Thursday, April 24, 2008

Layers . . .

It's amazing that sometimes, as a climber, I feel moments of strength and synergy, a time when everything goes well together in a single instant.  What seems so impossible becomes easy without knowing why or without totally paying attention to the problem.  I look at my hands and feel power and I feel so ruthless on the rock.  All that skin biting back at the rock instead of the rock telling you to back down.   

Most of the time however I'm always trying and sometimes I get to peel off layers of skin from trying too hard.  At times I get two or three bad flappers in ovelapping days.  Right now I'm looking at them, one already healed, one just drying up and one really raw one.  It makes me think and I'm amazed again.  These times when I feel weak and beaten up, when the pain swells up my brain, when I'm tired and wasted are the times that makes that single, effortless passing moment during a climb so grand.  I think if it's not for the number of times I fail on the rock or peel off layers of skin from my fingers I wouldn't appreciate climbing that well.

To feel weakness I think is the first part of feeling strength.  Hopefully though  I wouldn't get to  peel anymore layers of skin this week.  

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Barbara Z. – Manalmon Rain (Part 2)

Skin and slopers and chalk and dust, it’s the story so far on Barbara Z.  It’s our second visit to the boulder this year.

April 13, 2008.  It’s been weeks since Me and Miel had our last encounter with this ominous boulder problem.  Maybe I just imagined too much of the enigma so linked with the problem.  I couldn’t get the thought off my mind of getting to latch the crimps only to falter on the dyno for an impossible sloper.  It’s as if I’m already preparing myself to fail.  Hopefully this changes. 
Below the boulder, now with Kristian, we again start cleaning up the problem which remain to draw us with it’s long standing history.  With the dry spell cast on Manalmon a few more crimpers show up.  A few brush strokes then suddenly Barbara Z. looked different.  Warming up to the moves on the problem took a while.  Each attempt took us one move further at a time.  Crimpers began to bite down and every try at the problem became more painful than the last.   With each unlocking of a sequence came more of the puzzles that kept coming.

It was certain that this problem would consume us.  It was a race with what our minds and bodies were willing to give against the rate at which the boulder would be eating us up. Kristian stuck the dyno to the sloper! The crimp that looked key came next!  Everyone got on their feet to transfer some energy … then blank.  The sequence to the sloper got clear but the pain on our finger tips crawled up to our brains simply shutting us down.  We tried the new efficient sequence again and again but it was becoming more and more difficult to let go of the pain and just climb.  Sure, the problem felt better.  We packed up knowing we’re one step closer to realizing a puzzle.