Wednesday, October 26

inspired, prepared

Before I take off about what I've been up to down here in lovely rural Kentucky, I'd like to draw attention to the efforts of a number of my friends and fellow athletes. A string of accomplishments over the last few months have been a major source of inspiration for me, and in my opinion, represent something much greater than just a laundry list of names and big numbers. It seems clear to me that through a handful of different powerful athletes there has been a collective breakthrough for American Women in the realm of sport climbing. Standards have been creeping over the past few years, but most recently they have erupted. Jen Vennon's burly ascent of 'Stockboys Revenge' 14b, Paige Claassen finishing off the Monastery with 'Third Millennium' 14a and 'Dreamcatcher' 13d, Emily Harrington doing the super bouldery 'Waka Flocka' 14b, Chelsea Rude climbing her first 14a in just a few attempts, Aly Dorey also doing her first 14a with the '7PM Show' and of course, Sasha Digiulian making history by taking down my route, 'Pure Imagination' 14d. This is an impressive list of accomplishments, period. The fact that all of these ascents happened within the last few months, to me, represents something greater. Five years ago it seemed like one American Women climbing one 5.14 was a big deal. I've just listed 6 off the top of my head (if I missed anyone please inform me). I believe that these women (and many others) are just realizing their potential, and every additional impressive accomplishment is only fueling each other's drive. Psyched for you ladies!

In slightly less inspiring news, the weather has been not super great around here. In a little over 2 weeks I've had 3 nice and cool days.... I decided last week that while the temps remain not ideal I would invest energy into lining up projects for November. I've been splitting my time between the occasional fitness day and long days of cleaning and bolting. Not to mention a couple of enjoyable rest days at Keeneland, checking out the interesting world of horse racing...
I did get a chance to climb at the Midnight Surf for the first time, a big, unique wall in the Muir Valley that was developed just recently in a mega essentially solo effort by Kipp Trummel. Respect. It features big blank sections of stone and small cut roofs out an impressive amphitheater. I really enjoyed the token classic, 'Cell Block 6' 12c and the dynamic 'Tapeworm' 12d along with the pumpy and fun 'Farewell to Arms' 13a.

I've gotten back to the Darkside once as well, in good temps. I was very pleased to make my way through the entire bottom boulder problem on the Vader Project-- a huge breakthrough for me on the route. And I even linked from there to an upper section. I've got one more move to suss out before my redpoint process can begin. This thing is the real deal... bouldery and packed with difficulty. I'm super excited to spend more time on it.
cleaned this HUGE spider off the Vader Project, twice... he came back
Getting out the drill, hauling big packs, brushing, chalking virgin holds and bushwhacking has reminded me of how driven I am by new routes. Over the last week, I've been much more inspired by a long day of bolting than I have by a day of climbing. I've got three beautiful, motivating projects lined up for cool temps, and hopefully I'll get one more in soon. New routes have unquestionably become my driving passion over the last few years, and I'm very happy to make a number of contributions to the Red. Stoked for November.