In the end I think that the rest was highly beneficial. If not for my battered skin I would have stuck with my 2 days on 1 day off schedule and likely worked my whole body into total exhaustion. I don't usually rest very much, but this route and the long walk were taking their toll on my body and especially my mind.
On Sunday I walked up the hill, headphones in my ears and stoke high. I had rested 5 days in the last week, and although my skin was thin I knew that I would have at least a couple good goes in me. The crag was crowded with people on vacation for a long weekend and the day was sunny and beautiful. Warmer weather was a welcome change for me, after a frequently bitter cold May. I warmed up as usual, and then tried the route. My first go I felt great getting to the final rest, as I usually did. The days of rest had helped I could tell, but it was difficult for me to wrap my head around my new beta.
I had visualized my other method so so many times in my head that I was still having trouble breaking free from it. For a solid month now I had used an - ever so slightly different - method and climbed into the upper boulder problem over 25 times, inching my way closer to the send, but repeatedly failing. I fell off in the usual place on my first try. I pulled up the rope, brushing as I returned to a familiar spot. I practiced the new method several times, while also aware that I needed to save power as it was intensely powerful on my shoulder. I lowered off.
Next try a sizable crowd had formed to watch my effort. I had just one more try left in my skin. Among the crowd were old friends, new friends and a group of stoked people that had seen my struggle and over the last month had watched and cheered me on as I repeatedly threw myself at this incredible route.
I made it to the crux. I nailed the move. I woke up from a dream, in a place I'd never been before. Exiting the upper boulder problem coming up from the ground with dozens of friends and strangers below yelling towards me, cheering for me. I knew that this was my opportunity and I eagerly sought to take it. As I drove leftward towards the final jug I screamed at the top of my lungs, releasing all the stress, all the anxiety and all the excitement that I felt in the moment. I rested shortly and made my way 50 feet through 7a terrain to the anchor. I clipped the anchor, the people below cheered and I felt pure elation.
A moment that I doubted would ever come had arrived and I was indescribably excited. I was greeted with champagne and high fives back on the ground. Now, 4 days later, I still feel excitement. I'm super proud of this one. I feel fortunate, I feel lucky and I feel very stoked. Thanks to everyone for the huge amounts of support over the years but certainly over the last few months.
Okay... well... Onward!