“Sorry u feel so full of energy tho”.
That was the message from my boyfriend showing a huge depth of understanding. After 4 (and a bit) climbing days in Boven, where we often walked out in the dark, I should feel happily broken. Yet I was bouncing around and having to face the prospect of an 8 hr car ride home. This was bad in so many ways. But mostly it meant that I hadn’t pushed myself hard enough. And that was where he truly revealed how well he knows me.
He knew I’d be kicking myself for coming all this way and not milking out every last drop. True, we’d had long days at the crag and I had even tried to onsight in the fading light of the day, only giving up when it became impossible to see the next hold. True, we’d had a few days where we climbed 2 or 3 different crags and I then went for a jog. While everyone around me was complaining of cramping forearms and tired shoulders – the way I usually felt after a day or two in Boven – I felt as if I’d just come off a few rest days. Even though I had clambered up a number of harder lines I was loathe to project on this trip. I had gone for mileage rather than thrashing myself on projects.
Jerome keeping a close eye on me on the balancey and awkward moves on Be Quick or Be Dead Photo by Tony Lourens
I had felt an enormous sense of satisfaction on climbing the heady feel good lines and, as always, had gained answers to questions I didn’t realise I was asking. By day 4 I was feeling invincible and bomber solid on the rock. Perhaps it was that “I’m a superhero” feeling that was juicing me with so much energy. This was aided by that warm fuzzy feeling I got that final morning – the Durbanites had rushed out to the crag at 7am in the wind and mist determined to climb till the very last minute.
I found it ever so heart-warming to see 3 Durbanites at a time scrambling up the golden orange rock, psyched to be out there. By the time I got into that car and kissed my boyfriend goodbye I was thinking “I’ve just gotten warmed up. Bring on the projects!”
We screened the Reel Rock Tour 9 at the gym last Wednesday evening. It is an annual event that I’ve come to look forward to. The award winning, adrenalin-filled films are rather entertaining and crowd pleasing and I enjoy the social aspect of sharing in that experience.
However, after watching this year’s Reel Rock Tour I felt mildly disappointed. It hadn’t had nearly as much of the edgy climbing as previous years. This year they had chosen to dig into the history of Yosemite and make it one feature film rather than usual format of a collection of shorter stories.
But the following day and the day after that the history and the lessons from the film clung to me and seeped into my brain, swirling around, waiting for me to notice them and ponder them further.
I was driving to the crag the other day and I was suddenly reminded of a recent conversation with someone at the crag about watching your own thoughts. I had managed to sneak a quick weekend trip to Boven about a month ago. One morning, while we were waiting in the queue to try some of the new routes that Gustav had bolted, I struck up a conversation with a lady there. She was commenting on her fear factor and I casually tried to explain to her that she needed to watch her own thoughts. She looked at me as if I was a hippy who had smoked her breakfast and politely nodded and smiled. Perhaps I phrased it a little too Terry Pratchett-esque. But watching your own thoughts is quite a skill. So often we go through the beta of a route in our heads and picture ourselves falling off on the move we are afraid of or where we always fall. And we don’t even realise we are picturing it.
As much as I loathe the rising temperature of Spring and with it, the imminent humidity, it’s beautiful sunny mornings like this that get me active.
This morning I sprung out of bed while it was still dark. Time to go find that line. I’ve been searching for a 16 to bolt at Kirk Falls so that climbers of all abilities can climb there. So far it has proven difficult as the starting moves of most of the climbs tend to be burly, bumping up the grade spuriously. I thought I had finally found one on the far left of the crag where the angle eases up and ledges seem bountiful but alas, as I was abbing down and digging away the dirt in the grooves it seemed to me that the ledges were just slopey enough that they would put off people climbing that grade. But it looked like a cool line so I started drilling away.
Every now and then you need to hang up the proj and go do some fun climbing with friends for a weekend. When Brigitte started to organise a weekend at Mt Everest I jumped at the chance to join in. There was a bit of something for everyone there: trad, sport, multi pitch, single pitch and trails for miles. It left the possibility open to attract some of my jo’burg friends along – a nice midpoint meeting place. Unfortunately the joburgers didn’t materialise but come Friday afternoon I was plenty excited to jump in the car and start our little mini getaway.