19 February 2011

ABS Nationals

Last weekend I stuffed Fritz down into my puffy jacket and we boarded the plane to Colorado for ABS Nationals. One athlete, one stowaway. Sneaking a pup through the airport and onto a plane is levels easier than competing!
The competition was conveniently held in a huge warehouse, making tons of space for spectators and the freshly made walls built by John Stack. We had six problems in the qualifying round, three in the semi-finals, and three more in the World Cup-styled finals. Needless to say, after the three rounds of climbing I was exhausted!

Photo by Beau Kahler
The women's results were: Alex Puccio, Francesca Metcalf, Sasha Digiulian, myself!, Angie Payne.
Men's results: Canadian Sean McColl, Alex Johnson (not me, the other one!), Kyle Owen.

Photo by Beau Kahler

Here is the highlight video from the weekend:

And a fun video of the competitors hanging out in Isolation :)

Fritz and I then flew back to Bishop to continue the world class bouldering. It's been a lot of fun climbing with good friends, and there are even more people continuing  to arrive!!

09 February 2011

Fluttery Hearts

The typing is slow-going today; I'm a few fingertips down. A lot has happened since we went all redneck glock shooting! Fritz put up an FDA (First Doggy Ascent) of her new boulder problem "Puttin' On The Fritz" (think Fred Astaire) and graded it 4 Bones. I'm sure it'll soon become a classic.

The weather has continued to be glorious, and we've all continued to chip away at personal projects. I climbed an amazing boulder a few weeks ago and earned a bloody souvenir that made climbing a bit more difficult for the next few days. Nine digits is just not the same. I am even more impressed with Tommy Caldwell's accomplishments now.

Lately we've been getting into star chasing. A lot of climbers out there go grade chasing, and they have no idea what they're missing. Stars are where it's at, they're going to be the new thing, I'm sure of it. And in the Bishop guidebook, stars are often accompanied by "fluttery hearts," meaning tall and scary. So naturally, along with chasing stars we've been chasing fluttery hearts as well, making the climbing quite exciting.

With the temps only getting hotter, we decided to seclude ourselves in the Ice Caves at the Sad Boulders for a few days. It was my first time to the Sads and I must say I was pleasantly impressed! As Wills describes it, "It's a poor man's Hueco Tanks." All the boulders in the Ice Caves are very steep and gymnastic, differing from the Buttermilks completely, making them a fun change!

Things got really exciting when we tried to drive out to the Pollen Grains the other day. The road is still completely snow-covered which is strange because there's barely any snow left anywhere in Bishop now. We packed pads into the bed of Wills and Lisa's Dodge 4x4 and set off in an attempt to blaze a trail. We began to get a little worried when going downhill in four-wheel drive was difficult... But we made it!! The area was new to me and it was exciting to climb on all the tall, fun classics!

Photos by Wills Young

We've also been trekking out to the Beehive area so Cory could work on The Swarm. The Beehive area is home to one of my proudest sends so far, and it is given a whopping three fluttery hearts! This boulder has been on my Bishop Wish List for years, and in the past I've just been too scared to commit to the finishing mantle crux.
Secrets of the Beehive!

When I grabbed the lip, I felt as though I had just climbed my first 8B. In other words, so psyched! I was gunning for the MVP Award with this terrifying highball ascent, but Erik ended up trumping me by doing both of the three-star Queen Sweet Nectars. Blast! Whoops, I mean, good work Erik!

We've still been playing with the direct finish on Evilution but the height and the  fear make it incredibly intimidating, and motivation is dropping. This project of mine might just be best left for someone other than me.

Tomorrow Fritz and I are flying to Boulder for the weekend for ABS Nationals and I must say I will miss Bishop dearly. Thankfully, I'm only leaving for a couple days! :) We'll see how the competition goes when I show up with totally destroyed fingertips...

One last exciting bit of info... The Austrians & Co. have arrived!! We've been having a blast climbing all the classics together, they're toughening up their skin and I'm looking forward to see what's going to get done by my Euro beast friends! Yesterday Nalle did The Swarm in like five minutes. Ok maybe more like thirty, but either way, it was impressively quick.