So my 10 day adventure on the front rage has now concluded. I am back home sitting on the couch watching the Miami LA game, just chillin. The trip overall was a great success, and though I finished in 10th place at Nationals I felt I did quite well. Competition climbing is a very different form of rock climbing and whats really cool about it i think is the fact that you don't necessarily have to be the strongest climber, but instead, the best climber. At least on that particular day...
Courtney Sanders getting buck on Qualifier # 2
On qualifiers day I felt on point, and all the problems felt relatively effortless. This was a cool feeling and I was psyched, but the following day my feelings were on the opposite end of the spectrum. My 2 tweaked pulleys inflamed, my knee felt jacked, and on top of that I woke up sick. All excuses, I know, but when it comes to days like that where you feel like you MUST be on the top of your game, you start obsessing over the little things. The problems we're set well, and the competition was super close. To make it into finals you had to top all 4. This was something I wasn't expecting. On problem # 3 I felt really pumped after spitting off the last move to the finish jug. Looking at my time left, I figured I could take it easy and try and climb the last problem. This was my big mistake, and thats just how it goes. You don't know how well everyone else did, so you gotta trust your instincts. Obviously mine were off. Oh well though, it was a great experience and I'm psyched with how I did. Looking forward now to the World Cup this summer at the Teva Games! This will be my first world cup, and I can only hope that I do better. I'll be training it up hard!!!
After semi-finals was over and I was sitting around a bit bummed I quickly came to the realization that I still had 3 days to go climbing on some real stone! I hooked up with my buddy Ivo and we spent 2 days climbing in the RMNP, and 1 day at Clear Creek Canyon. Far from the flashing lights, and large crowds I have to say I felt right at home. There is just nothing more tranquil then a quiet day in the woods with your friends and of course, amazing boulders! My first problem that I chose to put time into was Daniel Woods' recently established Mirror Reality V14.
Daniel on the crux move of Mirror. Photo courtesy of Cameron Maier
Daniel had told me that the breakdown of the problem was essentially a V12 in to a V12. The first part revolves around a powerful first move stab to a slopey edge followed by a techy heel hook that leads you into the 2nd part of the boulder. The second part of the problem is similar to the first yet a little more difficult. It is here that you find the crux move. You grab a very good yet slick edge for the right, and a half pad edge for the left. Then you sit your right foot way low on a small spike and toss huge left hand all the way to the glassy sloper that awaits on the lip. This move is strange, and really revolves around just doing it perfectly. One centimeter to the left or right and your off. You can imagine the frustration this move causes from the ground.. After this move the climbing lets up a little but could still spit you off. It's probably around V9 and the finale is a nice V5/6 mantel to gain the top. On my first glance of the bloc I knew that it was my style, and I knew that if things went well I could complete it rather quickly. Luckily things did go well and I was able to put it together in about an hour or so. Luck is the key word here... The way this one goes you could either do it in a few tries or it could take a few weeks. Problems like this are badass and I tip my cap to Daniel for making the First Ascent!
The second problem I decided to try was Echale V14 in Clear Creek Canyon. I had tried the problem once before in the warmer weather but it always just seemed impossible to me. This time around was no different. I warmed up quick and ran the ending a few times to get psyched. After this I probably spent 1 hour working out the first move. The right hand start hold is a bit aggressive on the pulleys and on top of this I had tape on my middle finger. If there's one thing i've learned from climbing in CO is that granite and tape DO NOT mix! I made the first move a couple times, which is an ackward stab to an upside down gastone, but I just couldn't muster the match. Sticking the first hold perfect for me was definitely the crux. Without that first hold in that right spot the following moves felt impossible..
Photo courtesy of Ivo Penchev
One hour later when I was completely wrecked I decided to say fuck it, and gave it the "one go without tape" method. First try the right hand felt WAY better and I fell matching the gastone. Looking at my finger I knew that I only had one more try before the split started gushing. So I sat down, cleared my mind, and gave it my all. Before I knew it I was climbing into the last hard moves of the boulder with that voice in the back of my mind saying " don't fuck it up here, you won't make it back." I stuck the last hard campus move and took a deep breathe and climbed to the top! The feeling I felt once i topped out was like no other. It's just crazy to me that no matter how tired you are you can always muster that reserve energy and kill it. It is rare I know, and that's what makes it so satisfying.
Here's a quick clip of the send.
It's the 4th quarter now and a close game so i'm out. I'll try and stay updated on this thing over the next couple months!