I’ve recently been on a bit of a binge of routes that frequently see ascents from young crushers. I recently sent God’s Own Stone (14a) and made a decent flash effort on Swingline (13d) falling at the very end of the crux sequence. God’s Own Stone has seen numerous ascents by kids under the age of 13, and Swingline was just recently sent by a 9 year old girl from Australia. Wow.
People often discredit these ascents saying that the routes in the red are soft if you are less than 5 feet tall and have little children fingers. However, I can assure that these routes are still hard. Nevertheless, the style of the climbing here and the type of rock is very conducive to little kid crushing. Here are the top reasons:
A) The rock here is often pocketed and finger size matters
B) The rock is extremely featured, creating many options, especially footholds
C) Young kids naturally have very good endurance and the routes here are LONG
D) Little kids are stronger than you. Deal with it.
Next time you catch yourself spraying about little kids destroying your projects just remember, you are not as strong as a 9 year old.
I have spent the last few climbing days climbing with my visiting friend and Rumney local Neil Mushaweh. Neil was only here for a short trip so that meant that there was no time for messing around, only business. I started off by making a second try take down of Silky Smooth (13c), an amazing fitness route on the right side of the Chocolate Factory sector. I certainly surprised myself a bit since it was my third day on and I was not feeling very strong. Our next day on, I gave Lucifer a solid effort only to destroy my fingers on the route’s sharp pockets. With sending out of the question, we decided to mover over to the Chocolate Factory.
Both Neil and I quickly took down Buttercup (13c). With a bit of energy to spare, I decided to give Atomic Fireball (14a) an onsight effort. After failing on a half hearted attempt, I figured out the moves and felt pretty confident that it could go down next try. Finding footholds is often the most difficult aspect of climbing here. There are seemingly unlimited options and indecisive footwork drains your energy. The 70ish foot route consists of a series of long moves and big lock-off between in-cut edges. Very much my style. On my second try, I climbed extremely confidently, and executed the crux sections almost perfectly and made it to the chains with some energy to spare. STOKED. This was certainly my best day so far this trip.
Day three was Neil’s last climbing day so we decide to go hard. Easier said than done. With highs in the forties that day, even warming up felt way harder and more painful than it should ever feel. Neil managed to fall off our first 5.11 warm up of the day and I barely made it up myself. Not very confidence inspiring at the start of a long day. After groveling up a second warm up, we ran around the corner to the Dark Side sector. They don’t call it the Dark Side for nothing. It was dark, windy, and cold, probably only in the mid thirties. However, Neil’s psyche prevailed over the heinous conditions and he was able to send Elephant Man (13b). Extremely impressive effort given the circumstances.
We then made our way to the nearby Gold Coast sector. This is a great cold day crag, however, it was still in the shade and brutally cold. After utilizing some east coast tactics to warm up my fingers (getting your fingers numb before you climb then rapidly heating them up with friction/back of the neck/frantic arm swinging), I gave Black Gold (13c) a send go. After pitching off 2/3 of the way up the wall from making a stupid mistake I quickly lowered, pulled the rope, and tied back in. After a five-minute rest, I went back at it, this time making it all the way to the chains. This route was certainly a bit of a nemesis for me, ever since I fell off the top of the route on my flash attempt. Very happy to be done with that one and I can definitively say that Black Gold is the best route that I have done in the red.
Neil and I had both finished our goals for the day before lunch. We hit two more crags and Neil finished off his trip with an impressive flash of Easy Rider (13a) in frigid conditions. After a five crag day, we were totally destroyed. After a much needed rest day, I can’t wait to get back at it and put down some harder rock climbs, weather permitting.
As the season is winding down here, it is time to start planning the next leg of my trip. Here is a bit of a sneak preview.