Thursday, June 5


Since I last wrote quite a bit has happened in my life. For the last couple weeks I have continued my efforts on Biographie, although in reality, unfortunately I was climbing very little. Through freezing wind, aggressive work sessions and generally just trying hard I had essentially ruined my skin. It was a terribly frustrating process and it seemed as though just when one finger split was healing, another one was opening up. For the last 2 or 3 weeks I had only really climbed on the route a handful of times, otherwise I was resting, diligently taking care of my skin and hoping for some of it to recover. In the off days I would sometimes do little work outs in our gite, lifting bags of wine bottles, doing core exercises and hanging on random door jams. It was really, really difficult for me to rest so much, especially when I was so stoked to climb and moreover especially because last week I made some very inspirational beta refinement in the upper crux that I though could be my ticket to success.

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.
Thanks to my friends and family for all the support. Thanks to Tommy, Jai, Thibault, Emily and Colette for all the great, patient belays. Huge thanks to Mark and Mike Anderson for significantly helping with my training. Thanks to everyone who wrote me emails, cheered me on at the crag and sent me good vibes through the process, it all was immensely helpful. Huge thanks to my sponsors Arcteryx, LaSportiva, Maxim Ropes, Metolius, Smith Optics and Climb ON - honestly this dream would not have happened without their continued support.

Okay... well... Onward!