How To Start Climbing 5.12…

There are a lot of people aspiring to climb 5.12, well for me 5.12 is the ceiling ! Last year i could lead 5.8, atmost 5.9 trad and 5.9 (consistently) and atmost 5.10 sports. Well thats all numbers and very geeky rock rat talk! What i really aim to achieve is getting more comfortable on the rock. When i first started rock climbing two years ago I feared heights :), well the reason i climbed was just to get over my fear! Now i have come along long ways :).

Last season I started leading trad, I learned a lot of composure and mind tricks! Almost everyone can climb 5.8/5.9 but when it comes to leading it all in the mind! While doing a leading harder stuff i learnt from a friend and colleague (Damon) a very cool trick of extending your arms and using your legs. Damon is an awesome climber and when he climbs it almost looks out of a video, also note that most rock climbing books and websites stress on the fact of using your legs and not relying on hands. It was sort of ‘AHA’ moment when Damon showed me how to hang on hands and move your legs up and then stand on a good hold, and keep repeating the same tactic. I wish i had a picture or a video to illustrate. This has helped me a lot, many time i’m just able to cruise up on the juggy 5.10’s without any problem using this technique. Well, no only if I had a cool technigue to negiotiate the tiny handholds i would be a 5.10 champ :).

Anyways, to the point this season i’m planning to use this book to first get the 5.10’s and then move on the oh well.. lets see :). But from what my friends (Wayne) have told me about the book, it seems to lay out a great process of trying to make training pyramid of grades you can climb to grade you want to achieve, end of the day its all about miles and constant tiny improvements with ‘AHA’ moments inter-spread.. sounds familiar ??

Star Chek and Climbing in Squamish~!

IMG_0077Wow-~! last couple of days flew pass!! I had an amazing time climbing with Wayne, Jeff and Nick in Squamish, BC.

We arrived in Squamish late Monday night and were fortunate to find a spot in the climbers camping ground. Apparently even on a weekday a tonne of folks were waiting for the weather to clear out so that they can climb~!

On Tuesday as planned we went to Star Check to do the 4 pitch 5.9 sport climb, which according to Wayne will bring smile to your face!! Unfortunately due to the rain in the past week or so the route was totally moss and wet! We gave up on that and actually headed to Smoke Bluffs to try some single pitch cragging. During the whole day i lead two climbing one 5.6 and other 5.8 and followed Wayne on 5.7 (which i couldnt lead as i kept slipping at the start) and other two start 5.7. I was almost spent and pumped out by the time we wrapped off. While in the other area Nick and Jeff were trying to get out a stuck cam, but after trying several times with no luck we gave off and around 6pm or so we headed for the recreation centre for a quick shower, a hot tub dip and then had a great meal in the town! Over the meal we dicussed and i concluded that i wont be up for Diedre, i didnt want to crap out on pitch 4 and have Wayne haul me back. So the plan for Wednesday was Jeff and Nick would do Diedre and my-self and Wayne would try some other climbs near the climbers camp.

Wednesday morning Jeff and Nick went ahead for Diedre with a backup plan to do other difficult ones in case its crowded, and myself and Wayne went to the 5.8 near campground. Our climb was a little damp towards the start after trying for a bit Wayne and myself decided to go try something else. Well!! actually we ended up going to Star Check! We started climbing star check around 11:15am. Wayne lead the first pitch, i was a little scared with the exposure and the raging river beneth. After getting up to first belay station I was in double mind weather or not to lead the next pitch Wayne convinced me that if I can lead this one (5 bolts, 5.7) then i can lead the 5.9. Well i went for it a little sketched at the beginning but as i got on the arete and clipped in the second bolt i was little more confident and actually i enjoyed the rest two bolts. I did out a piece in between the first and second bolt. I belayed wayne for the second pitch. Wayne lead the third short pitch which could have been combined with the second pitch. After coming up the third pitch I looked at the 5.9 and said no way i can lead it, i was under impression that the route had only three pitches and we were done ;). After a little chat with other pair of climbers who were rapping down Wayne headed for this pitch. He looked really at ease on the 5’9 move! I had to struggle a little while following on this move but didnt actually feel that bad! Voila after completing the pitch i really felt great and a combination of fear and smile crossed me :). It was really a great experience.

After finishing Star Check myself and Wayne went across the road to do some climbing near the water, we tried some 5.6-10a friction stuff on a small wall there. Where as Nick and Jeff were doing a 5.10a variation of the St Vitus’ Dance extra since Diedre was crowded. We could see them rapping from the parking lot. While they rapped down we headed to the amazing rec centre for some hot tub!

We started our trip back to seattle around 6:30pm and all along the way i kept thinking of the raging river and the awesome views Star Check definately feels like a great experience in hindsight and something which i will remember for a long time!! Thanks Wayne, Jeff and Nick for dragging me along!!

Rock Climbing Mt. Erie!

Patrick trying rope three
Originally uploaded by vbha.

Yesterday i did my first rock climbing ever. Through Mountaineers Rock 2 field trip we did some runs on Mt. Erie. It was awesome to do three climbs using techniques like edgeing, manteling, crack climbing etal and the weather was a lot better than I expected. Just couldn’t get enough of this thrill. Watch out for some rapelling pics and more of climbing stuff as i learn the ropes of this ride :).