Now I'm excited and psyched!! A pretty normal sport climbing day out resulted in me coming home super psyched and happy! here's what happened...
Pablo had asked if I wanted to join him and Ben at Ansteys. Obviously, I agreed :) Pablo wanted to do Empire of the sun (7b/+) and I agreed to belay him, with the hope that he'll reach the chains and I'll be able to then have a go top roping it and work the moves.
But before all this, we decided to warm up on a 6b+. Now, I don't know Ansteys cove that well, so bear with me. We headed past the wall with The Cider Soak (8a) on it, and down a small hill to the base of an 'easy' slab. The 6b+ route was accessed by climbing the slab to the second tier above the Cider Soak wall. We began soloing up it, but then it got steeper, and a little more nerving. Guide mode ;) kicked in, and we clipped into some bolts. I got the rope out and belayed Pablo until he found a belay higher up and me and Ben seconded up to him. From here, I lead up over a short wall onto the upper tier. Now, the only way I can describe this area and the climbing is this: Unstable soil pack. Weak bonds through the layers causing slab avalanches of dirt and stone. Temporary holds on the wall cemented on with wet sand. Protection, none! I came back to the belay and we abseiled off. So much for a warm up!
So to the Empire wall. Psyched, Pablo gears up and is almost climbing even before I get him on belay! He clips the first bolt after a line of pockets and good holds. However, reaching out to the large break, he finds it to be soaking wet. Not a great start, and unfortunately, there is no finish. He lowered off, and belayed Ben on another climb.
In the mean time, I headed round to where the Cider Soak was and chatted to 2 guys on it. I eyed a route at the far left of the crag and found it in the guide book: La Crème (7c+). Ahh what the hell, I'll give it a go. Let's see what these high grades feel like. Bearing in mind my previous best was a redpoint of a 7a. Pablo and Ben came to join me, and Pablo offered to belay.
First bolt, clipped. Lay back up the corner flakes, second bolt, clipped. High step, inside flag, side pull, third bolt, clipped. All was going well, I felt strong. I wasn't even expecting to get this high! Low crimp side pull for the left hand, high crimp side pull for the right. Body tension to keep hips close to the wall, high step, heel hook, sag down and EXPLODE up with momentum to latch the crimp above with left hand...
The hold is good, but my accuracy was not. The moves are reversed and the rope comes tight. Time to go again, and again. My fingers are now screaming at me, my forearms begin to join in. I lower to the ground and rest. These crimps hurt, but this route will go! Pablo gives it a go, getting to my high point, and making the move, clipping the next bolt. He now proceeds to work the route, clipping bolts through any means.
I get back on. This time, the rope runs 2 bolts higher than where I left it. I gain my high point, and make the move. Only now, am I confronted with the crux! From the crimp, you can change feet and establish a good rest position, albeit, for a brief moment to shake out the right hand before reaching for another crimp side pull above the bolt. From here, you gain the next bolt through the use of very poor slopers. Imagine the slopers on the Beastmaker 2000 fingerboard, similar to them! But the 'Crème de la Creme' (See what I did there) of this route, are the moves to the last bolt. After the crux, one gains height through matching hands on 2 crimps one after the other, whilst the body is progressively extended into a horizontal position. Once positioned on the last crimp, adjust feet, make a super long reach up to 3 finger crimp and then gain the large cemented block jug thing. From there, gain the top of the block, clip the last bolt, and continue up easy ground to the chains. simple.
However, the chains are still waiting for me. I managed to gain the block, for a brief moment of time whilst my fingers uncurled and the long drop past the last clipped bolt loomed ever nearer. Enough was enough. The wind had picked up, the salt spray from the ocean was now drizzle in the air. The sun was fading and it was time to pack up. The tide had now swallowed our return path and so, we had to seek an alternative.
I never imagined that I'd ever get up a 7c+ (Not that I did, but next time!) and so the dream of one day redpointing an 8a is now a possibility for me. However, I won't get there at this rate. First, I need to up the training, get back on La crème and link the moves, and maybe then can I contemplate trying an 8a:
The Cider Soak!!