|A throw back from the first time I tried Crystal Dawn, a day with Tommy a few years back - Andrew Burr photo of the crux pitch.|
|Seth on his route, 'Crown of Thorns'|
On day one, Seth and I climbed the hyper-classic 2 pitch 'Vesper' 5.12 and as we were lowering off I spotted a line of barely there rounded pockets and Verdon-esque edges on the clean wall below. It's moments like this that we route developers straight freak out. We were all set to wrap the day and jet as the sun was low in the sky, but suddenly my mission was to get a static line back up there. I was so shocked by its exceptional quality and the fact that it had not yet been bolted that I seriously think some part of me was worried that someone would come and bolt it that night in the dark. How could people have missed this!?
Seth ran back up Vesper and hung a line for the next day. Tuesday we went out and finished up shooting and afterward I hurriedly jumared up the line and sunk the metal, easily cleaning the entire route with just a brush in under an hour. In a state of extreme fatigue from 6 days on, I threw myself at this beautiful route. It gradually gets thinner and harder as you approach the shared finish with Vesper - and on my first two tries I couldn't quite keep it together til the end. Thin, sloppy and slippery pockets pepper the otherwise blank face. Absolutely bullet stone. I puled the rope knowing that I probably hard energy for just one last try (not that I had energy for the first try) and that with just 5 busy more days left in Vegas I may not get back here.
|Keith Ladzinski shot of Whitney Boland crushing 'Vesper' - my route 'Air France' ascends the dotted line below here to share the same finish.|
The rest of the week I trained and packed up before doing 2 full days of clinics at the Annual Red Rock Rendezvous, which went very well as usual. I had stoked people in my clinics and despite some other-than-ideal weather we got a bunch of climbing in. Big thanks to Metolius for bringing me out there!
The morning after the event I hit the road. With Vegas once again in my rearview, I was especially saddened to be saying goodbye. It was a particularly great year for me, no doubt thanks to my training efforts beginning in November and also thanks to a great crew of motivated people out there. Every year I return to the desert I find a hundred new rad things to sink my teeth into and I love the place that much more. I'll sincerely miss you Las Vegas! Until next time.
One quick note. If you're in the market for a training resource - this is the single best book out there, and it's just about to be available. Mark and Mike have their science and methods nailed down - and both have seen the process work very well for them. Have a look here.