A blog about climbing full time on the road.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Rocklands Update

climbing sundial
Time to Sit: Our Climbing Sundial: Sleep,Coffee,Sit,Send!,Eat.

many pads
Loaded up for a day of climbing

It'd be almost a lie to not admit that as I write this post I'm drinking incredibly cheap scotch (called 100 Pipers by Seagram) and sitting by a dying fire at our campsite with the southern cross and the milky way overhead. The scotch is about 90 Rand for a bottle and that works out to about $10 a bottle. Cassie in the meanwhile is over at the campground bar (open Monday,Wednesday,Friday and Saturday and only about 100 meters from our tent) having a beer with Nancy to celebrate their sending of a very stout 7a (v6) called Human Energy. Let's see, it's been about a month since our last blog post and since it's going to take a little while let me throw another log on the fire as it's putting more smoke in my face than warmth.

Now lets see where did we last leave off. I guess that we caught everyone up with our first few weeks of climbing and our rest week of traveling. Since then we've been doing nothing but climbing. Cassie's finger is slowly improving. I usually ask every day how it feels and some days it's much better, but usually after climbing it's sore and a rest is needed. That being said I see her trusting it more and more each day and though I don't think it'll be totally healed by the time we're in Australia it seems that Cassie's ability to crush may be fully restored sometime when we are there. Why am I talking about Australia already? Seems surprising that we're only 2 weeks away from the end of our two months in Rocklands. It's been an amazing trip so far and we've even had a few discussions about coming back next year (for the parents reading this yes that would mean extending the trip by two months) but who knows this far out?

One of my favorite parts of the trip so far has been spending some time at a new area that some of the climbers in the campground are developing. Currently it's named Donkeyland and has some very good moderate climbs as well as a few harderish ones. In one day I managed to put up 7 new climbs all of which were fun and reasonably easy, plus I got to climb a bunch of lines others had climbed. Very cool when you know you're the first person to climb a particular line and the rock is so good it's already perfect for climbing.   We are planning on going back for another day in the near future.

donkeyland roof
Cassie on a Donkeyland roof climb

donkey land sloper arete
Matt on a Donkeyland arete

As for Cassie it's unfortunate that there has been a ton of climbing she has been obliged to walk away from given her injury and that's a really tough thing when the whole reason you are here is to climb. She did complete Human Energy though which is a problem most climbers (even those who have climbed v12) fall off of, so it's a very difficult climb and is well worth the effort she put into it. Even though it's been a whole month I don't have any other really cool sends to report for Cassie which gives you an idea how limited she has had to be with her climbing. It's not that she hasn't been trying things, it's just that there is usually a move that hurts her finger so she backs of rather than aggravate the injury. She's been a real trooper though and has stayed quite positive. It's helped that a fellow climber (Val) whom we met in Bishop has been here with a similar finger injury and has had to take it east as well. Both of them climb near the same grades and I don't doubt that they would be crimping their way to glory if not for those pesky finger injuries.

human energy
Human Energy

cassie on Human Energy
Cassie on Human Energy 7a v6

cassie on tea arch
Cassie on Tea Arch 7b (v7/8)

Luckily so far I've been able to avoid getting injured and have slowly recovered my strength. Shortly after getting back from our South African tour I put a few more days into a roof/compression climb called Poison Dwarf. I had put multiple days into it before we left but just didn't have the strenth to send. With our break and a bit more work it finally went down. It's my second 7b (v7/8) of Rocklands and all told I think I put 5 days into that climb. It has probably the single hardest move I've ever done on it where you have to fall into a compression move, it's an incredibly difficult move. I fell from the topout jugs and then sent the next go (anyone reading about my climbing knows I always fall off the topout jugs). After finishing Poison Dwarf I tried another climb called Born Into Struggle which I had put a day of effort into and surprisingly it went on my third try of the day. That felt pretty quick considering it's rated 7b+ (v8/9) and is right up there with the hardest climb I've done to date. With some hope that my strength is fully back I spent some time climbing with Georg and tried a few 7c and 7c+ climbs. Nothing has been completed yet, but we still have about 2 weeks left here. We'll definitely do one more post to fully complete our Rocklands trip blogging. Also, we've done enough video I expect to be able to put a short film together for Africa and Rocklands.

Matt on Poison Dwarf 7b (v7/8)

Reading this I realize how little I have to talk about with over 3 weeks of climbing, so it might be assumed that we haven't been climbing much, but rest assured we've done a ton of climbing and have had an excellent time.

totsemei 6c+
To Simay 6c+ (v5)

georg hole in one
Georg trying for a Hole in One 7c+ (v10)

val trackside arete 6c+
Val finishing up Trackside arete 6c+