Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Hope, heat and heartbreaks

High on Black Mamba 8a

After sacking off Ceuse, we headed from the mountains and into the heat of the Provence region. Grape vines covered the slopes below Mt Ventoux in these was St Leger which I would say beats Ceuse but just for me because it has loads of good 8b's and 8b+'s which is just what I like. The style is pure fitness, you wouldn't fall off because the moves are too hard which I'd never really experienced. First, I finished off an 8b+ I tried last time and was please to find I had got so much stronger since last time and showed I could do 8b+ second go. This gave me help because I knew I could climb harder than that. I also tried and 8b called Praniania which felt really easy.

We spent most of our time at sector La Baleine which is a smaller looking version of Rodellar. It had two classic 8b+'s and two 8c's so plenty to go for, I started with flashing an 8a on the left hand side of the cave and it felt easy. I was feeling so good! Next I put the draws in Collection Automne Hiver 8b+ which was an epic. I took 5 10m whips when I was trying to put the draws in! I came down and had to call it a day because it took so much out of me. After a rest day we returned and I had three goes and dropped turning the lip of the cave twice, but found new beta at the end of the day. After more rest I tried again and managed to send it with the new beta. Me and Luke reckoned 8a+ to a rest then a roof which gave a hard 8b followed by a hands of rest then a technical 7c to the top. All in all I thought it was hard 8b+.

8a+ at Venasque

We also climbed at Venasque, which has some amazing rock with really cool features and some incredible secret walls. I managed to onsight my second 8a but it was a really soft one so I only felt like I had done a standard 7c+, and I have felt more psyched after 7b+ onsights. I just think I get most satisfaction from either cruising something or having a fight because with cruising I am psyched because I know I climbed really well and the fight just involves the most physical investment so you get great rewards. But I'm not sure which I prefer. I also tried an 8a+ which was ridiculously hard! Unfortunately I'd run out of juice after one go on this.

7c+ at Venasque

More rest and we returned to La Baleine, we'd left the draws in the climb so I just warmed up and went for an attempt on Collection Automne Hiver, I climbed to the rest really efficiently barely getting pumped, I left the rest and kept going the new beta worked but I still had to really keep it together while I felt like my arms would fail at any moment. Right onto the slab, I'd done the physical part now was time for the mental part. I'd never actually linked the 7c so I was nervous as I stood there recovering. I set off feeling calm and light, every move I executed perfectly but still it felt hard after climbing that much a 7c was a real challenge.

Heartbreaks, I think I'd describe them in a climbing sense as when you put all your energy into one attempt give it absolutely everything and realise that you just aren't good enough and no matter how hard you try you won't succeed. I tried this 8b+ called Jungle Speed, it was hard I would say it was 8a into another 8a with only a few shake outs with the crux right at the top. It was one of the best route I'd ever tried completely beautiful flowing movement, I had two days left and I wanted to do it so badly. I climbed fast, fluent and still found the going hard. On my first go I was going for the last hold with hard moves around it, but I wasn't close. Next go I fell earlier. This was at the top of a 35m route and every time I knew I had to climb back up to that point. On the same day Luke fell 3 times at the top of Collection Automne Hiver even after doing the crux move on the 7c he pumped out and dropped it!

Luke doing Coloscope 8a

The last day it was my last chance and I'd never wanted it so bad, I climbed the best I ever had never faltering or hesitating but still I got to the crux and fell a move lower from a stupid mistake, I knew I hadn't enough energy left, I wasn't frustrated just broken that I didn't have it in me to complete those moves. A true heartbreaker.
Thanks to My Sponsors: Dewerstone
Sports Aid
North Devon Sports Foundation
The massive cave!

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