“World Up…. Keep Climibing”

The above quote is the new(?) slogan for the IFSC, which stands for the International Federation of Sport Climbing for those of you who didn’t know. It’s kinda cheesey, okay really cheesey, but the last part makes sense to me now. But first let me back up for and let you know what I mean.

For the first weekend of October I went back down to Ten Sleep for some onsight training. The first day I onsighted Calm Like a Bomb 5.12c/d, going into it I was nervous, like the kind of nervousness I’ve only gotten at SCS Nationals, that butterfly feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes you feel like you might get sick. I’ve learned to just push past this feeling and that the begining of a route always sets the pace for me for the rest of the route. At first I was moving slowly, too slowly for my liking, and I tried to move faster but I ended up breaking a foothold mid-move and encountering some insects living in a pocket (non-stining is guess but they still were pissed at me) so I had to keep my slow pace. Then all of a sudden I was two bolts from the top and I knew it was pretty much over. Cool, that wasn’t that bad, lets try something harder tomorrow.

Calm Like A Bomb 5.12c/d

The next day the group of us went to the French Cattle Ranch and after another long warm up I onsighted Wyoming Flower Child 5.11d and Esplanada 5.12d. On WFC I felt a little nervous but not that bad, I have yet to fall on a 11d/12a at ten sleep {knocks on wood} and then proceeded up the climb with a little difficulty at the top figuring out where to go. Then I tried Esplanada, which is netorious for being sandbagged (originally graded 5.12c and thought by some to be 5.13a). When I went to step on I was nervous, but without the butterflys, I was more worried about my breath and being ready to climb than wheather or not I would fall. The bottom started out well and then it gets hard in a hurry. At the top I was definitively trying my hardest to make each move and do it well. I made each move confidently and kept my eyes open for all the footholds around even though I was pumped I kept a cool head. I clipped the anchors and cleaned coming down feeling really happy with myself and confident in my ability.

Fletcher "Rodeo Master" Chen

The last day of the trip we went back to the FCR because my friends wanted to finish up their project Dances With Cows 13a/b. I had been taking pictures of everyone trying the route from a fixed line for the last two days and didn’t really have anything I wanted to try to onsight that day. So after a quick spray down on the proper beta (I had been watching but not paying any close attention to beta while taking pictures, I think its a form of tunnel vission lookign through a lens) I began at the end of the day to give a flash attempt just before we had to leave. This time I wasn’t nervous at all I knew how good about half the holds were cause of ascending up it three different times, and I was pretty sure I could pull it off. I climbed to the crux and had to figure out some other (non-lock off at the hip) beta on the fly and it worked! I was psyched, I have onsighted 5.12d and flashed 5.13a before but not at the same time and not in such style.

Tate on Dances With Cows 5.13a/b

The best part about the weekend wasn’t that I pulled off some of the best climbing I have done but that I was confident in my ability, I think It helped a lot that I knew what I could do instead of wondering whats going to happen? It helped me know I was ready to attempt to compete at the World Cup the next weekend.

Shawn on Dances With Cows 5.13a/b

Aaron Hjelt and I drove down on Thursday. Aaron was the DJ slinging beats throughout the event and he also set up all the lighting for finals! On Saturday I went into the gym and looked at the two routes I had to do for Qualifiers that day. One was a Orange themed route that went through the steepest part of the wall which looked to be the harder of the two and we had a blue themed route to the right which still looked pretty hard.

I was the second person to try the blue route which meant that I wouldn’t get to see many people try to climb it or gain any information as my fellow US team mates who had climbed it. So I watched the video of the forerunner a few times and then sequenced it a bunch for myself. Unfortunately Jon “La Machine” Cardwell foreran the route. He is much smaller (more compact) than me and much stronger. This meant that right off the ground the first hard move on the route was a stopper for me and a few people right behind me. It required a long lock off from a bad left hand crimp to a large full hand pinch, but to get there you either had to toe into the good hold below you or heel hook next to the draw (literally). I tried the toe and my frame ended up bringing my hips out away from the wall and I couldn’t stick the pinch as I fell out from the wall. I was devastated. The route didn’t look too hard for a while after that move and I knew I could have made it much further if not for my error in body position. Oh well that’s comp climbing weather your at your local gym or at the a stop on the World Cup Tour.

I knew I had a while so I just sat and watched people on the orange route. I knew it was going to be harder but I was surprised when Noah Ridge came down from an impressive climb and told the rest of us it wasn’t quite as hard as it looked. That relieved me a little bit. So I took my frustration out on my re-warm up and then went and sat in the chair waiting for the brushing to finish. I started off the first moves okay and then the move to the first clipping hold kinda stumped me and I danced my feet for a sec. Then the route got hard quick making all your body positions strenuous even clipping which became my downfall. I made it to below the long draw and had a hell of a time clipping it, because the wall overhangs at near 45 degrees the long draws hang way out from the wall making it even harder to clip. After tiring myself out clipping I desperately threw myself at the next hold and fell.

I felt much happier with how the 2nd route went, but I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to get me into semi-finals. Even though I’m disappointed with how I did on the first route I’m happy with my training and preparation going into this event. I’m stronger than ever and finally feeling healthy after my shoulder injury. I meet my goal by not coming in last place, the only thing I want to change now is to not sport climb for a while. I need to change things up, I’ve got a thanksgiving trip to Joe’s Valley lined up and I’m going to start training power for Full Gravity Day 11, needless to say I’m stoked! That and I need to get back into gear climbing, I realized last week that I’ve done about 12 pitches on gear total this year, that needs to change, especially with all the classics I still have to try in Gallatin Canyon before I leave Bozeman. I might have been extremely humbled by the level that my competition climbed at but it also inspired me to “Keep Climbing” I really want to try my hand at another World Cup and see if I can’t bring my ability up to their level.

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