14 juin 2011

A new physical and psychological level

Well it's now been more than 1 week since I sent my first 8B+ boulder and I thought it would be great to make a post here so you can learn more about the send.

Normally I shouldn't have been climbing in magic that time because it's usually studying time for the exams but I dropped off college because I didn't really enjoy the studies and didn't really feel like studying neither...
So I decided to come down to magic and meet some friends of mine who were already there.
I must say that since September I have not been climbing a lot although I sent two 8b's back in April ( Steppenwolf and riverbed ) so I was pretty unsure I would be strong enough to climb harder stuff. Anyway on my first day I tried "Body Count" which is 8a/+ felt damn good in it but couldn't send due to hard heel hook.
Next day after some reflection I decided that I had to set my sights on something harder than anything I'd climbed.
I therefore thought about some 8b+, never ending story was in my mind but I'd fucked up my right knee trying too much last year so I was pretty sure I would just injure myself trying it. So I thought about "Ill thrill" that have recently been downgraded to 8b+ but it looked so hard that I decided not to even try... Then "remembrance of things past" was exciting me because it's kind of my total style but I don't know why I didn't feel any attraction with it. It wanted something that would be hard and beautiful in the same time, some outstanding line that I would fall in love with because I knew I would have to try a lot. One day I was walking by and crossed New base line and thought "damn why didn't I think about this one? It's just so perfect"

                       Here you see a bit more how the line looks like. Climber is Dai Koyamada.

So I started trying, after having tried briefly last year the first move with no convictions, I started working the moves out. First session I was able to climb the moves of the first section which were really hard for me, It begins with a right hand in a shallow crack that I couldn't really fit into with a high right foot and you have to smear left foot on the wall to control the swing so you can hit the next hold static in the right position so you can bring left foot then the right foot on a higher spot on the left hand starting hold, stabilize and match next to you left hand. The match is maybe the most tricky part of the climb as you have to release the left inch so you can put the right one in the same place but at that moment the hold becomes a lot worse...

After the match, you grab an ok slopy hold left hand higher in the crack, then with the right foot still really far right you hit a gaston with the right hand, tight your abs to stay close to the wall then throw a left foot to the left, really sit on it so you can grab an ok crimp left hand, then use a right toe hook below your left foot so you can grab a tiny crimp with your right hand. Then you have to get left foot high which makes you a little bit scrunched and quickly hit a sidepull with the left hand the position then becomes more "comfortable". Once you have that sidepull you have to bring both feet to the left lower where the feet holds are better so you can then throw to an ok slopy open hand hold.

Once you’ve got that hold you have to get left foot on the left part of the hold where your right foot’s on so you can grab a crimp +-1 meter left with the left hand and avoid taking a swing that would burn you out...There because you’re a bit pumped so you don’t wanna take a swing... whens you’re in this position you bring right foot high on the crimp you had earlier after the gaston and throw right hand to the finish jug.

For me, now that I've sent I understand that on such a level everything must be perfect, the moves must be accurate, the conditions have to be good, there are so many details involved that if you miss one you just won't send. I understood that and I hope that I will be able to send that level faster in the future because I feel like I could have sent much more faster. 
I'm glad though I had some breakdowns because it made me able to deal with the failure and accept it, become aware that I might just not send it and would have to wait some time to try again in good conditions. Anyway the last days of my trip were kind of dark, I couldn't get it together,I thereby had made up my mind with the idea of not sending and I knew I had to accept it so did I. 
Being a bit pissed not to have climbed anything, I went with my friend local Andreas to try some nice stuff and I climbed the "Rythmo" which is a beautiful 7c. I then went to climb a bloc that have been recently cleaned near "Blown away". Its a really cool problem although it's location is not the best ( in some little throat ). I wonder whether it's been sent yet or not... so message me if you read this and know what bloc I'm talking about.
After that I was feeling damn good and hungry so I thought "let's go kill that body count" well I didn't really kill it as it took me some time to find the beta again but after more or less 1 hour I sent it. I was glad at least I wouldn't go back to Belgium empty pockets...
At that point my skin was kind of injured ( two holes on two different fingers, including the right inch which is capital for new base...) Well I thought fuck I feel damn good let's try new base... At that point I was more joking with myself but after having put some superglue on the fingers ( thanks Petra for reminding me that glue exists and is pretty useful ) I surprised myself falling on the crux ( that try I didn't use the fresh found beta I'd seen on the internet  ). One more try with the right beta and I'm off with the crimp far left left hand ( I took the swing I talk about earlier in the post, was too pumped to control it, fell ). At that point my left middle finger was bleeding, hold stained with my blood, I was done.

2 days left, good weather then rain but no way I could climb next day so I decided to rest thinking that even if it rains it still might be dry as things dry quick in those woods ( also new base is not really exposed to the rain, only the end gets wet, at least when it's not raining cat's and dogs... )
Well after the rest I felt kind of ok, the weather was not as bad as expected and around 8pm I was warmed up and ready to try with super glue again of coarse since I'd reopened my finger doing some shity pull ups for warming up... Anyway I started trying, feeling at my amazement really good, with perfect skin I felt a lot worse ( things doesn't make any sense some times ) After a couple of set up goes, I surprised myself hiking the line till the end, took the swing I shouldn't have taken but this time I stayed but slightly dabbed ( nothing actually ) but it made me loose my focus, then after I knew that could be it and I was by then counting my chickens before they're hatched...
Well I fell with the finish jug... Nothing to say then, I'm just laughing. I was so confident, too much confident. At that point just this lesson made my day, I'd learnt something. After this I thought  it was over I was pissing blood again, was tired, etc.
I wanted to leave because all my friends were hungry at that time but I thought that I had to try again just to be able to say to myself that I'd given all the shots I had on the climb and I knew I had one more go, the last chance of the trip...

                                   Here you can see that magic is sometimes really sunny...

I started trying with my mind totally cleared I even knew that I would fall so it was kind of a no expectations try, just wanted to see where I would fall. As expected nothing went right, I messed up the match, hit the gaston wrong, take ages to adjust...At that moment in my head it's all messed up I don't understand why I'm not on the ground yet...But I was fighting, giving everything I had. I took the crimps another year to adjust, get the ok hold right hand, I was pumped by that moment, I knew I'd fall after but I didn't, I got the crimp on the left, no swing !! After some foot set-up I had the finish jug right in front of me I threw, I got it, I knew it's done... Topped it out in total amazement. That was over after so many days, so many stress. I sent the only day there would have been no way to send 8b+... 
How did it come that it happened? Just because I'd cleaned my mind, I was free, climbing to climb and not to send, that's the think I'm the more proud of, that's for sure the best lesson climbing teaches you, and that's why I love climbing so much because if your head is not right nothing will happen and it's the same in life, if you really deserve something I think it will happen, because I can't see any other explanation to this send because in normal time I wouldn't have even bet 1 euro on me, but I proved myself that strength and physical shape, etc are 30%, mental 70%. That try mental was 1000% for sure has I just ignored pain, not ignored just did not feel any...Still can't believe it.

At the end I'm so glad it took me a long time to send because otherwise I would have missed so much, and the pleasure when topping out was so much greater... ( OK I yelled a bit... )

That's it now I can carry along with other easier stuff, maybe try other 8b+'s this summer, but first have fun in technical 7a's :) we'll see how it goes.

I really want to thank all the people there, all my friends without whom it would have been impossible to send and impossible to have that much fun in the camping. Magic stays my n°1 area just for the people I meet there every stay. I don't need to fly to rocklands even if I wish I could when I can have so much fun and meet so many great people near my home.

I think this new step signifies a lot for me and motivates me to keep on climbing but psychologically talking it's been much more of a relief for me as I found out how the brain works in those conditions, and I hope I can share that with people whatever grade they're projecting. There's always something to learn in failure, I learnt it and just learning it definitely made me able to send. I don't believe in God but I believe that if you're thinking or acting the right way, life will never be harsh with you, it's all scaled, I guess that's called Karma or something :p
So if rookies read this blog, don't make a fuss about grades and points on 8a.nu please that is totally not what climbing has to teach you ! You'll learn and progress 100x more if you accept failure, also it makes success taste so sweeter.

Now some adds :)

My friend haroun's dvd is out so get it if you feel like watching good moments :)

See you all in july in magic wood will be there 3 weeks or something.


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