After hustling through some plastic workouts last week, Paige and I took off to celebrate my Birthday with some friends and one of our favorite dogs (taking care for our good friends) in Rifle. Friday I got stoked to check out Sam's new 'Let it Burn' 13d, which begins on the famed 'Sometimes Always' 13c and finishes the same ending as the 'Living the Dream' extension. I had yet to climb on Sometimes Always, but I heard it was a killer route and it was one to do on the mighty Project wall. I knew the new ending would add some difficulty and so I took off from the deck with little expectation. Paige was happily cheering me (it was my birthday after all) as I squirreled my way through the bottom of Sometimes Always, to find myself at a rest beneath a traverse towards the new extension. I fired through the exciting, bouldery traverse and entered the extension feeling alright.. before I knew it I was at the last great rest, rehearsing the finishing slab I'd only climbed once, over and over in my head- hoping my beta was correct. Thankfully it was, and I shortly there after clipped chains. Very much surprised myself with the first try summit. I then jumped onto Joey Kinder's new rig next door, a beastly route with hard cruxes separated by nice rests- it features a super weird slopping bevel that is tricky to surmount. I couldn't quite find an enjoyable method through it, but the rest of the route felt rad. Good luck to Joe and Sam on that thing!
Zala knows what you're thinking!!
Later that day I gave a go at 'Slice of Life' 13d. In classic rifle style, I found myself stumped at the crux- completely perplexed and not totally certain why some 'holds' where so excessively covered in chalk.. huh. Anyways, I had my cake already (both meaning I sent, and I actually did eat a significant portion of my birthday cake), so I called it a day and finished the night in the company of friends hanging out and shooting the shit. The next morning, after conversing with a few people about Slice, I went back and managed to finish it's twin, 'Piece of Cake' via some more straight forward resistance which I totally thought could carry the 13d grade, but apparently is given the c. I continued on to have a look at 'Huge' 13d as well, thinking that maybe I could squeeze one more route out of my exhaustion.. Betaless, I fumbled my onsight quickly, and went about slowly crawling my way through the crux bolt by bolt to suss beta. This route is AMAZING. It is definitely one of my favorites at Rifle- a bouldery, thuggy crux starts things off, followed by a difficult resistance section, followed by a long pumpy 12+ zone to a finishing crux up top. The route is massive (thus the name) and the rock is bullet- super nice climbing. Tired, I hopelessly tried shortly after my first burn and failed immediately. I brushed a few things and lowered, belaying Paige as she came damn close to doing 'Living in Fear'.
I've been really pleased with myself lately in that I've managed to come through in the last effort of the day, when I'm tired and busted. Just when I know I should probably call it quits, I rally up the energy for a hail mary burn.. There's nothing to loose really- we've all failed before- but success on the final attempt feels incredible. I'm always extra stoked when I can bring down a route in this state, and honestly it's these attempts that really get me motivated. One more burn, one more burn.. and thankfully Saturday was no exception- I managed to put down Huge on my hail mary third try. Nice two days at Rifle, and we were off to get home in time for an epic rest day at the nations largest water park.. best $29 I ever spent!
proper birthday snacks
For now, I think that's a rap for me at Rifle- a great way to go out. I've been climbing there a lot recently, and I think I've finally acquired the skill set I was looking for. While I've learned to like it there, a few aspects of the place still rub me the wrong way. Thankfully I managed to put a handful of rad climbs to rest, and got a thorough introduction to blocky limestone. In the meantime I'll be working often, but also making use of long weekends and working towards my next set of goals.
Sportiva just put up a little beta piece I did for the LIVE site on Eastern Washington's own, Deep Creek with a couple photos- check it here. Speaking of photos, I just got my new DSLR and I couldn't be more stoked to shoot! hope you enjoy a couple of my first pictures with it.