Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bring me a new year

2009 is almost gone....first decade of the new century coming to a close and I can't wait for a fresh start in 2010. This past year the forces seemed to have been conspiring against me in all manner of ways to keep me from climbing as much as I normally do. I was out with injury for almost 6 of the 12 months and other things ranging from birth, rain, parenting, peregrines, death, money, work and split finger tips kept me off the rocks way too much.

The latter half of the year I spent an inordinate amount of time working on my superproject up at the highgrade wall in marshfield, VT. I got close....I was gonna do it for sure....then once it finally got cold enough so that I could hold some of the crux grips, we had a good bit of rain and the lack of foliage to absorb the ground water, caused a few incipient seeps to form on a couple of the key holds and I was screwed. But I haven't lost hope and my new plan is to wait until the dead of winter when the ground is completely frozen, so my only battle will be staying warm and not getting snow in my rock shoes.

The last post I wrote showed a video of my friend Matt McCormick taking a crazy fall off his project at the Spiders Web in the Adirondacks. He has since completed it ("Wheelin n Dealin 5.13c R) and thus opened it up for business. Mad props to Matty for such perseverance...sick work. He and I went back over there in October shortly after his success so I could give it a lead attempt. The night before I lay in bed trying and failing not to think about it in order to keep my heart rate down and actually get some sleep. The thing is that frightening. So the next morning we got up to the cliff and warmed up. Then after top roping it to re learn the crux and get the gear dialed with the half blind placements and tenuous body positions I tied in to give it a lead. Up I went through the bottom moves stuck the low crux with a bit of difficulty and got to the big horizontal below the true crux....after slowing my heart rate I took off...highstep, lockoff, pull, gaston, sidepull, fingerlock....sink the small nut, stuff in the tipped out alien and commit. I got right up to the double gastons, the same postition Matt took the cartwheel whipper from, I however hadn't been relaxed enough or climbed all that smoothly and I was PUMPED...I gave a desperate attempt to flip the lower left hand from a gaston to a side pull and fell out into space accelerating rapidly and choking out some sort of high pitched squeel for a nice 30 footer all the way down to the lower roof.
Thankfully the tipped out alien held. I was psyched to have taken the fall as it had been a long time since I had had such an exhilarating climbing experience....I was not so psyched however to see the clouds parting and a big sunny sucker hole opening up and the low autumn sun blasting the cliff and heating up the rock. I resigned to give up for the day, I was due to leave for the red river gorge in Kentucky in a few days and didn't want to split my tips on the razor sharp crimps up in the crux. A while later however a thin veil of clouds came in and obscured the sun as well as my excuse for not wanting to try, I sacked up, tied in, climbed a little smoother, ended up placing one of the pieces of gear from a different position on the fly saving myself a bit of energy and got through the crux by the skin of my teeth. The last 40 feet of 5.11 over shit gear kept me at redline pump physically as well as mentally for if any holds were to break and you fell on the shitty rps and they pulled you would go to the ground. I clipped the anchor feeling totally exhausted but super stoked. Definitely one of the raddest rock climbs in the northeast. Check out to see a little video he put together of his attempts and redpoint of Wheelin n Dealin 5.13c R.

The next week I headed down to Kentucky for the seasonal dose of steep sandstone. First off I had to finish up a route at the Drive-by crag that I'd tried last spring. Bolted by Joe Kinder last fall and FA'd by a world class egomaniac german dude in the spring, "SuperCharger" (sandbag 5.13d) is a great addition to the wealth of climbing down at the Red. It has rad compression style boulder problems and is true power endurance on super fun pinches and slopers. Prior to the coming to the Red I'd been setting boulder problems for a comp and trying my super power oriented project at the Marshfield and my endurance was lacking. I felt like I spent most of my trip getting in shape for the Red and then right before leaving managed to send "SuperCharger" and "Gods Own Stone" 5.14a. Here is a picture of some dude on Gods Own right in the crux on some meager sloping half pad dishes. Notice he's rocking the Mica T shirt. My favorite indestructible mammut t shirt.
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This route is another somewhat atypical route for the Red. Relatively short, and up to the crux its all nails down crimping so that when you fall off you aren't even pumped, practically unheard of for the Red. There is also some pretty precise foot work on thin edges smears and pockets...also a rarity down there. I was super psyched with the performance of the Mammut Samurai's on this route, this shoe is true ninja footwear. On par with sportivas testarossa (which it ought to be given it was designed by the same guy famed Scarpa shoe designer Heinz Mariacher)
Anyway great lessons in patience and understanding this past year and I'm psyched to stay healthy and try to go to the winter trade show in SLC, compete in the sport climbing nationals, and get a bit of craggin in southern utah next month.

stay safe and healthy ya'll
Peter Kamitses
Burlington, Vermont

1 comment:

Christine said...

(Hi, by the way.) I went to Matt's blog to link the video of his send... but no bueno. Dang!

Maybe I'll see you in SLC, though I'm not really "living" there (or anywhere) right now...

-C(hristine Balaz)