Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fear This Post

Zak zings off the top crux of Fear This Sport...
Andy gets the ejector seat belay.

I hope everyone had an excellent holiday!  I've been staying pretty busy these last few weeks, and it hardly seems like time is passing... although it is passing very fast!  I was able to travel back to Wisconsin to see my family for christmas as well as seeing some of my good ol' Wisconsin swillbilly friends.  There was not nearly enough time of course, and I could only see a small handful of the people I would have liked to.  Fortunately it wasn't very long before some visitors came out West to see me here in Vegas.  The day after I got back home our good friends Zak and Bethany drove up from Flagstaff to come climb with us in Red Rocks. So climb we did.

Zak Romuald moves off the marginal top crux crimps.
Fear This Sport 5.12b

Just a day after expeirencing the Wisconsin winter (although there was no snow yet this year) I was already back out climbing shirtless and in NEW pants!  The temperatures were unbeatable, and believe it or not it was almost a little too hot in the sun.  The psych was high and this was definitely reflected in our climbing for the extended weekend.  Their visit had a lot of highlights, but in my opinion our best climbing day was probably our fourth day on.  We all decided to go to Cannibal Crag for a shorter "half day" of climbing.  Andy and I were both working on "Fear This Sport" 5.12b and were getting darn close.  This route features a really bouldery opening sequence that requires lunging for a terrible crimp.  The move is low to the ground and provides for a pretty exciting belay.  We all blew the move at least a half dozen times, but we all prevailed gracefully at least once.

Andy Hansen sticks the low crux crimp.
Fear This Sport 5.12b

Having got pretty close on the route before, my goal was to send it ground up on my first attempt of the day.  But as we all know gravity can be ferocious, and today seemed like it might be no exception.  I fell off the bad crimp a few times, but eventually dialed in my beta and finished it up.  Once I was at the top I hung my rope down and prepared to rappel in off a fixed line to shoot photos of the route.  I hung for a while and shot photographs from a few different angles and distracted my self from the difficulty of climbing.  While shooting I just focused on the excitement of the route and the beauty of the day instead of the fact that I couldn't send.  When I lowered off and cleaned my rope I was ready to move on, but Zak and Andy both encouraged me to give the route another go.  With a new enthusiasm I roped up again and went for the send... and with new enthusiasm I fell off the wall barely missing my innocent belayer, who now hung off the ground enthusiastically below.

Myself nearing the top for the long awaited send.
Fear This Sport 5.12b

I gave it a rest for five minutes and tried to shake my tired arms back to normal.  Feeling slightly better I chalked up my hands and left the ground. Once again I lunged for the terrible crimp, only this time I stuck it and held on long enough to pull the next move to a better hold.  I felt as if the hardest part was over, but I knew the top was nothing to take lightly.  So I did my best to stay relaxed and remember the rest of the moves.   Luckily the holiday season hadn't done too much damage on my climbing, and I was able to stick all the rest of the moves, including more small crimps at the top that leads to the finish.  When I got to the top I clipped the top two draws and felt a great sense of relief. Andy took up the remaining slack and started lowering me back down to the ground. When it was all over I felt like a sweaty million bucks that was covered with chalk and wearing a purple bandana... and that's when I knew it was more than just a send, it was a new accomplishment; a goal met.

My first climbing goal of 2012.
A barefoot ascent of the iconic 25' tall Plumbers Crack.


bethany, a runner said...

Awesome weekend, fantastic photos and some stellar sends, Matt! (Fear This Sport and of course Plumber's Crack)

One critique... there are too few photos of you in your new Fleet Farm pants, considering you wore them for two weeks straight.

On another note, figured you'd be interested to know we're still working on getting the dog a Rubik's Cube.


Ian Reineking said...

Hey Matt,
I enjoyed the last post it was a good read. Congrats on the send buddy! Im glad we were able to meet up during your short trip to wisco. More importantly TEN DAYS TILL VEGAS BABY! I will be arriving at 5:45 on January 20th. We are staying at Planet Hollywood. We are departing at 7:10 the 22nd. I will contact you when we are settled in and all that jazz. Do you have any plans that weekend? I am pretty stoked for this trip and to see you and andy. See you in a few days buddy!

Matt Kuehl said...

Beth, you'll be glad to know that the awesome offwidth/squeeze chimney pants have been documented on an ascent of Allied Forces 5.11- a few weeks ago. That dog better have that Rubiks cube figured out next time she comes to visit. Haha

Ian, I've got you marked in my calendar, look forward to seeing you buddy. Just give me a ring when you're out here and we can figure out details. I have no official plans of the weekend, but that could easily change. Talk to you soon