Here’s the latest film I’ve put out on YouTube.
It is the 2014 Hueco Rock Rodeo.
Let me now what to put in there for next time, hope you liked watching it!
As always on road trips, it’s hard to update the website every week. I’ve been having so much fun here in the US but I’ve finally managed to sit down and write about it. I was in Las Vegas for a couple of weeks before coming down here to Hueco Tanks.
During my couple of weeks in Vegas I met up with the people I talked about in my previous post. Climbing with them was pretty easy as we all get along from the world cup season. From the climbs I did in Vegas, these were the most notable:
The hardest line I did in Vegas was hands down “Meadowlark Lemon” Boulder. The stand goes at V13 but has a funny start. The real line is definitely from the two big hole underclings at the bottom of the boulder (8B+, V14).
On the last day, I went to Black Velvet Canyon did another few really cool lines. “Abaddon”, pictured above went down in a few tries with some good beta from Katha Saurwein and Jorg Verhoeven (my professional spotters).
The line pictured above is the classic “Wet Dream”, maybe the best line of the canyon. It has some big moves with a scary topout. It also has a funny little fingerlock and some very low toe hooks. I fell there on the flash and it took me a couple of tries to sort out my footwork so I could swing my feet. After I figured it out, it went first try from the bottom!
The climb below was one that I couldn’t redpoint on this trip. It’s called “Clogging the Feed” and goes at 8A+, V12 I’m told. It has a very committing move and the start isn’t easy either!
After those weeks in Vegas, I drove down to Vegas with a quick stop at the grand canyon. We had a half day of climbing and the drove to the Canyon. I didn’t get to go to the best place but just the south rim at sunrise was a sight to see.
The next day we drove the rest of the way to Hueco Tanks. We’ve been here since the 10th and I’ve managed to have 3 days of climbing. The first day was worthless and the drive really seemed to destroy my body, fingers and mind. My second day was much better and I did a low roof start into Sarah Low on North Mountain. Sam Davis did the FA and called it “Sarah Jessica Parker” grading it 8B, V13.
I took a rest day and them went to East Mountain on a volunteer tour. I had a great day in the back country doing “Liane” 8A, V11 first go! I can’t call it a flash because I think I tried it a few years ago when I was here warming up. I also had my eyes set on “Li” 8B, V13 because it has such a funny move. You climb a couple easy moves, then grab a high undercling. From there, there aren’t very many feet and you do a huge move into a semi jug. From there, you climb a few hard moves and it’s done. Once you stick the jug, it’s supposed to be over, but that one move in itself gives it the V13 grade!
After that I was pretty tired but Katha wanted to try an 8A, V11 a few boulders away. I forget the name but it was very sharp. Katha sent it in a few goes and watching her send it gave me the courage and motivation to put on my shoes and try it myself. Everything went as planned and I flashed the boulder
We eventually made it down to Full Service area and I gave “Full Throttle” a few good tries. Unfortunately I was just too tired from my day to send the line. I made it past the “crux” a couple of times, but the real crux for me is sticking the first hold on “Dry Dock”. I did the upper moves enough times that I think if I stick the hole, I’ll be able to send the problem!
Today, I took a rest day leading up into the Rodeo tomorrow and I walked around North being a professional spotter. Mathilde Becerra had tried Chblanke a few days ago and went back there to try it today. In under an hour, she had done all the moves except the crux move and started giving goes from the bottom. She shares my mentality that the first time you stick the crux move, it might as well be from the beginning if the start isn’t too hard! It worked and quite unexpectedly she sent the boulder!
Tomorrow is the Rock Rodeo and I’m hosting a clinic on the Sunday. Lots of stuff happening and so many boulders to try. I still have about 10 days here so hopefully I’ll be able to send some more lines!
I know it’s been forever since I’ve written on my site and to be honest, I’ve been on vacation! I had a good month of no climbing and started again in January.
Now it’s time to look at 2014 and decide how my season will pan out. Before that starts though, it’s time to go on a road trip! I am currently in Las Vegas with good friend and old coach Mike Doyle. I’ll be here for a couple of weeks before heading down to Hueco Tanks for a couple of weeks there.
Mathilde Becerra, Katha Saurwein, Jorg Verhoeven, Jakob Schubert, Lukas Kob, Mario Lechner and Kathi Posch. They arrive in a couple of days and I’ve already been here for a week trying to get my bearings.
The last time I was in Las Vegas bouldering had to have been a few years ago and everything seems more developed now. In my 4 climbing days here, I climbed once in the Virgin River Gorge (VRG), onsighting “Fall of Man”, and then (failed onsight) “Don’t Call Me Dude” on my second try. Onsighting routes there are very hard, similar to that of Smith Rocks. No comparison to the Limestone cliffs in Europe. The really cool thing about the VRG is that it has a bunch of different climbing all in the same route. It can start a bit overhanging, then smooth out to vertical and finish on a hard slab!
The day after the VRG, I headed out with Kenny, Hans and Lindsey. We went up into a sector called the Juniper Area. It was a 45 minute hike, soooo long. It’s been a while since I’ve had to hike that far. It’s not that hard, just long. I’m so spoiled as a competition climber to just step into isolation and warm up. I did a few classics up there including “Community Service”, “Spartan Law” and the sector’s gem “Stand and Deliver”.
The past couple of days have been spent in the “Kraft Boulders”. These are the boulders that are most known in Las Vegas. It’s a short hike and most boulders are easy to find. The first boulder I walked up to was “A Clockwork Orange” (picured above) and I knew I had to try the line. It’s a big 20 foot gem on the front side of the first boulder you walk past. I tried a bunch of lines over the days, completing most of them.
The biggest thing I’m trying to do right now is get my body used to climbing on real rock. It’s so different from gym climbing, the mentality, movement and even headspace. In a gym training for competitions, we’re so used to training flashing, onsighting and quick decisions. While climbing outdoors, it’s all about little things sometimes, like which way your heel is facing on that weird heel hook.
I did manage a few ascents in the days as well including “The Book of Nightmares”, and a flash of “Lethal Design”! On the way out yesterday, I stopped at Clockwork. Kenny Barker was waiting there with a plethora of pads. I had one and Mike Doyle had another two, perfect. It was getting dark and I was the only one trying it, but eventually after 5 or 6 tries, it went down. Big thanks to those two brave spotters at the bottom because without them I wouldn’t have committed quite as hard as I did on the ascent. Got it on film, so “to follow”… It was basically dark while topping out and Mike had to shine his headlamp at my feet while down climbing the V3 to get off.
Today, I’ll head out to the Kraft boulders again to spot Kenny and carry pads. If I feel good, I might try my project, or I might just use it as a rest day. All I can say is that I’m psyched to climb outside for so long and after such a long hiatus. I’m committed to blog every week about my adventures so tune in and post stuff you want to hear about!