Sunday, June 29, 2008

Little Sauna

The temperature edged towards triple digits the past few days in the greater Seattle Area. High eighties for "cooler" Seattle, same for the normally cold Sammamish, and even warmer in North Bend, near Mount Si. In eastern Washington, Leavenworth, the mercury boiled up to 96 degrees. The weather's been hot. Now, they say that it's okay to workout in the heat. It loosens the muscles, they say. Your flexibility is higher, they say. You lose more weight they say. Well "they" don't know shit about rock climbing. For the past two days, Little Si transformed into a little sauna. The trees grabbed the moisture and hugged it close to the steep gray rhyolite wall. My forearms sweated grabbing the slick, greasy rock. I could barely keep enough chalk on my hands. The humidity and the heat made conditions suck. Or so I imagine. Patrick O'Donnell, a former Californian, informed me that the temps were abnormal. Still, Patrick was able to climb, and well at that. Despite the sauna conditions, Patrick redpointed Extended Illness (5.13c), an extension to the classic Chronic. The route follows the sustained Chronic to just below the anchors before jogging right up through a difficult v7 boulder problem. The red haired Irish man's smooth ascent inspired me. I want to climb hard too. So I tried. And I floundered. And I tried more. And I floundered more. After four tries I managed to squeak out an easy climb to a dumb boulder problem. Then I performed some multi-pitch bouldering on Technoridge, which features a v5 boulder problem to easier climbing. The heat definitely made climbing difficult. I felt sluggish and only climbed 6 pitches yesterday and 5 today. Sad. While I did manage to flash Rainy Day Woman (a good flash for me) and send Busta Move, I felt like my climbing blew.

Today, I hiked to the crag and caught a belay from the bantam weight Ben Gillkinson and his buddy Ryan. The boys were busy establishing a new route when I came to the crag. Actually, Ryan was laboring on the route, smashing off loose holds, and cleaning the rig while Ben twirled around on the rope, belaying from below. After removing all the choss, Ben booted up and tried the rig. Looks hard. The line is an extension of an extension of a route. Weird. It climbs Rainy Day Woman (12a) through Hydrophobia (12d) and into a large obvious roof with a hard boulder problem involving some serious campusing. Think v8 on small holds. Eventually Patrick rolled up to the crag and we climbed together for awhile. Fun stuff.

At the end of the evening I tried Technoridge. It was hot. I was sweating. The holds were greasy. I moved up through the 11b begininning, into the v5 boulder problem, where I was quickly bouted. I tried the move again. And again. And again with marginal success. I moved to the top of the route. Lightning flashed across the sky as I headed to the anchor. I grabbed a sidepull and planked my body, cantilevering off a smooth fin of rock. I hit a small hold and threw for a large sidepull. Then I fell. I whipped twenty feet before the rope finally caught me. That's when I heard the lightning. Patrick and I walked down, following Ben. It was nearly dark. As I drove back to Sammamish, it started to drizzel, then rain. And I started to think, then obsess. I'll have to go back to Little Si soon.

1 comment:

Mandi said...

dude! What's with all the bitching about conditions?!