Archive for July, 2011

Two in one post

Tuesday was severely disappointing. Hence the late post about it (might also have something to do with being busy as hell with prep for the trip and filling a container bound for africa, but I doubt it…).

I wanted to climb a 5.11b which has a rep for being the easiest of the grade in Oslo. Sadly, the left side was really wet, and I was only able to dry off a few holds. They proved not enough to make it. In the end, I was frustrated by a single move, where I wanted to go left, but couldn’t because of the wet rock. The rest of the route was easy. I won’t get a chance to go back before the trip, which is a little bummer because the weather has been great these last few days and the rock should be dry now. After drying my tears of frustration I decided to go for a neighboring route rated 5.11a. But it was also wet on the left side, and it seems it is not very popular because it needs a good cleaning towards the top part. Foiled by wet moss and a difficult early move. So no new sends for this trip. I hope I can blame the conditions, but I am not certain. Gorm managed all moves on the 5.11b, albeit not in succession, and not on lead. So it was doable. I had to settle for all moves save the one bastardly one…

Now to something completely different.

I am virtually all packed and ready for the trip. By tomorrow night my bags will be packed and all that will remain will be a couple of days of waiting. Then the epic can begin. Any attempt at describing how stoked I am right now would end up as a woeful understatement. Words, eh?

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Another defeat at the base of Muffinman (5.11a)

Gorm and I hooked up a toprope on Muffinman (5.11a) because we did  not trust the weather yesterday. And because it is so damn steep, it is a safe place even when it rains (but not when it pours, judging by the patterns down the wall).

A little bit of warmup, then I started out. The starting moves felt hard, but controlled, and I moved efficiently out the traverse. But when I got to the end where you have to start actually going up in the world, I just couldn’t make the push. 3 burns with the same result, no advancement compared to last year.

Gorm tried a little bit of new beta and got frustratingly close to completing the move. Twice he almost stuck the wicked move. I tried a ton of stuff, but came no closer than last season until my last burn. I used my knee to give me some support and it allowed me to reach for the sloper in decent control before I slipped off. But by that time there was almost nothing left in the tank. A 25 minute intensive power workout, work and then 10 burns on the damned Muffinman had taken everything out of me.

Maybe I’ll get one of those knee supports to give me some purchase up there… Anyway, I said there was no improvement over last year, and that is strictly speaking not true. The moves to the (first) crux were still hard, but I felt like I had more control than last year. But the big difference was evident at the setup for the crux move. Last year I got there and then I had to just pull off and hope for the best right away, or else I would fall off. This time I could set up and actually hang for a while before making the move, and a couple of times I even caught myself after an attempt and could make a second (albeit always lame) attempt. The most important thing was that I could take some time to look around and try new things. Unfortunately our process of elimination did nothing but eliminate. No obvious solution presented itself. Except, of course, getting stronger…

Ultimately very disappointing. I was dead sure I would get one step further this year. Hopefully I’ll get one more chance before I go. If not, I will crush the bastard next spring!

Early birds at Hvitebjørnsåsen Crag

We had an early start today, some might say too early, at least our third did, and it was just Gorm and I who rode to Hvitebjørnsåsen crag. We picked our destinations because of the proximity to the road, and the fact that it is steep enough to be protected if the forecast rain should arrive. It didn’t, but how could we know?

Climbing was hard from the get-go. I think I was a little sleep deprived, and felt sluggish and weak from the start. After a couple of burns on Slagkraftig (5.9)  I felt a little better, but nowhere near strong enough to venture over to Muffin Man (5.11a) or even Hackysack (5.10d), which I did all the moves on last time around these parts.

So we did a few burns each on Slagkraftig, both variations. Then Gorm wanted to test his new shoes on some slab edges, so I went up Nyansert Gange (5.7) and set up a toprope. After Gorm had given it a go, we let down the toprope over the overhang to the left between Taktisk Spill and Nyansert Gange for some burly pulling. I did my best, but just did not have the power to pull the holds on the final overhang. Did seem possible though, so I hope to return in better shape. But I might go for Muffin Man instead if that’s the case.

We left Hvitebjørnsåsen exhausted around noon, but satisfied we’d gotten some good burns in on a pretty lousy day.

No rock since Tuesday

But cardio is going well, I am still shedding weight and feeling better every damn day!

Also, my sessions with PT has been amazing. Just 25-30 minutes, but very intensive. Sessions on Monday and Friday both left me exhausted (in a good way) and dead sore the next day or two. Really good stuff! I have another four sessions before I’m of to Canada, so I think I will be getting exactly what I aimed for. An intensive, full body tune up. As well as some great exercises to take on the road, as we have not used a single machine. Almost all body weight exercises.

Weather allowing there will be some rock to pull on Sunday morning. If we get a third to go along, we will try to hang the lucky guy up the wall in a neighboring route and hopefully get some nice action shots from a different angle than “up the ass”. Should be good.

In the zone!

I started my day at the gym today. I have booked 6 sessions with a personal trainer to get some high intensity workouts in before the trip. The idea is to tighten up and add some explosive power to my repertoire.

And my trainer took his job seriously and almost killed me. Seriously, I thought I was going to pass out! Gotta love that! Amazing workout, that left me feeling like it was the first workout in a long, long time. Sore all over. But after a while it just felt good.

The hike from the parking lot and up to Hauktjern felt good, and  I was ready to pull some rock!

Warmup was a 5.10a called Skrabanek. It was always a fun route, but this time it felt really easy. I mean I totally crushed it in record time. The last few times I have climbed it, it has felt pretty easy after the slightly tricky first part, but this time I felt no tricky part. Really good omen for the harder stuff, I thought. Also nice to be able to do 5.10 as warmup, and have it feel like a warmup.

So we hauled our gear a little bit along the wall and I got ready to send “Hit og Dit”, a 5.10b I have been able to do all the moves on, but not yet sent on lead.  If started nice, I felt in control, and passed the crux with confidence. Then I dropped the beta for some reason and took a fall. And another. Took me 3 tries to get it right. Then Gorm crushed it on toprope before I set out again on lead. And botched it. I was getting pissed off, but tried to stay cool, even though each time I lowered down to start over again bothered me quite a bit. After a few frustrating tries, I finally nailed it and went all the way. Felt great! Such a tough send, struggle all the way, and I was proud that I had seen it through for the send.

I sent Gorm up again on toprope, and had him set up a toprope on the neighboring route, a 5.10d called” Ingen Heksekunst” (No witchcraft), to work it a little before we headed down again. As it turned out, the crux was the first 3-5 moves off the deck, and I struggled a long time with the delicate balancy moves which included a high step rock over with virtually nothing to hold on to. When I finally made it, the rest was pretty straightforward.

Gorm gave it a good go as well, but couldn’t quite nail the first moves, but when he pulled above them, he crushed the rest.

Then I pulled down the rope and prepared to give it a few goes on lead. Pre clipped the first bolt to avoid what I thought was an inevitable series of ground falls from the crux. surprisingly I just cruised past it first try, and crushed the rest pretty quickly. And that was my first 5.10d send! And it went second try! Oh how sweet it is. Next on the list (hopefully next week is a 5.11a called “Under tregrensa” (below the forest line, probably because it is next to a tree…). Looks doable from the ground, and my confidence is high. Really looking forward to working it.

Another kick-ass day at the crag. It just keeps getting better and better!

Back to Hvitebjørnsåsen crag

Today Gorm and I decided to go to Hvitebjørnsåsen and tick off some unfinished business. Two 5.10d’s that I did not stand a chance against last year. I have felt light years ahead this season, so it was time to test my enthusiasm against a grade I have yet to break through.

In all our excitement we (when I say we, I mean I as in me) forgot all about a pretty little thing called warm-up. So I burned out bad on the first choice. Felt sluggish, shit, upset, depressed, angry and got nowhere near completing the crux. So I left a quickdraw and bailed. Sat sulking for a while before Gorm gave it a go. He returned empty handed as well, and by then I had realized my mistake, so I was feeling better. Time to just pull down the rope and let it rip on the neighbour. So I did.

It was a struggle from the first bolt and to the top. But as you  can tell from that, I did make it all the way. Sadly not without incident. Took a few hangs before I nailed the first crux. Then a couple more at the second one.After a rest I tried to do it all in one go on top-rope, but had to hang once because I forgot to focus on my feet (at the last crux), and I fell off. Funny thing happened, though it is only funny in retrospect. At the time I had trouble seeing the humor in it.

So I went for the first crux with gusto on top-rope. Thought I had it dialed, but fell off. Thought it was because I messed up my feet placements. Tried it again, this time I took extra care to place my feet perfectly, and then I felt, and saw the damn tight rope blocking my arm as I reached for the final hold in the sequence. Screamed in fury, let go, and when I tried it with my hand on the other side of the rope from the start of the sequence I crushed it. Funny how some things just completely pass you by. I couldn’t believe I didn’t notice it the first time. But there it was. Shut down by the rope. I really must say, and I have told Gorm many times before for similar reasons, I hate climbing on toprope. Wouldn’t ever do it if it wasn’t for the time saved in getting back to the crux when redpointing.

Anywho, I have done all the moves, and the verdict is: Not really difficult, but has about 7-8 meters of very hard (for me) climbing. Fortunately it has ample rests, and the next time I am there, it will be sent. None of the moves are really that difficult, but because of the overhangs on both cruxes, it requires a bit of strength that I didn’t have before, but I have now.

So the climbing day started shit, got better and better, and in the end, I was super stoked because  I am so much stronger (relative to my weight at least) than last year, and it brings opportunities with it. So I am now enjoying a lite beer in celebration. And I got another reminder that warm ups are pretty neat.

 

All in all, another great vertical day.

 

 

Interesting article in Rock and Ice

In this article, my weight loss is compared with athletes using steroids, and the author asks if it should be considered cheating…