Monday, November 17, 2008

A Muerte!

The recently concluded novice climbing competition was an inspiring one.  Though it was a battle to the death, “A Muerte”, it was amongst friends, some new and some old and no one got hurt.  Well at least physically. 

The night before the competition, we set the routes that would challenge these saplings.  We tried our best to conjure up creative routes that would test physical fitness and problem solving might.  It was a long night and we truly hoped to have done a great job. 

The competition started half past 11 of the next day.  The isolation zone got full and slowly the heat and humidity within the small make shiftroom escalated to a level that could rival a sauna. Well, that’s the reality of climbing in a tropical weather country. And true, the initiation to a formal competition format really does include the excruciating pain and agony of the wait in an isolation zone.  While filling up the iso area, it had become apparent that some tweaking had to be done on last night’s routes.  It seemed that some of the routes were a bit too harsh. It’s a problem easily rectified but could have been avoided with proper pre-registration.  Log in your height, weight, sex, years climbing etc. days before the comp.  Yes, I also feel that’s too much to ask but proper routes come from well anticipated pool of participants.  It’s either that or vote for a bunch of soft-hearted, kind, and peaceful route setters. 

“A Muerte!”  The competition was tough.  Multiple top-outs in the women’s category forced Gale Roque, Chesca Galang, Mhick Tejares and Ken Banzon into a four-way superfinal. Gale’s pragmatic climbing took her to match Chesca’s high point.  Mhick cruised the early stages of the route to fall from a burly dead point to a pocket but it was Ken, powering her way into a campus move on the roof, that out matched Mhick’s high point.  Ken took top podium followed by Mhick and tied for 3rd are Gale and Chesca. 

In the men’s category, one by one the finalists took their attempt. The route started with a sketchy balancey gaston eliminating some climbers early. It leads to a corner that allows for a body tensing left cross from a slopey under cut further cutting down the pack.   Moving into the roof section found some climbers failing on the dynamic crux.  A series of momentum laced moves had climbers cutting loose from the feet and some falling off totally.  Emerging from this section is Ronald Halili in 3rd  falling slightly behind Hiro Mashida in 2nd.   Ferdinand Mansibang moved fast and strong early on the route. He powered his way through the cruxes.  Keeping to the edge of their seats, the crowd watched Ferdinand cruise the evil sections that gave problems to previous attempts.  From almost falling to quickly recovering and then almost falling again to quickly recovering again, the roller coaster ride kept the audience watching.  It was a spectacular show.  He finished 1st on the podium. 

The competition ended with a slideshow by Miel Pahati and Marco Malacca.  Thanks to all the participants and sponsors.  We’ll be seeing all of you soon again.  Keep climbing - “A Muerte!”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Bouldering Sensation

My eyes trail a small bead of sweat as it drops from my forehead…..  It falls for an eternity….. an eternity that lasts short of a second.  Its perfect globule hovers over the thick humid air, hits the floor and makes a loud spattering sound, sending waves that echo to my ear.  It is the only sound audible to me.  More beads of sweat trickle down my face.  Each breath I take continues to warm the air around me.  Vapors escape my collar and streams of sweat run down my neck and down my torso.  I could feel each rivulet running down like rivers of fresh water that seem to wash off some heat and leave subtle sensations that partially cool my skin.  I feel the pounding of my pulse from my finger tips, down through my veins and through my ears.  I could hear my heartbeat without effort.  My fingers look steady but I feel them expanding with each rhythmic pulse.  I stare blankly upon my fingers, scanning, but not knowing what to look for. It could perhaps be a clue that could tell me to stop climbing….. There’s none to see.  All I see are white fingers, dry and heavily callused.  I trace each thumb across my finger tips.  What remains unseen surely is felt by my raw sensitive skin.  Each tap felt piercing.  Even the softest touch left sharp impressions that collapse my morale.  The boulder problem comes into focus as I sink my hands into my chalk bag.  More of the white powder flies into the air forming a foreground that I walk through to the base of the boulder.  I clap the excess chalk off my hands and sit down slowly whilst looking up for the first holds. The touch of the holds triggers subsonic electric impulses that send warning signals across my brain.  The pain spirals up as I bear down and lift my feet off the ground.  The holds light up.  They become vivid and seem to present themselves in crystal clarity.  They grow bigger as I continue to move towards each one.  My arms cut through the air like hot knife over butter.  Each cut parts air and produces an inaudible sound that can be felt.  Short powerful burst of air heaves out from my lungs.  Breathing becomes heavy and each breath become primal screams for continued existence.  Each powerful move numbs my senses for a while. I’m moving and I’m suddenly lost in the flurry of unending energy.  The last hold comes into view…..  A last full effort consolidates.  My feet dig in, my fingers resolve to the pain and an inner core of energy mounts for one more huge move.   The mind and the body unwind.  Like a spring uncoiled, both feet lets loose, both hands move towards it’s intended destination….. I float into the air,  it feels like an eternity….. an eternity that lasts short of a second…..  the end doesn’t matter.