Gay Science, 5.13d on the send
I woke up yesterday morning in the Rusty Cannon Motel in Rifle, CO, singing Eye of the Tiger. No joke- remember Stallone in Rocky? It was super random. I hadn’t heard this iconic song anywhere recently and it’s not as if I even like it or any of the 1980’s American rock ballads. I am a techno junkie, more specifically a fan of progressive house music. Okay, who am I kidding- I love Matt Darey and usually limit my listening to his podcasts alone. Check it out at http://www.mattdarey.com- a new hour long podcast comes out each week and are free and totally inspiring to climb to.
(You can thank me later Matt).
“It’s the…eye of the TIGERRRRR, it’s the thrill of the FIGHT!!!” I belted out while brushing my teeth.
Chris was laughing and said, “I think it’s a sign. You’re going to send today.”
I had been trying to redpoint Gay Science, a knee-bar intensive 13d in Rifle for the past few weekends, and for the first time after climbing on it yesterday, I felt close. I had managed to one-hang it and reach a high point on my last go of the day. Before yesterday, I felt minimal improvement; I wondered if it could come together before winter set in.
The whole drive into the canyon I kept singing and dancing to myself, bopping away to the tune that plagued my head. Chris was now hooked too, and to his dismay joined me in the chorus and guitar riff miming .
“The eye of the tiger, the eye of the TIGERRR……..”
Rifle is empty on weekdays this time of year- probably a good thing since we were singing this song. I love the fall colors, the way the walls feel so much bigger now that the leaves are dropping off the trees, and the brisk chill is in the air. The rock is so much grippier now than it felt back in June, when most people consider Rifle to be in season. No, you can’t bask in the sun in a tank top or hang out at the campground until ten pm drinking beer unless you want to wear a million layers in the 18 hours of darkness, but for climbing slick limestone these temps can’t be beat.
Our friend and photographer, Fred Marmsater, joined us yesterday to shoot Chris and I on our projects. I finally got the dreaded Tiger song out of my head and headed up for my first burn of the day on Gay Science.
Getting through the first crux of Gay Science
I made it through the first crux and into the rest before the second crux- a right kneebar that is good but core intensive. I was trying to relax and breathe to recover before attempting the second boulder problem, when I felt something fall from my neck. I watched a shiny object catapult to a bush just beside my belayer.
Oh shit- that was my wedding ring!
Chris shouted up, “Don’t worry, we’ll find it- just focus on climbing!”
I knew I girth hitched the ring to my necklace, my necklace was still on- how did that happen? I have been so paranoid about losing my ring and my nightmare was now real. Later in the evening I tested the girth hitch and sure enough, with a little wiggling and slack in the necklace the girth hitch can fail- won’t do that again!
So anyways, I fell a few moves into the crux, the rest of the climb went poorly. I wasn’t focused. “Shoot, well there’s always next weekend,” I thought.
The good news was I found my ring! Half buried in the fall leaves I saw it’s shiny band peeking through.
That’s a relief.
Second burn of the day I put my headphones on, Matt Darey in full effect, and I was able to focus on the climb. I was present for each movement and focused on my body and the movement of the climb alone. I fought through the pain and ignored my burning calves in the kneebar “rests.”
I had made it successfully through all three cruxes, and I just had ten more feet of climbing to go before clipping the chains. I was super nervous that I’d mess it up, but just tried to relax and focus again on movement, not anything else.
Miraculously I did it! I just climbed my second hardest climb ever. Yay!
Watch out Matt Darey, I might just become a Survivor fan if this keeps up.
Thanks to Chris for the supportive belays and Fred for the fun photos!