Yesterday I talked my new friend Jim into braving the rain to climb on the Chemistry Slab at the Carver Bridge Cliff. During our three hour stay we stayed dry through several downpours and I managed to push out twenty-one “pitches”, my biggest outside day ever. I put pitches in quotes because the slab (and most of the routes around Portland) is only 35 feet tall. But you can get several laps done in one push if your partner is willing to endure the belay. Luckily, Jim was up to the task.
I wasn’t the only one to have a good day. Jim has only climbed outside a handful of times (all in the past week I think), but he was a champ. I climbed smooth operator (5.4) and left the gear in so Jim could lead it like a sport route. He did much better than I did when I lead my first climb. No shakes, no hesitation. Just straight up getting after it.
A while later, after several laps we upped the ante a bit and I set the gear on Crimson Tide, a route with a short, but beautiful crack, which is the crux. Again JIm lead the climbed it in fine style. He has a strong head and lots of psyche, and he’s willing to put in the work. I think he’ll make huge strides this summer, this will be helped by the fact that the summer is is slow season at is job. WORK LESS, PLAY MORE!!!
I mentioned in my last post that my lead head was a bit shaky. Yesterday was the exact opposite. Yes, they where all climbs that I’ve lead before, but I haven’t been doing much leading and after I almost self destructed on Sunday (on a climb I’ve also done before), I was glad to pull through without any mental freak outs. I think this has to do that with the fact that I’ve climbed outside three of the last four days.
I’ve been fretting about the fact that I don’t feel like I’ve been working on my mental muscle as much as I should be. But after this session I think some of my former mental toughness is coming back. However I need to remind myself that I’ve merely started on the right path, and I’ve still got a lot of work to do.
That being said, at the end of the session I was feeling strong mentally and I knew it was time to tick off one of my short term goals (which are coming due on June 1st). With my mind set I sat at the base of Crimson Tide for a few minutes visualizing success. I stood up, cleared the rope out of the way and set up the route. Things went as planned and I free soloed my hardest route yet (touchy feely essay to follow soon).
After that Jim did one more lap and cleaned the route up. We hustled down the now wet and muddy path, jumped in the car and attempted to haul balls to the gym so that Jim could make his lesson with the beast that is Tom Scales, and I could make it to work. A highway cluster f@*k stopped us from making good time. Jim was ten minutes late and after a MAX ride and a run with a pack full of climbing gear I was a half- hour late for work. Doesn’t matter though, my chatty boss is very understanding. It was a good day.