The front range is FINALLY cooling off!

Fall in the front range, such an amazing thing. It goes from being balls hot to reasonable in the span of a week. Climbing here gets so much better, too, as the rock gets less smarmy.  The psych levels def amp up for us climbers.

I’ve been working a climb at the new river wall in clear creek (I know, I sound like a broken record) called ‘enjoy your youth’ (13c). I first went down there to try it out about a month ago with my friend Brian Kimball (who bolted it, thanks bk!) Even though I was sick (a bad cold I picked up after my friends’ wedding) I figured out all the moves my first time on it. This was way more promising than the last climb I did, ‘sweet inspirations’.  In my head I was thinking it would go rather quickly based on this ‘promising’ feeling.

The next time I got on it, I was with my buddy Dusty. It was the day after a block party hosted by vine St pub and we were both sporting some serious hangovers.  not without effort, I managed a high point on my last burn of the day, linking to the last hard move of the first crux.  I was hoping for something better, but was ok with progress.

weather and scheduling kept me away for a bit, but I was able to get down there with my friend Keith about a week and a half later. he was working the same climb, which makes for an easy day, logistically. On his first burn of the day (2nd route, total) he easily fired through the crux, only to unfortunately stall and pump off in the middle of the final boulder problem of ‘sonic youth’. It was cool to watch. I, however, was not that lucky. I felt terrible, and actually made negative progress. Nothing felt right, I had no core tension, I just plain climbed like crap. I was extremely frustrated, and defeated. 3 attempts that day and nothing to show for it. unfortunately for Keith, it was a ‘first go, best go’ kind of day.

flash forward to today. Feeling a bit tired and run down, but was psyched to be heading down there with my buddy Shaun, who was psyched to try out ‘sonic youth’. I started the day off right with a proper breakfast at watercourse.  We met at the pullout at 1230, just as the sun was getting off the main face.  A few warmup laps on the 12b, and it was go time.

Complete failure! My feet wouldn’t stick to the shitty footholds, I again had no core tension, and I made even more negative progress. After feeling like I should be on to legit redpoint burns by now, to have to start relearning and reworking beta was a real kick in the teeth. I did figure out a better way to grab a hold in the middle of the crux, but I wasn’t about to hold my breath in anticipation of anything good. I lowered off fairly dejected.

My second burn felt terrible, too. I was second guessing myself on the entry slab, which goes at a mere 5.8. But I got to the start of the climb and fired out onto the overhanging face. Not good, not bad, I was just flowing through moves. I got to the jug at the start of the crux and didn’t feel TOO bad, so I gave it all I had. I placed my left foot on a really bad sloping edge and made the big move to the bad slopey crimp dish. I switched feet and fell into the good crimp with my right hand. At this point my right hand is usually fully open, and I’m barely hanging on. This time, though, I was able to stack my thumb on top and full on crimp! I switched feet again, hit the left hand crimp, and bumped to the pocket. I hit the correct spot, situated my feet as best I could and dropped my right hand towards the crimp I just bumped off of. I hit the hold, paused for a brief moment, and took a sizeable whip. high point!

I belayed Shaun on another climb, and while doing so, contemplated if I was actually going to get back on the project. I had a small snack and some water and decided to go for it.

This time I surprisingly stuck the down move to the crimp! My feet cut off and I had a brief moment of panic as I envisioned a large fall sending me into the slab! But I got my feet back on and composed myself and gingerly made my way over to the final awkward rest on ‘sonic youth’. I rested as much as I could, while mentally going through the beta for the final boulder problem. Not without a lot of effort and some not so flattering noises, I made it to the chains!

This one tested me mentally, as the negative progress I encountered was way worse than any climb I’ve been on.  I usually make steady progress until a send is imminent. But this one was a surprise. I’m just glad I took it to the top the first time I linked through the first crux. I’d like to think I learned something about the process of working a hard route, too.  As always, it’s on to the next challenge!

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