Spring climbing season is always a little more finicky than fall. The weather is more of a gamble, and conditions are decidedly better at the beginning of the season (when you’re at your weakest) versus the end (when you’re at your strongest.) This is the opposite of fall, when conditions are steadily improving at (hopefully) the same pace you are. That said, completing your spring projects before the summer heat sets in usually becomes a race against rapidly deteriorating conditions.
This is typically the point in the spring where I realize there are so many good routes, and so little time!!! Even though the winter was so wet we got outside approximately zero times, I came into the spring fairly strong. Winter training consisted of a lot of “try hard” bouldering in the gym, and I am really getting used to (dare I say it, almost embracing) moving with momentum and power. I based my training off the personalized program that Kris Hampton from Power Company Climbing gave me last year, and in some ways, I feel like I’m getting more out of it this second time around. Maybe because I’m more familiar with the drills I’m able to apply the skills better? Who knows, but I’ll take it! (And thanks Kris, for the gift that apparently keeps on giving!)
So in light of all of that, here’s what’s been happening after about a month’s worth of climbing…
HERA’S BONDAGE 11d – SENT 3/23. Perfect route for remembering how to rock climb after a winter’s worth of plastic – more on that here.
HERE COMES THE RAIN 12b – Classic hard NC slab route at The Dump. Cryptic, committing, and a couple of hard clips. 4 tries on 3/30. Best go spit me off moving to the clipping hold of the last bolt. Most exciting go featured me falling with an armful of rope out when my foot popped off without warning at the 3rd bolt (yeehaw!)
STARRY 12a – SENT 4/6. This was a rematch continued over from back in 2016 when I punted off the last move. After a bolt to bolt warm-up hanging draws, I sent 2nd go of the day. The moves felt a lot easier than I’d remembered them…but I still only narrowly avoided the punt on that same finishing move. I tossed, came up short, managed to catch myself, shake out, go again, and latch. I’ll take it!
GREEN ENVY 12c – This is the one you guys. If I could choose just one route to send this season, it would be this one. Monster line that includes a good mix of things I’m good at (crimpy face climbing) and things I’m not (giant, bouldery moves.) Took 3 exhausting TR burns on it on 4/7. Opted for the TR b/c there’s a fairly scary (but probably clean) runout between the 3rd and 4th bolts, as well as just a TON of intricate beta to dial in. Best go was linking from mid-runout to the top. Time to tackle it on the sharp end.
SIGNED WITH BLOOD 12b – Of all the lines I’ve tried this spring, this is the one that was hardest to walk away from. Tried on 4/13, the delicate movement on the arete was everything I love, but ufortunately I got on it too late in the day to put it all together. Best go was a fall just before the last bolt, when stalling out for far too long around the 2nd bolt trying to remember my beta finally caught up with me. Too bad the next day was rainy.
HIPPOCRITE 12a – That next day rain day is what prompted us to head to the Zoo to get on this beast. Though it’s much steeper and far more powerful than our typical face climbing fare, it was dry and only 45 feet tall – plus it’s good to work your weaknesses, right?!? Unfortunately for both of us, however, we couldn’t quite get our Day 3 guns to fire on all cylinders when it came time for that giant undercling move at the crux. My best go out of 4 was a one hang.
So that’s what’s in the hopper for me this season. Nothing outrageous, grade-wise, but definitely some pushing out of the comfort zone style-wise for me. If all goes well and the weather cooperates, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think they could all go down. Or, if we get a slew of rainy weekends combined with a lapse of try hard on my part, I could easily be heading into the summer with zero new notches in my belt. But that’s how it goes. Sending season is unpredictable at best, right? In the meantime, Green Envy remains priority uno. Which means you can find me doing 4x4s in the gym mid-week and doing anti-rain dances as the weekends approach.