Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Standing Watch

We followed a road.  Where it would lead us we knew not.  It curved and snaked its way through a valley split in two by a river that, like most rivers ebbs and flows.  This river slithered through the valley bottom like a curvy silver Chinese dragon.  The forest floor was thick with the sweet smell of decay, of new life; soft and porous like a sponge.  We approached the river at a bend, its placid surface a deep emerald green, in sharp contrast were boulders as white as bleached bones strewn haphazardly amongst the river banks.  Up into the forest we ventured.  Following a drainage our path a tumultuous jumble of granite blocks polished to a fine grain, as smooth as glass.  The burnt orange bodies of Autumn, curling inwards, the satisfying crunch underfoot, the sound of their heavy contribution.  We aimed upwards, massive granite walls meeting their crescendo in the heavens towering above us.  The lighthearted transition of the seasons abundant in every step we took.  Farther up this small depression we went until it narrowed to a comfortable niche.  The other side of the thickly forested valley could be seen and splitting it in places like beautiful scars were pieces of wind hardened granite and cascading waterfalls.  A quilted patchwork of almost vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows wove their way across our view.  We were home. 

Warming up on a fantastic 6c+ called 'Welcome to the Good Life'

There were even hobbits up here!

Just one of the many opportunities to go horizontal on Disorient Express (7b+), so many roofs here!

Kevin on Welcome to Highlife (7a+) a varied climb that kind of has everything.

Nick climbing through bulges and Big Leaf maples on the extension to Welcome to Highlife (7b)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Winter is Coming


Oh my.  How time can truly fly.  Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind (Nathaniel Hawthorne).  Clocks slay time…time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life! (William Faulkner).  As if you could kill time without injuring eternity (Henry David Thoreau).

And nothing could be truer than the spirit these quotes embody.  I find it absolutely fascinating how time can exist in one moment and then cease to exist in the next.  The moments that filled the last three weeks have ticked by like the clocks in Faulkner’s quote.  But eternity blankets those moments in which we have forgotten ourselves in nature and in love.  The early mornings in which I find myself being pulled from sleep and a warm bed are not filled with the rising suns light anymore.  A small shift is not far off, I can feel the air changing and the true season for climbing is beginning.  What could be more exciting?!!    

 Kevin about to launch into getting a good highpoint on Lost Horizons (8c)

I’ve been sitting on my thoughts and updates of my comings and goings for the last few weeks and finally a good friend of mine requested that I post something, so here it goes.

After the ‘big send’ I felt an enormous amount of relief.  All of those feelings of inadequacy and doubt that had latched onto my psyche during the projecting process faded away and I was left with clarity.  That clarity lead me to Squamish, a land so inexorably beautiful and magical that it’s odd to not want to immediately move there upon visiting.  I had fashioned a groove so deep in my weekly routine that walls had started to close in on me and the only way to break out of this rut-like trench was to turn my focus to onsight climbing.  It was like a breath of fresh air.  For the last three weeks we have made two trips to Squamish and one trip to an old crag where I cut my teeth as a new climber (Exit 38’s Nevermind wall).  All three trips yielded some good onsights and even better some great opportunities to work on this highly elusive and difficult to cultivate skill.  Here in the NW we have a ton of rock but due to other obligations, seasonal fluctuations, and/or travel troubleshooting sometimes it feels like we have very little.  You run into this problem in Squamish as well, but when you do get those good weather days and you find yourself in the heavily saturated rocky corridors of the Sea to Sky Highway it’s very easy to get hooked all over again. 


Justin working the complicated and pumpy yet beautiful sequence on the bomb-proof rhino-stone of Lost Horizons (8c)

What I’m trying to say is that onsight climbing is easily my favorite style of climbing and one that I have been historically terrible at.  The last few trips to Squamish and the subsequent new rock has absolutely enlivened me.  Onsight climbing is fraught with nerve wracking self-doubt and high expectation and the best part about is that it sucks you into being present.  It is absolutely a form of meditation in a way that differs from project climbing, hard redpoints or otherwise.  After you get a couple good ones under your belt you feel the momentum of confidence and all you want to do is go for more.  If I could just quit my job and go on the road for the next year and visit all of the amazing sport crags this country has to offer I would no doubt be in heaven.
On a side note, the coolest thing I got to see in Squamish was Sean McColl at the Big Show doing a speed lap on Division Bell.  It literally took him under 60 seconds to climb from the bottom to the top, sheesh.  Not only is he an extremely fit dude he is also a really humble and funny human being.  I love it when that happens.

Summer abruptly came to a close here in the NW.  While we were in the throws of some uncomfortably warm temps we lamented Fall's crisp embrace, yet now that it's gone I look back on those sun-saturated days spent bathing in the warmth of the lazy sun and regret I did not spend more time working in the garden, lounging on the porch or basking in the power of Prometheus's glow.

 The weather for the last few weeks has also not been ideal for hard climbing.  With temps reaching into the low 90’s on more than one occasion seeking shade at new crags has been a welcome reprieve from the sweltering heat.  But now, as I alluded to earlier, we are facing the beginning of the Fall climbing season!!  Starting this week the clouds have moved in, the temps have dropped, and looking around I’ve noticed those Fall colors starting to creep across the bright green façade of summer.  It's this time of year that gets me into the mood!  September is meant for climbing, okay, maybe September AND October, but with the oncoming weeks' temps forecasted to be in the mid 60's it's hard not to think about sending a project or two. 

Ruth aiming for a repeat on the classic Aborigine (6c+) on a baking day at World Wall.  We were in the shade all afternoon on a day where the temps reached a high of 92!  Yowza!  That's hot anywhere.  But surprisingly the climbing was legit, except for a few near encounters with lazy hornets, we had a pretty decent session.
Steven Dimitt, the man with all of the beta you'll ever need to know about Smith Rocks came up for a brief visit and a casual send of Technorigine (7b+), also on a sub par condition day.  He donned this bright red shirt nonetheless and sweated up this ultra-classic 95 foot route just so I could snap a couple shots of the send.  It was awesome to be at the anchors as he chugged up the last few feet sticking the high step with nail biting anticipation and letting out a deeply held breath of success.  We will be seeing Mr. Dimitt this weekend for three days of rhino-stone wrestling, get psyched!!
And then there's beer.  Awwwww, delicious beer.  I've tasted a lot of good IPA's this summer but I'm nominating Reuben's brewery as the producer of my favorite IPA of the season, their Summer IPA has been hands down my favorite.  A close second was Bale Breakers' Top Cutter IPA.  Although, in the end, it doesn't really matter what you happen to swill, as long as you are in good company, the sun is shining, and you can relax on your backyard deck surrounded by massive trees and a beautiful garden.  Heaven.

SO proud of this woman.  We will see some good stuff from her in the years to come. 
I finally dedicated a weekend to doing something besides climbing.  My amazing older brother had a birthday in late July and in early August we swooped him up and made him walk the slopes of Mount Doom.  It had been almost exactly two years since I had summited Mt Rainier and returning to it's door step at Camp Muir with two of my favorite people in the whole world was rejuvenating.  It was also a perfect day for a long hike. 

Embracing my faves at Camp Muir with Mt. Adams in the background.

This Summer has seemingly been all about some sort of progression.  Progressing physically and mentally on the rock by sticking it out through mentally-trying high points and subsequent failures on hard projects; to pushing through those barriers and sending.   To trying new routes, getting scared and vulnerable on onsihgts and getting a renewed perspective on climbing on new routes in new areas.  And finally learning how to train in the gym without getting hurt but at the same time getting stronger.  I think the best thing to come out of the last 8 months has been my ability to recognize when to push it and when to rest.  I credit this approach for all of my success in climbing this year and I look forward to refining it even more.  Of course I’m sure now that I’ve written about it my next post will be on the harrowing injury I sustained to my finger/shoulder/wrist whilst training, typical karma.  My plans for the upcoming climbing season revolve around three places: hard projects at Little si, onsight climbing at New Halem, and bouldering  in Leavenworth.  Let’s see how it goes. 
Happy start-of-the-climbing-season to you all, I hope everyone reading this is of course surrounded by people who love them, inspire them, and motivate them to be something they didn’t believe they could be.     

Friday, August 12, 2016

What We Tell Ourselves

As soon as I relinquish my unyielding grip on outcome and success I end up getting what I want.  Certainly not an intuitive practice.  Climbing is not just a physical game, we all know this.  Yet, we spend so much time in the gym beating our heads against the wall and torturing ourselves over hangboards, campusboards, circuitboards, and every other kind of board you can think of (until you’re actually bored) in the hopes of becoming stronger than our projects.  As if all it takes to get to the next level is strong fingers?!  What an insult to this beautiful game we play.  Climbing, in fact, is the king of games.  It combines danger, finesse, raw power, cunning, logistics, intelligence, foresight, a high pain tolerance, obsession, masochism, and a balance between peak mental readiness and ultimate physical performance.  To play this game well you have to let it pervade your life, your diet, your social choices, your time commitments, your geographic location, and your ability to sacrifice money/time/relationships/and ego.  Climbing is all encompassing and defining, when you embrace it and make it a passion you can truly understand something deeper about yourself and ultimately the world in a purely holistic sense.  I know how easy it is to dispense euphoric hyperboles post triumph but I would still feel the same way even if I hadn’t sent this season’s project (Porn Star at Little si) just a day ago on August 9th, 2016. 

Riddled with guilt for calling in sick (when I clearly wasn’t) I lay in bed counting the minutes until it was time to go.  I followed all of my usual ‘get ready to climb’ rituals, ate the same breakfast burrito from PCC market, drank the same Synergy Kombucha, and ate the same pint of blue berry’s.  I already felt this divine sense of failure growing in me.  I stood in my boxers staring out the skylight in my room, watching the low lying clouds cluster around some unknown peak to the east and gave up all expectation.  I didn’t feel any stronger than the day before, I didn’t come to some eye-opening life-changing realization the night before, and now I was regretting missing work to give myself over to the process of this project.  I started to develop some weird feeling of animosity towards the route and the decisions it had made me make.  It was too late anyway, so I exhaled a deep sigh and with it my expectation of sending. 

I climbed into my car and felt pain in my shoulder, a soreness that hadn’t been there the day before when I was resting and getting ready for another round.  Meh, just another reason why today isn’t the day.  I drove lethargically east heading to the crag, not really feeling the playlist I had selected, not really thinking about...anything.  I felt kind of tired honestly, and when I did make it to the trail head I felt hungry and ready for a nap.  I hiked up without music, not really paying attention to any one detail of the trail, a trail I have hiked too many times, and will continue to hike too many times into the unforeseeable future. 

I arrived pouring sweat and again thought ‘it’s manky and humid, not the day for sending’ and let my back pack slump off my sore shoulder. 

While I climbed I went from feeling defeated and tired to feeling energized and alive.  I crouched onto one foot mid crux and casually reached up to the credit card crimp on my warm up of Flatliner.  I fumbled the next move sticking  a shallow undercling with two fingers and tried to readjust.  I fell.  But I felt amazing.  I lowered to the ground and was buzzing, I felt the warmth of some kind of strange energy encompassing and saturating my entire body.  I no longer felt tired or disengaged.

My first go of the day was high energy and a bit jittery.  It’s as if the rock itself was giving off some kind of life sustaining energy that magically propelled me upwards.  I greased right off the two slopey opposing sidepulls that define the crux of Porn Star feeling strong but nervous as well.  I’m used to it, this isn’t going to happen today.  I slumped in my harness for a quick minute and then sailed the last boulder problem to the top, a dance (or ritual) I had grown far too accustomed to engaging in.  Nothing is going to change, I’ll just have to wait for those crispy/sticky Fall sending temps.  I had given up, or I had given myself permission to give up, which was okay because it was a ‘lose a battle to win a war’ type of give up. 

It was a cloudy Tuesday afternoon in August.  Most of the climbers at the crag that day were donning puffy jackets or pull overs, while the actual climbing demanded shorts and no shirts the waiting room required slightly more insulation.  The rock was cold, there was no breeze, and it was busy.  Much busier than I had thought it would be on a weekday.  I liked it this way.  I began climbing and it didn’t feel like anyone cared.  I was able to fall into my own rhythm.  I felt pumped at the top of Aborigine (sheesh), and then even more pumped after the short little sequence of Techno just before branching left into the start of Porn Star.  I did the initial boulder problem and got to the enormous jug rest.  I looked up at the sea of draws hanging listlessly.  My inner dialogue went something like this: “You have no chance.  This is just another one hang, just do me a favor?  When you get to the crux just try hard this time okay?  You don’t have to send but at least try hard!  Just try to get a little farther than your last couple of burns.  It’s okay if you don’t send, you won’t send anyways, you’re too pumped, you’ve felt so much better than this on other burns and you didn’t send, this is definitely not the send burn.”

Not exactly motivational, but it’s really what was going through my head.  I launched into the meat of the climb.  I was a little more pumped than usual but I was also a little more relaxed.  I reached the apex of the climb, a small rest before one last boulder problem.  I grabbed a brick shaped slpoper and instead of over-gripping I just let my hand relax as it stuck to the hold without budging.  I grabbed an incut crimp and shook my other hand out.  I swapped a couple of times and then said “fuck it” and executed my sequence.  Instead of feeling like everything had to be perfect, instead of giving up because I stuck the first hold wrong or I didn’t like how my foot felt on this tiny sloping jib of a foot hold, I just climbed and continued to climb.  I perched on the slopey brick shaped hold from the rest and flagged perfectly, reaching up effortlessly for a small crimp, I felt so good I shook out my right hand before switching it to an undercling.  I wasn’t over-gripping myself off the climb!  I made an across the body move with my left hand and rolled casually into the pocket just beneath the jug.  I grabbed a good right hand crimp, adjusted to a better grip in the pocket, jacked my foot up on a slim foot hold and reached out to the finish jug, finally breaking my casual defeatist attitude with a yell that no doubt grabbed everyone’s attention. 

What happened next is hard to write about.  I kind of monkey chugged up the easy 15ft to the anchors and had a somewhat out of body experience when I actually clipped the rope through the anchors. 

I began working this route back in October of 2015.  I spent a couple weekends on it figuring out the moves and making some links.  I came back to it at the end of April in 2016 and worked on it pretty heavily until Memorial day weekend where I came very close before wet holds prevented any more progress.  I came back for the 4th of July weekend and made even more progress falling at the pocket below the jug.  I tried so hard that weekend for four days in a row but couldn’t get it done.  The pressure was unbearable.  I took a month off, I doubted myself, I day dreamed, and I finally just got back to training and tried to not give a fuck anymore.  August 9th, 2016 I finally made what had previously been an almost daily day dream and visualization a reality.  All the screaming and yelling that ensued as I was lowered was just a release.  Like steam gradually building up behind a release valve the process this route had taken me through had built and built, sending was the final piece before triggering that emotional valve to open.  All of the time spent thinking about my sequence, training for the route, wondering if I was light enough, strong enough, or just plain ready for the climb came pouring out of me in whoops and yells.  I wanted to take my shoes off and fling them into the forest, I wanted to strip down naked and run to the top of Little si, I wanted to chug every beer I had brought and collapse in a heaving pile of relief, I wanted to grab everyone on the ledge and bear hug them at the same time.  I felt empowered, overjoyed, and relived all at once.  It was almost too much to handle.  I had to calm down quickly though.  What set me off the most was just how unexpected it all was.  There had been several times before this where I had felt stronger, the conditions had maybe been a little better, I had executed sequences more efficiently; but in the end none of that mattered.  I had spent so much time trying to convince myself that I needed to be perfect for this to happen, that I needed that ‘black swan’ moment in order to make it to this level.  But it was all just a fallacy.  What I had really needed was to give up my stranglehold on not allowing myself to make mistakes.
I hope everyone reading this is in good health, good spirits, and are surrounded by people who they love and who motivate them to be completely imperfectly perfect human beings. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

No Flex Zone

What an amazing season it has been so far.  The temps have been outstanding, we have had more good weather windows for sending than I can count on both hands, psyche has been high, and even the rock has been mostly dry or dryish.  But, as with all long drawn out struggles, sometimes you have to admit defeat (temporarily) and wait for an even better time to strike.
Last week I took about 7 days off from climbing (which is a lie, I actually climbed one day out of seven but it was in horrible conditions, the first all season).  I ate a ton of good food, drank a pretty decent amount of delicious beer, and poured sugar down my throat in the form of ice cream, gelato, doughnuts, cookies, and those little 'fun' size milky ways.  Oh man, it was a regular fat guy pig out marathon.  I loved it.  I took some time off from climbing not due to an injury, or because of bad conditions, or emotional problems; what I needed was just a break from the routine.  Climbing is and will always be a grand adventure packed with every kind of emotion I always hope to experience for the rest of my life, it is for lack of a better word what I love to do.  Projecting within climbing is a different beast.  And I had found myself with my head in that beasts jaws too many times in the past months struggling to keep them from closing around my cranium.  Wake up - eat breakfast - drive to the crag - hike to the crag - warm up - project - project - project - hike to the car - drive home - repeat.  And during the weekdays it could be even more monotonous when you throw a highly rehearsed 8 hours of cornea shredding desk jockeying on top of training and watching what I eat.  Ugh.

So it came as no surprise when my psych hit the floor, then sunk through the floor in an oozing gelatinous translucent blob only to come to rest on the cold cement of the basement, festering and steaming.  In the middle of an intense projecting season you need something to keep you going and if you don't get that 'something' it's very easy to just fall off your horse midway through a call to arms.  It can be even more daunting, then, to feel at the top of your game and still not feel as though it's good enough.  So I didn't exactly take my ball and go home, instead I just heard the siren song of a different game and decided to follow the tune. 

After a nice little hiatus from training/projecting/climbing I found myself at the tail end of this pseudo vacation craving the movement of it all.  It filled my veins and my mind and I got that lovely itch again to get back into the gym and back on the rock.  There is really nothing better than feeling that renewed energy to get after it.  I'm spending the next five weeks trying to get realigned with some goals I set for the beginning of the season in hopes of executing those goals when Fall starts.  The temps are looking a little heinous this week but it doesn't matter.  I've still got some tricks up my sleeve and hopefully by training in a humid gym on highly chalked holds I will emerge from this sticky sweaty womb as a mutant ready to send something hard.
All photo credits belong to:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fantastic Frustrations

Tara reaching on her warm up of the super classy Clear-Cut.
It was nearing 9:30 in the morning as we slowly rounded another bend.  My face hurt from wearing the frustration and stress of the last 16 hours.  I wasn’t sure if this beat being at work (which is where I was SUPPosed to be) or if this was somehow more of a punishment.  The crunch of a gravel road freshly wet from an overnight rain was amplified by the fear previously instilled in me from the events that had just taken place yesterday evening.  There it was.  All of a sudden I could feel the anxiety and fear melt away and an ending to this story could finally ink the pages of my brain. 
When we met a paved road again I was ecstatic and couldn’t help but think about the overreactions, frustrations, anger, resentment, and unwanted feelings of insecurity and ego-based hang ups I had to experience in order to finally get to this point.  I learned a valuable lesson: always carry two spares in your car. 
Tara 'the Crane' Kerhzner.
The last few weeks I’ve felt a little like what a meth addict must feel like.  The constant pull to enjoy something fleeting yet tedious; eye opening yet horrendously overpowering; manic yet calm.  It’s always hard to pin  point that exact time when a project turns from something you look forward to doing and know you can do, into something truly daunting and insurmountable.  The mind can play tricks on you, and after a while you can start to feel like a dwarf in the depths of Mirkwood: 'Is there no end to this accursed forest?' said Thorin. 'Somebody must climb a tree and have a look round. The only way is to choose the tallest tree that overhangs the path.'  But even the tallest tree can prove difficult to climb if you don’t have the will to find a way up and out of the stagnation of your idle third eye. 


Feel the moss, LIVE the moss!
It has been extremely refreshing then to meet a couple of fresh faces and see what new motivation and unbridled confidence looks like (as a reminder).  Meeting the Kerhzner’s and managing to pervade their personal climbing space for the last few weeks has been truly a gift in the middle of what has turned out to be a somewhat stagnant and unsuccessful projecting period for me.  Greg and Tara go together like Gin and Tonic (which is why I believe they got married, so their bath towels can have G&T monogrammed on them).  Both light hearted world-traveled disciples of the millennial generation, they ooze an Alobar&Kudra-esque persona while managing to sample every classic at every crag they magically appear at.  In fact, the comparison of the two to the Tom Robbin’s characters is so startlingly apt that I’m prone to believe that I’ve been hanging out with a thousand year old couple originating from the loins of Bohemia and the trunk space of India.  If climbing is the new youthful approach to shirking death then these two will live forever.  But impressive feats of strength aside they have more to offer than sick sends of high numbers, like witty insights on climbing culture, Russian paradigms to help you transcend weakness, Juju, friendliness, IT support, a killer truck bed, and most of all you feel like your back in 7th grade again and that they just ‘get’ you. 

Is that a Rooftop Brewing tank top????
I’ve had a consistently comical time while getting to know them and all the dance marathons, logging road break-downs, manky hiking Tyrolean traverses, and deep-fried Oreos aside, hopefully they have had a good taste(deep-fried) of what the PNW has to unwillingly offer.  It is on that note that I wish them nothing but the best on their next chapter of wayward globetrotting.  Adieu mon ami’s!  I hope the gelato is plentiful, the rocks are soft, and the couches have removable seat cushions. 

Greg launching into the overhang before starting up Voodoo.


Kevin with some girls gone wild motivation.


Kevin on Baby on Board.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Rainbow Magic

In the depths of this sweaty mess we call home lies a crag that is not to be unbroken by the will of simple men.  It’s fractured faces weave a tale of hummingbird orgies, mossy drippings heard by none, swamp donkey syndromes,  and creaking desires of the vertically inclined.  Come prepared for a feast which you cannot partake in, and observe the maddening drone of expanding wasp infrastructures.  The exploding silences are only undone by the will of creatures who have never ventured into the daylight.  If you are struggling, relax; if relaxed, then sleep, and if asleep then dream of the struggle!  Dream of the unclean horde descending upon your tidy day dream and goading you to engage!  ENGAGE!
Guido Princess onsights Black Magic (5.13a)

Tex repeats Artifact (5.12d)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


My good friend Steven came up for a visit and got a great taste of World Wall One by sending one of the best (if not THE best) 12d at the crag Californicator.

The 4th of July holiday does not hold a particularly special place in my heart by any means.  My memories of this day are centered around sticky summer encounters with popsicles followed by warm evenings set atop my grandfathers’ brown and tan Econoline replete with ladder on the back, small fridge and non(read: never) working sink, dusty velvet couch seats and noisy venetian blinds (my brother and I thought it was the coolest thing we had ever ridden in).  We would huddle on top of this beast with bags of popcorn and wait for the fireworks to start in the middle of a dry flat Texas field.  This is back when we lived in Texas and visits to our grandparents house in Amarillo were frequent staples of our 3 month long summer sojourn from school.  
We even got a visit from Waterfalls who showed up just to remind us that he's not fat and old.

Flash forward 20+ years and I find myself shaking out on an enormous jug halfway up my project, the disturbing traces of a recently detonated mortar reverberating off the tree clad slopes of the valley between Mt Si and Little Si.  It sounded like a war zone but the intensity of it all only added to the building climactic crescendos of either failure or success.  This time around success had to be measured in feet, and unfortunately the send still eluded me. 

I spent three days this past weekend working on my project that I had been apart from for over a month due to wet holds.  I kept telling myself that by the time the holds would be dry the weather would have turned to shit (meaning too warm to hold onto the texture-less side-pulls at the top).  But like some miraculous series of astral collisions that create a black hole, so too were the pattern of weather events that lead to us having extremely good climbing temps for the entire duration of the holiday weekend.  I quickly climbed back into my old high point and started to fuss around with the top crux trying to implant in my mind the sequence and saturate my muscles with remembrance.  The second day on, a miracle happened and instead of falling where I typically had I actually made it three moves farther!  I was so stunned and over-gripping so hard I couldn’t have even imagined sending at that moment.  The irony being that for the last 15 attempts I had kept saying ‘Yeah, as soon as I perch on that brick I’ll have it done.’  But in typical ‘me’ fashion I not only ate my words but relished in them.  I was very psyched to have broken through that wall (mental and physical) but also really bummed that I hadn’t put it down, especially considering I had a brilliant photographer above me, my visiting friends cheering me on below, and my amazing girlfriend belaying me.  I mean, are these not ingredients for top performance?  Perhaps I got a little too excited.  The last go was a fitness burn and I didn’t even match my new highpoint but the seed was finally planted.  Third day on?  OF COURSE!  I couldn’t let this wave of psych elude me or resist the urge to ride it so on day three we were back at the base of Pornstar.  I didn’t really know what to expect from my body or mind having already put everything I had on the line for two days but I warmed up well and felt like I could give it a legitimately good burn.  I did, I fell.  But I was still buzzing, I managed to perch on the brick yet again but fell going for a small crimp not having flagged hard enough.  I shooed my fears and weariness away and on my second attempt I climbed well, but felt tired (I was actually kind of pumped at the top of Abo, yikes!).  It was a surprise to everyone including myself that I climbed into the crux cross through to the pocket and yelling at the top of my lungs fell again.  Matching my high point from the previous day, it would seem disappointing but in fact it was so validating to know that it hadn’t been a fluke.  I utilized this opportunity to test out some new beta and it worked like a charm.  I also had been missing a better crimp for my left hand so I came down from the defeat armed with two new pieces of knowledge.  Yet another lesson in patience and a reminder to try EVERYthing before you commit to an iron clad sequence.  This burn would have surely done me in but I was WAY too jacked up from coming so close yet again to give up so easily.  It was overcast, almost cold, and the rock felt amazing.  I set an alarm for exactly one hour and fifteen minutes from the time I came down from the route and waited.  Trying new beta this late in the game is sometimes fatal and sometimes redemptive.  My last go of the day I felt a fire burning inside of me.  Not only did I feel good physically, I felt excited to climb (a feeling that had come and gone in the last few months of climbing on this route).  I tried to harness my excitement, reining it in and focusing it in order to give me that killer instinct I need to climb something at my limit.  Long story short I fudged my new beta and gave up all too easily.  I was pissed.  I was filled with disappointment in myself.  Usually when I feel this kind of disappointment I can justify it by having someone to blame but the room was empty and I had only myself to point the finger at.  Maybe I just didn’t want to send that burn.  Maybe my mind was jumping ahead of my body or vice versa, or maybe it was just bad new beta.  I jugged up in a rage and instantly pulled back on sailing it to the top, a dance I have done too many times to feel good about. 

The conflicting emotions that ensued after a long weekend of failure (success?) were ultimately contradictory.  After so much invested time all I wanted was the end result, and I went blind to the fact that this was a victory.  I am no longer falling where I used to, and now I am falling just shy of success.  I used to think that I had this project in the closing stages but now I realize how wrong I was, it’s not over until it’s over.