Friday, November 02, 2012
Punks, El Cap, and The Red
October may be the best month for climbing but early Nov tends to have the best days. So it's hardly surprising that rad stuff is happening all over that place. As usual, it starts with Adam Ondra...
Fresh off establishing the world’s hardest route, Ondra came to the US for the first time, heading straight for the only place with enough hard climbing to entertain him, in theory anyway. A few days ago he flashed a 9a+ and, yesterday, he onsighted two 9as. He downgraded all of these but we must keep in mind that nobody had ever onsighted a single 9a, much less two in a day, or flashed 9a+. Adam has onsighted more 8c+ than the rest of the world put together so, as Jonathan Seigrist suggested, he may be too strong to know. Or maybe he’s just being modest. Uk CLimbing has a full report here. The downgrades won't really stick until confirmed.
Speaking of Siegrist, he’s on El Cap with Tommy Caldwell on the latter’s decade-long Yosemite odyssey with what will be, by far, the hardest wall route in the world should anyone ever do it. Siegrist offers this great post where he shed’s some light on the difficulty of this monster. Maybe Ondra should head to The Valley.
My favorite post by far, however, comes from Oz where October doesn’t even matter. Mayan Smith-Gobat has given Punks in the Gym, the world’s first 5.14, its first female ascent. But it’s not the route or the grade that made her tale special. It’s her personal relationship with the climb. Realizing life long dreams is very cool, especially when they take this much effort. Mayan nails the travails of just how hard redpoints at your absolute limit can be.
Punks in the Gym put me through a full range of emotions. It caused me a huge amount of frustration, forced me to examine myself and my motivations for climbing. Before heading down to Australia on this last trip, I seriously debated the amount of effort I have invested, and whether it was really worth it… Eventually, I came to the realization that this route does hold a special importance to me. Therefore, I chose to sacrifice other goals and put a month into training specifically for this route. As a result, I felt much stronger this year. However, it was still a struggle… both mentally and physically.
vids: mayan’s been on an incredible roll lately. she’s also free climbed el cap so, since the punk footage is lacking, the el cap vid picks up the slack. she’s makes some nice observations on why we bother with such nonsense as climbing and, if you’re intro freeing big walls, she gives you blow by blow beta on the crux of the salathe—-incidentally another monumental climb and the first big route to get freed on el cap. the pitch she’s describing in the vid was so out there at the time that most of the climbing world didn’t believe it had really gone free.