The biggest change came in the form of sponsorships from Evolv, Petzl, and Rab. Being picked up by these companies is pretty cool. However, I feel more pressure to perform and climb hard routes. So I have been devoting an absurd amount of time to climbing. 5 days a week in the gym during the winter and now 4-5 days a week out at the crags after work and the weekends. Endlessly working routes till I have them so dialed that they feel easy. Ultimately, the pressure comes from within and not from the sponsors; I feel that I NEED to keep crushing 5.14’s!
But does it really matter? There are thousands of people who are way better. Kids are easily climbing the same level that I am struggling to send. But climbing is individual and really only comes down to me and the rock. I guess it comes down to a burning desire from within to be the best that I can be and to climb as hard as I can. How far can I take it? What am I capable of? These are the aspects of climbing that keep me coming back day after day.
So what have I accomplished? It kind of feels underwhelming for some reason. It all started with sending Pulse 5.14a last spring, which I might add took me sooooooo many tries! I one hung it from the third bolt something like seven times before sending it. I think I actually tried it over 50 times! But that was last year, ya ya I know but it was a huge turning point. My first 5.14! A dream come true! This provided the motivation and drive to get through the long wet Squamish winter of training indoors.
With Permanent Waves under my belt I went to war on the Battle of Evermore 5.14a/b in Furry Creek. This route is absolutely stunning and so much fun. War is an understatement, I fully ravaged myself on that climb. It was so physical, I had cuts and bruises all over me, some of which are still visible. The worst was that I fully tweaked my left knee from the viscous heal hooks and needed some rehab. The Battle of Evermore
Now what? A tweaked knee and in need of a new project. Back to the Big Show! I love the climbing on the very steep, consistent angle that the big show offers. The wall really suits my dynamic style of climbing. I started by just climbing on the wall again, trying to gain the much needed steep endurance which is essential if you are going to climb up there. After a few days I was starting to feel good. I was able to warm up on Freewill 5.13c and send it consistently and even able to warm up on Division Bell 5.13d.
Captain America was established by Mike Orr in 1998, can you guess where he was from?. He linked up Pulse through the crux of Division Bell and finished Freewill. So all I had to do was get Pulse to feel easy again and learn how to do the Division Bell crux backwards. Well that does not sound too bad, I thought. I gave it a few tries and kind of struggled getting into the Freewill crack. Lets put the Captain on hold for a few minutes.
We swapped leading through the dirty and wet dyke up to the first big roof. It was Tim's lead through the first roof which goes at 12c. He crushed it with ease. I seconded the pitch and then it was my turn to try and onsight the crux 13b pitch. As I climbed up to the base of the next overhang I tried to study the line and see where the holds would lead me. It turned out that it was very criptic and not as straight forward as we were hoping. I climb up felt the holds, tried to make the moves, down climbed back to better holds, and repeated. I spent at least 20 mins trying to figure out the first moves on the overhang. Finally I had to just try before I got to tired, so I went for it hoping I had figured out the right sequence. I made the first 3 or 4 moves on to the overhang and then fell. Darn our onsight was blown. Oh well. We then swapped leads and tried to send the pitch. We both came within a few metres of sending but were getting pretty tired. It was getting late and we still have a lot of ground to cover so we pressed on to the top.
It was a fun adventure but the poor rock quality and dirtiness of it will keep me away from heading back anytime soon, maybe. But should mention that the rock quality and climbing on the crux pitch is amazing! Hence the maybe!
Now what? Back to the Big Show? I had to decide, keep trying Patience and Captain America or something else? I decided to do both, not strictly focusing on the Big Show but keeping my fitness up on the wall. The wall is so steep and unlike anything else in Squamish, so the only way to train for it is on it. I had some fun days climbing in different areas and trying some routes that I had done in the past. One route that I got to re-climb was a 5.12a called Yellow Beard in Rogues Gallery. When I was 15 this was my ultimate goal and it took me a few years to be strong enough to get through it. It was great to re-climb it.
Last season I bolted a line at a new cliff at Murrin Park, called the Quercus Cliff. The route links through two other existing routes and takes a direct line to the top of the wall. One of the routes that it intersects has an anchor in the middle of the wall. I sent the route to that anchor on the last day of climbing outside last fall, calling it Shaving with a Knife, 5.13a. Now it is time for the upper part! I have worked it 3 days now and I figured out a crazy sequence of moves that makes it possible. I think the route might be 13b or even 13c. I would be happy to send the route before the rains set in.
This season I put a lot of pressure on myself to crush hard routes. I actually feel pretty spent and I am ready for the winter season. For the first time in years I am actually excited about the snow! Maybe I will get back into skiing? Only time will tell! One thing is for sure, it is time to relax, spend some quality time with my very awesome and supportive wife, and get ready for next season!
All in all I guess it has been a pretty darn good season!