Wednesday, December 30, 2009


8a has always seemed to be a really big, unattainable, almost mystical number to climb. Lately, it doesn't seem so far fetched for me to picture myself completing a climb with a number like that.
Since I can now say that I climb v10, it seems silly that I have never even attempted anything harder. I've always had, and continue to have, this attraction to climbs that just happen to be rated v10. I'll walk up to something really pretty and invariably it always is rated v10. So naturally, thats all I've climbed. Since my spree earlier this month I have made it my small quest to break out of my habit and try an 8a or v11.
I started thinking to myself about all these hard climbs that I wanted to do that I didn't know the ratings for (all turned out to be v10 by the way...). So I started asking people who climbed harder than myself what some of their favorite climbs were. This inquiry turned to whether or not any of them were actually v11's.
"You should try Rumble in the Jungle." One friend said. "That's a v12." I replied.
It felt wrong to skip v11, 8a, all together and go to v12. So I began my research for a v11. I looked in my Hueco guide book and found that after v10, the amount of climbs that exist at the v11 rating or higher drops considerably.
"v12 in Hueco is easier than v11 anyway. You should just try a v12." my friend said...
I can't believe that. What is wrong with v11? In Europe there are tons of 8a's. You could say it's a popular grade. So why are there so many more v10's?
Is it because they are easier?
Do people just not like uneven numbers?
Whats the deal?
So, I am now on my search for the perfect v11, for me. I don't want a gimme either. I don't want to hear ANYONE say, "Oh that thing is really v10."
The search is on.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Happy holidays to all, I've had my hands full as of late but here is what you missed!

My last post was of a beautiful day of sending double digit boulder problems. I took two days off then headed back out to the Priest Draw with Jill Church. It was a very very crisp day and we struggled to stay warm. I have a little vid clip of Jill looking like a masked bandit that I'll embarrass her with on another day...
We kidded around for most of the day but because of my send day I was ampted to try my long time project, The Receptionist. So I lit the burner under our feet and we booked it down to the Mars Roof. On our way I spied a heart shaped rock. Now I have to preface this occurrence by saying that I see hearts everywhere and I have been known to hold certain superstitious attitudes. I commented to Jill on what I had seen followed by, "I'm not sending the receptionist today. Everytime I see a heart shaped rock something goes wrong." And she replied, "That sounds to me like a self defeating prophecy." We'll see, I thought.
Walking up to the Mars Roof we were greeted by a runway strip of pads already laid out beneath the climb. Wow! I'm usually there all by myself without a spotter let alone three extra crash pads! Word.
I hadn't been out there in more than 2 months so I attempted the end first. I didn't catch the crux hold until my second warm-up attempt but thought it best to try it from the bottom anyway.
Walking up to those holds was like being home.
"Hello, my old friend." I whispered to the rock.
There is something about being out at that roof. The trees speak in hushed rustles and there are always hummingbirds (save in the wintertime). I've often imagined Navajo or Hopi tribes having large meetings and sitting on the perfect thrones around the roof.
I set up my brand new camera, pressed record, walked to the start holds. The others were talking about a new area near Sedona when I started climbing. I tend to like having a distracted audience.
I bounced through the beginning moves with a well rehearsed rhythm. When I latched the telephone (the crux hold of the climb) I bore down. Even though I hit it low I thought to myself,

"Just don't let go!" So I moved with measured preciseness, I kept my breath strong. It was a blur throwing for the top jug but when I hit it, I awoke with a holler!!! YEAAAAH. haaaaa.
I just sent The Receptionist!
F-yeah. I'm 5'1" and I can't tell you how many times I've heard that I'm probably too short. Or that I need to use the heel beta (which I can't reach) or try another climb on that roof or whatever. Who cares. I did it. And I can't help but think that it was something in my mind that was holding me back all the time. Jill mentioned to me once that I tend to "savor things." Meaning that I work and work and work on things that I could really just send. That week made her statement sound too true for me to not accept. Thanks Jilly for being so wise.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A good day

I was so comfortable in my bed this morning.
I carried Ava on my shoulders through the snow down to Montessori, studied a bit then prepared to head out for a short day of grappling. I picked up Kim with her brand new BD Mondo which barely fit into my volvo (good thing I forgot my dog) and we headed out to The Draw.
Pottery Wall was a veritable solarium and we basked in the warmth of the sun in our tank tops and casually commented on the snow all over the ground. A red tail hawk flew overhead and we felt lucky to live in Flagstaff.
My warm ups went, but they didn't feel easy.
We headed to the Puzzle Box Roof and padded up Cosmic Tricycle sit (v10). I had been trying it before Thanksgiving and was starting to get frustrated by my inability to latch the top hold. I worked out some new beta for the ending, cranked the Ting Tings and prepared for attempt #1.
I rejoiced at the top feeling vindicated after putting myself through mental anguish for not sending over the four days I had worked it.
We can really be hard on ourselves can't we?
I was still psyched about my send when we headed over to The Black Roof. To my surprise I did the "easy" problem on the left first try. (And that thing always feels hard.) So I decided to work out some beta for The Black Hole (v10) which starts on the right side of the black roof and traverses across it finishing on the most awkward problem in the Priest Draw. I hadn't been able to do the first move for years (like 4.5) and I hit the pinch my first try. I thought to myself, "Wow, that felt kinda easy. Weird." So I started working the next couple moves and thought to myself that I would work on it from the start cause its kinda long (13 moves +) and maybe one day I'd just gain the right endurance to send it. So I spotted Kim on her problem and we chatted for a bit and I decided I'd just try it from the start.
I hit the first hold and it felt good. I grabbed for the second hold (a shallow slimper) and stuck it. I scrambled my feet to push for the third long move to a small crimp. Stick. I jammed my right foot in a hole and made a very big cross, my feet swung and I stabbed them to the wall. Stick.
Oh cuss. What am I going to do now? I hadn't worked out the beta? I hear Kim behind me, "Go for it, you can do this." So I cut my feet and campused for four moves on good holds. But then I had to finish up on that sh*tty problem that is so awkward and hard. I hear her again say, "You just this one, you know this ending. You can do it." I pasted my feet to the wall, shook out my numb hands and pushed for it. Stick, stick, stick.
Holy cuss, I just did 2 v10's in less than an hour. !!!
This was by far the best climbing day I've ever had. And the season has just begun.
I feel strongly that most of this sudden ability has been locked away in my mind. A fear of success? Not realizing full potential? One thing is for sure. I know my potential now and I'm not giving in to old habits. It's okay to be humble but not to a fault. When humbleness holds you back from success is it worth all the hard work? It's okay to succeed and be happy about that success.
I worked really hard to get here.
I think I'll let myself enjoy this one.

Video coming soon.