Friday, June 6, 2014

Catching Up

Sorry I have been lazy about keeping the blog up over the last week or so. I needed a rest week from training, climbing and, I guess from blogging too.

By my judgement I had a good May, at least in comparison to my climbing over the last decade. The days leading up to, and including, Memorial Day weekend were no exception to that trend. I kicked my Memorial Day weekend off on Wednesday with a top rope send of a long-standing nemesis of mine at Horse Rampart. I took Thursday off from climbing, so I could see the Doctor about the nagging pain in shoulder/neck. On Friday, Christina and I agreed to meet my friends Willie and Heather at the Lake for a little more climbing.


I hurried through my Friday afternoon tasks, and practically sprinted out to my car in order to get to the crag as quickly as possible. The weather was beautiful, I was psyched, and the perfect tune was on the stereo:

I rushed up the CCC trail, found Willie and Heather, and then set a top rope on Acid Rock (5.12a). Willie, Heather and some friends had a top rope setup on Chicago (5.9) and Brinton's Crack (5.6). Using the rope they had set on Brinton's Crack, I warmed up on Brinton's Direct (5.8+). It was cool to get on Brinton's Direct after not having been on it (at least according to my records) since the fall of 2006. This spring has involved a lot of rediscovery for me, and in the process I have learned just how quickly time can slip away if I do not pay attention.

Heather took a quick burn on Brinton's Direct, and then we all headed up to the ledge below Acid Rock. I had worked it the previous weekend and made good progress, but I was too gassed to complete it after running that morning. However, this Friday night, I was feeling well rested, and psyched! Maybe too psyched, because I felt like I made a bit of a mockery out of the middle of the route on my first go. Still, I somehow managed to make it to the good rest that separates the lower section from the upper crux. I rested and shook for a long time, then climbed into the upper crux, it felt weird, my strength was rapidly waning, and so I threw for the wrong hold and popped off. Feeling confused, I hung on the rope for a bit, and tried to figure out the sequence I would want on my next go.

I lowered down, and then Willie and Heather each decided to give it a go. While they were working on it, Christina showed up after leaving the Hankster with his baby sitter for the night. She was psyched to give Brinton's Crack a go, and so she tied in at the base. This was the first bit of "real" rock climbing Christina had done in a few years - so neither she nor I was expecting too much. After an impressive effort, she got it done, it was awesome to see all the hard work she has been putting in lately payoff.

Since Willie and Heather had been out for most of the day, they decided to call it a night and hiked around to the top in order to tear down their setups. Christina and I made our way back up to the ledge below Acid Rock so I could give it one more burn. I grunted my through the bottom crux to the good rest, hung out there a bit and then grunted my way to the top, while Willie and Heather watched. Yes, my first 5.12 was that anti-climactic. I was psyched!

After that, Christina and I moved our rope over to Two Pines Buttress so she could work on her long-standing project, Mouse's Misery(5.10a) - a personal favorite of mine as well. I did a lap on Mouse's and followed it up with a lap on Big Deal(5.10a). We wound down the night there, and headed home.


Saturday morning I had agreed to meet up with Willie and Heather again, but this time at Petenwell Bluff outside of Necedah - one of Wisconsin's sandstone gems. We started the day at the Y-Crack Wall on Tower Route(5.10a), which Willie and I both led and Heather top roped. Then we moved to its neighboring route Dakota Farms Cheese(5.11a) which Willie and I both led clean (after some rehearsal) and Heather made an impressive bolt-to-bolt effort on.

The crowds and sun were increasing, so we headed over to The Brig with my buddies John and Paul who had joined us after a few routes on their own. I failed to onsight Step by Step(5.10a/b) taking a whipper right below the chains. Willie had much better luck on Slippery Slope(5.10a) which he hiked onsight. I got back on Step by Step to get it clean, John and Paul worked a few top rope problems and headed over to Air(5.6). Heather spent some time on Slippery Slope working on her lead head, and made great progress. After that Willie and I decided to clean up the day on Schlickery When Wet (5.10a) - which we both managed to lead on our first go.


Sunday started off what would become a week of rest for me. Christina, Hank, Jenny and I drove to Minneapolis for a wedding. I did a quick three-mile run to blow the cobwebs out, and then we headed to my good friend Chris's wedding - it was a blast.

Since then:

Since then I have been pretty lazy about blogging and not much better about training, but that is okay, my body needed the rest. May was a good month for me as far as pushing my limits. According to my stats 7-out-of-10 of my hardest routes in the last year were done in May, and 5-out-of-10 of my hardest routes ever were done in May. I am not resting on my laurels however, this week I have gotten back on the horse with some mid-week workouts, and plan to get out climbing most of this weekend. Over the next few weeks as my Bighorns trip approaches my focus is going to shift into cardiovascular training and traditional leading to prepare myself for new-routing in the Bighorns. I am psyched.

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