope. It felt good getting through some tricky moves, and I felt ready for bigger and better things. So we went to work on some .10b’s. Don’t remember the names, but I tried both unsuccessfully last year. Last fall I had the first one dialed, but when I was ready for the send, my fingers were bleeding and it just hurt too much to pull the dastardly little crimpers. I got a repetition of the moves last time I went here with Stine B. But of course I could not remember the crimp hell beta. A little struggle ensued, through which I discovered a new, pain-free and relatively easy new beta, virtually passing the crimpers untouched. It was a revelation, and I quickly lowered and sent it in no time. Very satisfying.

Then I felt like doing it again on toprope, and I fell off the new moves 10 times. Got so mad I almost screamed in frustration. Actually, maybe I did, I have to ask Gorm about that. Anyway, a few deep breaths and iron clad focus on the next necessary move instead of thinking about topping out from the get go saw me through the new beta easily enough and I cruised the route. Really goes to show how important it is to be fully focused on what is right in front of you, as opposed to the distant future (in this case topping out).

After this success we happily sauntered over to the next customer. I worked this route with Stine as well, and did all the moves on lead, but sadly not without several falls. But I felt confident and attacked it with all my force. On lead, naturally. Initial mantel move went smoothly, almost elegant, and I walked the ledge comfortably to the scary side pull. Nailed it with confidence. Then I forgot to clip the second bolt and went for the move that has spat me off more times than I can count. Fortunately I made it this time. If I had dropped I would have bitten the dust (best case scenario). Having made the move, I found myself staring at the unclipped bolt, and being in a very difficult position in terms of balance, I somehow managed to clip the bolt without falling off, while the blood was thundering in my ears from contemplating the consequences of taking ground falls, even if I was just 3ish meters above board. Then I fumbled the next sequence that was supposed to be easier, and I fell off. Again. And again. And again. No wait, that was the second attempt on toprope. I fell once on the lead attempt, then sent the damn thing. After blowing all my steam on the last 2 meters on toprope, I was so tired, and my fingers so raw that the mere thought of touching anything made me wince. So we called it a day, and went back to pack up our stuff and head back down.

As we did, the rest of the world started arriving. Man I do love an early start. Just me, my partner and nature. That is climbing at it’s best if you ask me.

Tuesday, June 14th Gorm and I met up for a bit of evening climbing at Hvalsberget crag. We decided to start on the left and just climb our way towards the right until we were nackered. As it turned out it was a nice progression from 5.6 to 5.10a. I was on lead and easily made my way up Emilstigen (5.6) before Gorm toproped it. Then followed similar ascents of Pysa and Slyngevalsen both 5.9 before I surprised myself with a confident and rapid send of the 5.10a called Pippi Langstrømpe (Pippi Longstockings), even though I remembered very little from last years send. Gorm struggled a bit with the crux move on Pippi, but got through and topped out. Nice easy day after yesterdays killer day at Hauktjern. Not to mention an oportunity to work on our footwork on relatively easy ground. And we always need that.

Even though I have just completed a handful of climbing days, I am better than last year. I am cooler under pressure, have better balance (probably a result of all the core training I have done), I am more inventive about the range of moves I can make (probably a result of countless hours spent watching climbing videos) and I am more confident (this surprises me). I don’t feel stronger in my fingers and pulling muscles, which is fine because technique is the way to go in the meantime. The strength will come rapidly now that I am climbing regularly. If the damn rain would quit that is. Forecast says it is going to rain every day for the next week. Indoor bouldering on the cards, but it is just not the same…

Anyway, we took a grand total of two pics, and none of them climbing related at all. I am posting them anyway. I have made a tentative agreement with a photographically inclined friend (Dan) to hoist him up and take pics and video of me and Gorm on a neighbouring route. We will see if I can hold him to it. He owes me something, I feel, as I am lending him my 40″ TV and high-end hi-fi system for the duration of my trip (actually longer since we set it up in his house on Wednesday of this week).

 

Big trip getting a lot closer

I bought tickets and travel insurance. Leave August 3rd and return December 19th. My move is also in the last phase now, then all that remains (apart from lots of training and climbing) is to sell my car. I will try to do that as close to my departure as possible to make getting to and from different crags easier.

Getting excited now…

Climbing, then not…

Went to Hauktjern with Stine (a friend I made in Lofoten last summer) on Wednesday of last week, and pulled some nice moves.

Warmed up on my favourite route at Veslefeltet, and then went on to try a couple of routes that beat me last summer. The first one is this really strange, but really cool little thing rated at 5.10b. It mixes these delicate balance/friction moves, with some really cool burly bouldering moves (at least I think so), and has a pretty scary finish with round sloper topout promising certain death if you slip (or at least a fall down most of the route). I did all the moves on lead, but sadly not in one go. Will send it next time though.

Funniest moment on the route was me trying again after watching Stine nail this one balancy move that I just couldn’t get right the first time I tried. She tried to talk me through it, and as my patience dwindled I told her that it was easy enough in theory, but I just couldn’t do it. And while I said it, I did it. Oddest thing ever. Cracked us both up.

Last route of the day was another 5.10 that I was one move from sending last year. Did it all on toprope, and did the crux move 2 times so I feel comfortable about sending it as well next time around. But my big toes were hurting like hell after trying to break in my new Mad Rock Mugen Tech’s. Awesome shoes by the way. They gave me a bit of an edge. 😉

Then Thursday rolled around, and Gorm and I drove out to Bera to work “Victoria uten egg”, a slab 5.11b. Warmed up on her cousin “Victor med egg” (I think it is a 5.9), before starting on the real deal. My big toes were still aching when I started, so I wasn’t too hopeful, but went to work non the less.

And while my toes hurt, the climbing felt good. My new shoes were rock solid on micro edges, and with a little trial and error, I was able to get to the crux in relatively good style. The crux shut me down though. I couldn’t find a way forward. couldn’t even find a move to fall on. Nothing. But I am hopeful that my toes, that were aflame at this point, distracted me too much for me to find the sequence through. Another one to come back to. Still sure I can do it though, as the climbing before the crux was really thin and balancy, but I managed to pull through. Hope my toes get used to the new shoes soon tho.

After that we did another 5.9 called “brødskiva” (means slice of bread). It is a pretty neat slab/edge route, and I did it twice in my old comfortable shoes. The difference in performance between the two pairs is now obvious to me. Where my Mugens can stand comfortably on dime edges, my Cliff 5s struggle with anything smaller than half an inch these days. Warmups and long, easy trad routes only for them from now on. Was frustrating to slip off things because of soft shoes…

All in all a good day of climbing at Bera, and we had a nice lunch in the grass before heading home to enjoy the rest of our day off.

Then the new week came, and promises to rain away. Gorm and I gambled and hiked up to Hauktjern today, but as we put our packs down at Veslefeltet, it started raining. We had some food under shelter of the pine trees, then hiked back down in the pouring rain. Depressing. Forecast says rain every day until Sunday. So probably no climbing until Monday because I am busy moving out this weekend. Complete f’ing fiasco.

But I got some pics.