Monday, October 4, 2010

The "Proj"

Gotta have a good knot

After many attempts, I finally completed my first 5.12a redpoint of this really fun 1 pitch sport climb at Little Si in WA. The name of the climb is rainy day women and I've heard it's the most projected line in Washington. I can definitely understand why! No move is too ridiculously hard, it is steep and there are lots of bolts. It is just long (about 90ft), very sequential, and lots of enduro-power moves, at least for me!

I never thought I could become mildly obsessed with a short, little climb and it seems a little silly to be writing about....but it was a goal and it feels dam good to have accomplished it. Last spring, I started climbing at Little Si a lot. The ultimate goal was to learn how to sport climb. My friend Patrick took me under his wing and graciously put the rope up for me as a struggled up the climbs that he seemed to effortlessly float up. I didn't know how to move on overhanging terrain. I didn't know the beta for the climbs. I couldn't hold onto tiny holds. I didn't know how to fall. The first time I tried Rainy Day Women, I can't even remember how many times I hung on it. When Patrick lowered me back down, I remember saying I think I could do this someday. Maybe this will be my first "project." As a sidenote, the word "project" always made me laugh. It sounded so serious and for me climbing has mainly just been about having fun, going on adventures, while trying to get better. But I thought I would give this project thing a try. Turns out, its kinda addicting.

I tried my project a couple other times on top rope before feeling confident enough to lead it. When I got all the moves fairly wired, I felt ready to give it a go. Again, I hung so many, many times. I was afraid to fall. I kept saying take and wasn't going for it. I knew what I had to differently next time.

A couple weeks later, I came out there with Jeanna and we were both determined to send rainy day. I was feeling really good. Everything was going smoothly, even the spots that were so hard last time. Only three bolts from the top, I felt so tired and forgot what to do with my hands and feet. I still tried really hard and then was off, flying through the air for a 20 footer. It was a good fall and helped me remember that climbing ropes, quickdraws and bolts really do work! I felt like I had really made some progress. Jeanna went next and she sent it with no problem. I was inspired and motivated by her graceful performance and was ready to try it again. Again, I got to the same part and fell again. This time I was really frustrated. I felt myself comparing myself to Jeanna and just not having fun. I knew I needed a break from this climb.

A couple months went by where I climbed elsewhere and just did other things. I started nursing school and became really busy but somehow managed to find time to squeeze in a half day of climbing between all the studying. Jonathon and I drove out to Little Si and I knew it would probably be one of my last days to try it before getting swamped with school and losing my fitness. I felt like I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and I felt nervous. I wasn't having any positive visualizations. We ran into my friend Kevin at the base just before he was heading up rainy day and he asked me if I wanted him to leave the draws hanging. That was all the encouragement I needed. Once I started climbing, everything went so smoothly. When I got to the part where I fell the last times, I rested for a while and planned out my moves and where I would be standing to clip the next draw. I moved through that section and had just one more hard move before the jugs to the anchor. I struggled with the last move...where do I put my foot? Is it this high? I can't reach the hold! Somehow, I stuck with it and made it to the chains. It was such a relief and I was very happy to put this "project" behind me.

Tired and Happy!

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