Climb: A Farewell to Arms

I came.
I saw.
I whipped.

Totally stolen image

Totally stolen image - same route - not me

Saturday – led p2 of One Hand Clapping, so that’s now officially ticked as a leader on all pitches. Those cupped hand jams around the corner are better than I gave them credit for. Also lead Nova Express, a tricky-to-protect 9+ with a nice section of offwidth up top. All in all I was feeling good and fairly confident.

Sunday – up early and the first ones at Snowshed. I set out on my heroic lead.

I worked my way up to the base of the final crack section (crux), plugged in 2 pieces, and make the first move….. no, don’t have it. Downclimb.

Place third piece. Head back up. Go for it! Up, up! FALLING! 15 footer.

Good, the gear held, and the fall was clean. Hang, shake out, get my head back together.

Go for it! Up, up! FALLING! 15+ footer. Hm. Wonder how deformed that top piece (grey alien, fwiw) is going to be. Hang, shake out, get my head back together.

Finally decide that this is it… It’s TIME! Summit or plummet!

Up, up. Good lock fingerlock, plug the famous .75 camalot. Shit. I’m pumped. Go from the lock to bad hands then to a dicey lieback. Hand/foot shuffle, step. fuuuuuuck! I’m falling! And I’m upside down.

Yes, I took an inverted 20 footer after crossing the rope behind my legs while liebacking.

Before I knew what was happening Iain was just going “shit man, shit. Are you ok?” over and over. I started saying “yes yes yes yes” really quietly, I think just to convince myself that I was, even before I grabbed the rope and pulled myself upright. After being lowered it took me a few minutes to put a full sentence together again, and a few minutes after that I was laughing in that way you do when you know you’ve just dodged a bullet.

I am the proud owner of a black and blue (turning to yellow) harness bruise – the outline is vivid – but otherwise completely fine. No neck pain, no weird soreness or aches.

Time to start training. I know that footwork is really the crucial element, but I’m going to have myself doing thin hands pullups by the end of September just to prove a point.