It’s been a long time since my last post, my last trip outside, and the last competition series, and there have been several changes in my life in the meantime. The last ABS competition series didn’t end as well as I had hoped it would. I won the NorCal-Nevada Regional and the Division 1 Championships in my age group, but after getting sick following the divisional competition, and taking on another class at school, I was not physically or mentally prepared for the nationals and ended up taking tenth place. Around the same time, I went to Bishop twice, each time for a weekend, and worked on the Buttermilker Stand (V12) and got very close but was not strong enough to finish. Being disappointed and kind of depressed, feeling like I wasn't really improving, I started working out a little with my Rocknasium coach’s core fitness group in the summer. I think that was helping, but I also began to feel pretty lonely, as a lot of the people I used to enjoy climbing with had moved on and I didn’t really feel like I had anyone to climb hard with at the gym anymore.
A few months ago my parents and I discussed how my life was going and what I wanted to accomplish as a boulderer. I began to realize that I needed to train more intensively to reach the level I want to eventually climb at. I also realized that I need friends to climb with because it’s very depressing to train alone. Shortly after that discussion my friend, Linda, helped my parents get in touch with Scot Jenerik, and I made the decision in early October to join his team, Zero Gravity, which is a large climbing team in the Bay Area with many other strong climbers who are around my age.
Training with Zero Gravity has been both very fun and challenging, and I believe it is very effective. It is motivating to train with people who are your own age and who are also really strong, and it is very fun making new friends. I am working out and training over twice as much as before and have already gotten used to the routines, and I feel like I’m already getting stronger. I don’t get to see the Rocknasium people as much as I used to, but I’m really happy to be on Zero Gravity.
Last weekend I took a trip to Bishop with the hope of finally sending the Buttermilker Stand. I had worked on this problem for about five days spread out over the course of nearly a year. Most of those days were spent learning the strange toe hooks and awkward body positions, which I hadn't had much experience on before. On my last trip, I got frustratingly close, falling twice at the last hard move with the hold in my hands, and then had to wait seven months before trying it again. On my first day there this trip, it was in the upper thirties in the Buttermilks and slightly breezy. I took time warming up and after feeling prepared, I headed to my project. On the first go, I fumbled with the start a little and fell off the long move to the sloper. I then tried the middle and last moves and did them with more difficulty than I had expected. The next go, I fell off the last move but felt my confidence returning, so I rested, then sent! Then send was desperate to say the least! I barely stuck the last move, my right had stuck the horn, but both my feet and my left hand cut and I barely held the swing, then I had to basically one arm the next move! I was so relieved and happy to send this problem as it was both very difficult for me and something I had wanted to finish since I started working on it almost a year ago. I included a video of the send at the bottom of this post.
After sending the Buttermilker Stand, I worked on the Mystery (V11/12) for a while. I was able to do what once was the crux for me without much difficulty, but found the beginning moves hard. After putting in several goes, my fingers started to get to tired to hold the tension between the crimps, so I stopped.
Next, after getting a celebratory pastry at Schat's Bakery, I headed over to the Happy's to try to finish the day by sending Kill On Sight (V11). I had done the stand to this line on my last trip, but didn't do the sit as I was tired from trying the Buttermilker. When I arrived at the climb, I was feeling fresh and ready to send. After getting better beta for the crux of the stand and fumbling around on the first move a few times, I stuck the first move, quickly went through all the crux moves of the stand, and finished! It was a very enjoyable problem. The toe hook and the move to the pinch in the roof are very fun and the end compression is amazing.
After that, with not a lot of daylight remaining, I headed to Toxic Avenger (V9) to see if I could do it. I had tried this problem on a few other trips, but had always been tired from working other problems. It went down without much fuss on my third attempt. It was very fun and the dyno was incredibly cool! Then, before the sun completely set, I went to He Got Game and looked at the right exit, which goes at V10. After feeling the holds and finding my exact beta, I hopped on and flashed it! None of the moves felt particularly hard for me, probably in part because I used to make up problems like this all the time in the gym when I was younger. The problem revolves around making a large move out of a roof and getting a far away toehook that's above your head, then swinging off it! I was psyched to finish off the day having sent the Buttermilker Stand, one of my main goals in Bishop, flashing He Got Game Right, my first V10 flash, and having done Kill On Sight and Toxic Avenger, two climbs I had wanted to do for a while! This was by far my best climbing day to date and I am psyched and feel like I will be able to climb even harder soon!
The next day I felt well rested and quite fresh considering the day before. I headed back to the Buttermilks with the goal of sending Stained Glass (V10). I warmed up on the Birthday Boulders, then tried Parking Problem (V9), a problem I had looked at on my first trip to Bishop and wanted to do. It is a kind of lowball and a little sharp, but the moves are fun, revolving around a throw to a sharp sidepull crimp, then locking it off with a bad smear and moving to an okay sloper higher up. I sent after a few goes, then moved on to Stained Glass. Stained Glass is a very beautiful golden dihedral beginning with a few technical moves between bad crimp gastons and ending with a giant move off a terrible left hand sloper crimp to a huge jug at the lip. I had tried it almost a year before, after sending the Mandala, but didn't get very far. On my first go this trip, I got to the last move and fell a couple inches from the jug. After a few more goes, I sent! I went on to Bubba Gump (V9) and worked on it for a little while. I managed to get to the last move, but swung out and fell. By this time I was exhausted and starting to bleed; and so called it a day.
Overall this was my most successful weekend trip ever and I am psyched that I am improving!
Buttermilker Stand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItYZYVZ5rKw
Kill On Sight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ExRvYYUpWk
Stained Glass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTpciBmTs-8