Sunshine, Ice Cream and BBQ’s with friends
Home sweet home! Although the past months have been lots of fun and very full it feels nice to be in one place for a while. And being back in my own bed is amazing.
The world cups took me all over the world and it was all go go go for a while. So I was really happy that we were able to pause for a while in Boulder, Colorado. I definitely felt ready for a break from traveling and competitions and psyched to get back out climbing on the rock in the mountains and see some good friends.
Being up in the mountains surrounded by a breathtaking landscape is definitely one of my favourite places to be. The big walks at high altitude make for a long and tiring day out and the climbing added on top of that means you rarely get home feeling anything but exhausted. Although as hard as it is I feel a great sense of satisfaction after a long day out, climbing a boulder problem is a bonus really.
Unfortunately the first week of my trip was was not so fun. I somehow managed to get a cold despite the temperature never dropping below 30°C in Boulder. I think my body decided it deserved a rest after the intense competition season. After a few days in bed I was able to hike but that was the extent of my exertion. Climbing did not happen so much and I had to have a rest day every other day. Over a week into the trip I finally felt like I was on the road to recovery and the downwards spiral had ceased. I had sat and watched the boys crush and now I was psyched to have a go at trying hard myself. I warmed up with the group and had a play on a few things. But there was just one problem I wanted to try. There was one problem that had been on my mind since my visit to Colorado last year. I had been told it might not be climbable due to the high snow but I wanted to check just in case . It was all good to go, Well after Martin did a bit of digging. It would be rude not to try it right? I was so surprised to do all of the moves really quickly. I tried the problem last year and I remember it feeling crazy hard and there was one move I couldn’t quite do. This year I felt stronger and after giving in to my stubbornness and trying the beta Ned suggested I had all the moves dialled. Darkness was closing in so I only had a few attempts from the start. They just got better and better. I fell going to the jug right at the end.
I was amazed, happy, psyched, cold and tired. I ended the day with that high point knowing that I could do the boulder.
After a rest day tubing down the river through Boulder it was time to get back up to Lower chaos and try again, I was so excited about trying the boulder again. I knew for sure I could do it and couldn’t wait to get back on it. I had to hold just one more hold than last time and that was it. What could go wrong…. Unfortunately conditions were not on my side and the excitement was quickly replaced with frustration. Also, I do not think that tubing qualifies as a rest day, we all felt super tired and none of us got to the top of our projects. I had made no progress and the boulder felt really really hard! I guess V13 is supposed to feel hard but it was annoying to have felt like I had taken a step backwards.
We spent the next day at a shooting range. Turns out I am not very good at shooting a gun and It was time to get back out again. This time we went EARLY. I did not want to let conditions get in the way again and to save the pressure of only having a short amount of time on the problem we went super early. I have to thank Ned and Jackie for their big big support, waking up at 5am isn’t easy.
You get to see sights like this at that time in the morining though.
Turns out that getting up at 5am to go climbing is a really bad idea for me. I need sleep and don’t do very well without it.
Projecting is so hard. It was such a mental battle and it was totally new to me. I had gone even further backwards. I could barely do any moves. We had just over a week left. The added pressure of time did not make things any easier. We went home and had a lazy day via Ice cream.
Myself and Jackie is Estes
I had got to the last move on a day when I had not felt at my best. How could I possibly not do the problem. Especially when in isolation the last move was not so bad.
After day climbing at Mt Evens clearing my head and trying different boulder problems I was ready to have a rest day and get back out on the project. I climbed an awesome problem called Clear Blue Skies, V11. It was good to turn my focus to something else and do some different moves.
Turns out my cold decided it wasn’t done with me yet and one rest day turned into two. After two rest days motivation was not so easy to find. It was 37°C in Boulder and laying on the sofa seemed much more appealing than going out climbing.
The realisation came to me whilst I lay on the sofa that I was afraid of trying it again. It had left me both emotionally and physically fatigued and progress in previous sessions had been reversed. I was afraid because I knew I could do it. I had got to the last move. Touched the last hold.
After some pep talking from the boys (or you could call it abuse and name calling) I peeled my butt off the sofa. After a stop off for the cookies and muffin supplies we were on our way. The walk up to Lower Chaos is beautiful but also hard, long and tiring. I like taking my time and not arriving at the boulders totally wasted. You can see miles of dense forest covering the vast landscape so the walk is really pretty.
I had not expected to climb the boulder on that day all. I was afraid of being shut down (again). I had convinced myself it was too hot. Luckily some of my good friends were out climbing too so I was excited to see some of my favourite faces and have a fun evening.
I had already started thinking when I could come back. If I could come back. Would there be time. Would I be getting in the way of everyone else’s plans.
After a warm up I was sat back at the bottom of Nothin’ But Sunshine again. Looking up wondering what today’s session might have in store. I met Alex Puccio under the problem and for the first time I got to discuss the beta with someone else who was trying it. There were subtle differences in our methods but on something that hard subtle can make all the difference. I have to thank Alex for giving me the more efficient beta on the last move.
It was fun to climb with Alex and Angie. I think it was important for me to have fun on this climb. I had to relax. I had tried a few times from the start and something had gone wrong each time. Either I caught a hold wrong, put my foot on wrong, greased off etc. It all came together on one go. I hit the holds right, tried hard and did not let go! I still don’t think the realisation has sunk in.
Photo: Angie Payne
Thanks to Ned and Martin for coming out on their rest day’s to carry pads and motivation up the big hill.
I had never really understood how people can become so transfixed by one piece of rock and spend session after session trying the same moves. But now I get it and there is no explanation for it.
It was crazy to come back to something a whole year later. The difference in my strength and ability was crazy. The moves felt insanely hard last year and it is almost hard to believe I have climbed the whole boulder problem. There is one person who I have to thank, my coach, Mark Glennie. He has pushed me to my limit, let no injury get in the way of training and made me believe in myself.
Thanks to Bearcam Media
I got to hang out with some amazing people!
See some amazing things!
And I also came home to lots of boxes from Adidas! Psyched to get training now!