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It can be really draining trying a problem over and over. And trying a single move for days on end can seem like a complete waste of time, particularly if you have the attention span of a goldfish, like me. Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah…I spied this beautiful prow about four months ago, but didn’t even wander up to have a proper look at it until a couple of weeks later. I was immediately blown away by how perfect the rock was and how difficult each individual move would be. Initially, I was only able to do three of the eleven moves, but could conceive doing all but one of them.
I have done of lot of new problems this year and it has been incredible. Most of them have taken only a session or two to knock over, apart from the Taken, which due to its height proved more of an issue. But, I have lacked something really hard to throw myself at. This prow would be perfect. The crux is low to the ground, easily worked on without a spotter and it is close to home, so after work sessions were a go.I have never spent that much time on a problem, nor a route for that matter. Normally, either I do the moves quickly and then the problem or I can’t do a move or two and I move on. Not this time. I was pretty sure that the crux would go down, but I would have to train for it.
It wasn’t a power issue either I didn’t think, but more of a body tension thing. So, I went to work on the swiss ball, at the same time as trying the problem a couple of times a week. Anytime that I sat down in front of the tele I would do some sit ups or stabilizing exercises. The benefits were pretty immediate. On an afternoon out with Chook, I managed to do the problem from post-crux to the top. I was chuffed and had a renewed sense of purpose. At times I was pretty dejected about the whole thing, I had tried the crux move at least a hundred times and was making very little progress. The crux is a weird move, a proper compression slap from a good hold on your right, underneath the roof, to a single pad, slightly off camber hold. You have a toe hook on the arete with your left foot and a scummy heel toe with your right. Left hand open-handing the arete. There was so much momentum, that every time I fell from the hold I would end up about a meter downhill from where my left hand had started.
It was draining too. Maybe three or four adult tries and then another ten weaker attempts and that would be it for the session. Day eight on the problem and I still hadn’t done the move, I was getting cabin fever from sitting underneath the roof for so long, trying to envisage another way of doing the move. The session before I had paused on the hold and fallen directly underneath the holds, but that was the most progress I had made in four weeks. Matt and Vanessa were up for the weekend, which always boosts my psych. Since those guys moved here, I have been more motivated than ever. Their enthusiasm for climbing and general good humor is infectious, not to mention the fact that they know all the same movie quotes as me… Anyways, Ness was on camera and Matt on spotting duty. I got him to take a little weight through the move, trying to train my body to remember how to catch the hold. After a couple of attempts, with very little assistance, I did the move and then, after a brief rest, I did it on my own. I was elated. I was so happy, I considered just calling it a day there and then coming back to finish the problem.
Matt and Ness were having none of it, so I tried it from the start. All of a sudden I was at the last move, but a bit of slippage and I was off. Normally, I would be pretty angry, but I was so surprised to get there that it didn’t matter. Twice more I did the same thing. So close, but I was smoked. Ah well, I guess I could come back during the week with a spotter and get it done. Again, the guys talked me into one last go. And thank fuck they did, as that was the money shot. I cruised through the crux and slapped with renewed energy, until only the difficult top out remained. I slapped blindly to the top and missed the hold, but was so determined that I dropped my hand back and went again, grovelled around and then swung my body back on to the slab and rocked it out to the top. Red Mist was born. I gave it 8a+, but it’s probably harder, we’ll just have to wait and see… Thanks again to all those who spotted me and provided moral support.