Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Autumn Splendor, Revisited

Years ago I was hiking up a trail in the Columbia River George with my mother that I had hiked on many times before. This time was different though. Climbing for about 12 years at the time had given me eye's to see rock that I had not seen before. It was not like it was not there but just that I had not noticed it right in front of my eye's. To be honest it was my mother that pointed at a large boulder sitting on the trail and said "You can climb that one." with the tone of voice that meant the actual climbing was merely a formality. As I gazed up at the 18 foot high block, my mind said "Ya Right Mom!!!"
The blank face of  Autumn Splendor
She insisted that I could climb the line and so the seed was planted. Over the coarse of the next two years I climbed hundreds of lines all over the area. Some hard some easy but most incredible. The line in question seamed too elude me though. My mother would ask "Did you send it yet?" and the answer would always be not yet.
Indian Paint Brush
All this changed one day when I decided to get serious about the line and see if there really was a line of holds to the top of the boulder. With a brush I started cleaning the face and as I did so I noticed the smallest of holds. Not to many and not to few but just maybe enough. There was another problem as well and that was the fact that the size of these holds was similar to gluing two quarters to the wall and rounding the edges.
Could I use the holds I had found?
Mt Adams from near the top of the trail.
On the first days effort, I managed to get of the ground after about 20 tries. A lot of work for sure for one move but that was all my mind needed to take it all the way to the top. On the next trip out I found myself at the base again but this time I pieced together the moves to three quarters of the way up. Every move as hard as the last with the chance of a fall at any moment. At this point in the process is when I found out that the crux was a supper committing dyno on the worst feet imaginable two moves from the end. I found myself falling off at this point over and over knowing that I just was not committing one hundred percent to the move. Full commitment would be the only way to the top and I had to find the will to do it some ware. About a week later my mom decided to come out and watch me on the climb as well as hike to the end of the trail for the fall view.
Beautiful sub alpine.
On this day with my mom watching the conditions were cool and dry. I can remember powering through each move and thinking just plant the foot and go this time. When I arrived at the crux I through caution to the wind and drove my shoe into the rock like never before. A moment later I was pulling over the top wondering what just happened and think that I might have just climbed the hardest thing of my life. A couple weeks ago I took these photo's and revisited the boulder to see if it was as hard as I remembered. The truth is I could not do the crux this time and I think it might be harder than I remember. This is defiantly one of those moments I love in my climbing and going back was incredible. Enjoy the photo's of Autumn Splendor V8 (I think)
Off the ground
Match feet
High step
Super long hard pull
Keep Going
And Going
Almost there!
Got it
Bring up the left foot
Pull into the crux
Right foot to toe smear high and go big.
Thanks mom for be-leaving. It has been 8 years since the send and I hope to be strong enough one day to send it again. As always keep sending.

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