Julian, Sandra, Jeff, and I ventured out to Hidden Peak on Friday. Julian and Sandra had recently started bouldering there and Jeff wanted to check the place out, after hearing positive reviews from them and Chuck. After a two year hiatus, I was a little curious to returning again, if only to see if the same old fears of falling off the wall were still plaguing me. I was very pleasantly surprised to find how much I’ve improved (still quite amazed actually) – I easily tackled all the V0 routes without raising a sweat, when previously I would have bailed on the holds higher up or struggled valiantly from hold to hold. Happily, even the V1+ route I attempted did not seem out of reach, although I was still a little freaked out by the leap to the top hold, so far from the ground. The roof bouldering problems turned out pretty fun too, and the four of us had quite a good time taking turns to solve a couple routes there. That felt pretty good.
Afterwards, Julian and Sandra invited us over to their place to hang out, and treated us to a scrumptious Mexican dinner, margaritas, and wine, while we
leered at watched Chris Sharma and David McLeod climb seemingly impossible routes. Chuck came along too, but he managed to slip out at the end of the evening before Julian bolted the door on Jeff and I, insisting that we spend the night on their couch. Thanks guys, for your awesome hospitality; as usual, I had a blast. 🙂
On Sunday, the usual group of us, give or take, headed out to VE again for yet more climbing. There were plenty of new routes up, though happily some of the problems I’d been working on were still up, so we were plenty spoilt for choice. After a strong 5.8 lead, I plucked up enough courage to tackle the 5.9 lead I had had my eye on for a while – had to do a couple of takes to rest, but I was still super stoked about it and should be able to do it clean the next time. The highlight of the day for me though, was when Chuck mistakenly pulled down the rope on the 5.10d route that I wanted to top rope. I’ve never been able to climb the route clean before, so when Eugene offered to help lead the rope back up, I was tempted to take him on his offer. At the spur of the moment though, and after much encouraging from Chuck, I somewhat brashly decided to give it a go. Heh – I practically went from bolt to bolt, stopping at every point to try still my pounding heart and wipe the cold sweat from my brow. It felt pretty good most of the way up though, until the move between the last clip and the anchor, when my courage failed me to leap up for the final hold. It looked too big a distance to fall (although Chuck would certainly have had no qualms about it; some of his falls have me flying 5 feet into the air) and I wasn’t sure how positive of a hold it was. So there I was, stuck between no man’s land, unable to completely down climb to the last bolt. Below, Chuck and Sandra were yelling up encouragement, and urging me to just let go and fall. Man. I finally did, but not before taking in a huge gulp of air and then screaming my lungs out for what turned out to be actually quite a pathetic small fall – he didn’t fly up into the air and I didn’t get the urge to go pee. Haha. On hindsight, I’m happy that Chuck pulled the rope when he did, so I was pushed into leading it and now I can say I’ve attempted to lead a 5.10.