Yesterday things heated up. Sometimes unexpected things happen and yesterday I found my body feeling rather bad but all the warm up’s felt easy. How could I feel bad but climb all of these problems easily? How could my fingers feel sore but pull much harder than I usually manage to do? I don’t know. How could it be so hot yet conditions be some of the best I’ve ever experienced? A strange day all round.
It all went down at Rempart. After warming up I decided to try Atresie as my knee is healed from my previous attempt. I’ve never felt good on this problem but I still feel like I can do, I should do it, and I want to do it. It was so hot in the sun that we were climbing tops off. Snow one day… tops off the next day. Very interesting. The warmth did nothing to decrease friction, in fact it felt like it was aiding it. I had my best ever goes on Atresie and managed to fall with my fingers only a few cm away from the final jug. I was quite shocked to have got that far as I never feel strong on it. In fact, I always feel a long way from doing it! Progress was definitely made. Riding the wave of progress I turned my attention to Big Golden, which is another problem that feels super difficult and one which I’ve never managed to get close to doing. The good conditions and some inspiration from seeing DJ crushing the crimp caused me to man up and I actually felt like I could do it. I defaulted back to the method of choice… be like Jerry! After a few more go’s the strength left my body and I had to give up, but I was really content to have made progress on both of these classic problems. They are both great problems and also feel hard to me, so a perfect combination. I don’t understand how anybody could come to font and not try to climb these problems (if you’re climbing around the 7C+/8A mark that is…).

Me on Atresie (Photo courtesy of Landman Photography)

After getting powered out it was time to try something that required less power but more finesse, Kheops. There was a big team assembled, perhaps 5 or 6 people all trying it, and all British. As a testament to the perfect conditions, even with 6 people having go after go the holds never really became greasy. It was amazing. I had some good goes and felt like I grasped some fragment of understanding about the subtle position which enables success. For me it felt like a combination of left leg clamping and the vector of my right knee. If I can get both of these things perfect then I can do it. Tyler did the crux move after not too many goes and it was only a matter of time before he added the 1 additional move to get the problem ticked. His theory was that you need to be fast and slow at the same time… which conveniently combine to create flow. It’s all about the flow on Kheops. Dave Barrans was also looking very close and I’m sure if he gets the weather window he’ll get it done this week.

The day was a good example of my return to a once lost philosophy. I had a really good time trying these problems and I felt like I achieved something by getting close. It’s far too easy for me to discount things as 0, as failure, but it’s such a foolish thing to do. Progress was made and that is all I ask for.