Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Seven of Nine V14
I still can’t believe the Sky Pilot project went down last night! I was buzzing so much I was unable to go to bed until 5 am, and lay wide-eyed until Freida burst into life at 7. The crucial difference after all those sessions? Several small but crucial ones.
First, I had genuinely detached myself from expectation of success. When it’s at your limit, time and time again this seems to be crucial for realising true focus of energy at the right moment, free of interference from the conscious. I read with interest Chris Sharma’s comments about also having to re-learn this lesson over again during his recent project victory at Margalef. I find that in order to achieve this state, it’s impossible to focus on ‘not being attached to success’. I’m not sure you can think in negatives like this easily, if at all. Rather, I found that focusing completely and exclusively on enjoying the effort, movement and routine of each and every attempt, that I could relax and begin to really climb.
Second, I went back to the sequence. No matter how well you think you know the holds and the moves, when it’s limit and your a hair’s breadth from success, there is nearly always something new to find after going back to basics with the sequence. In this case a simple change in order of foot movements and a tweak of timing tipped it my way.
Lastly, I’d clocked up the necessary hours to be all over it. Daily training for several hours, careful diet, careful rest, careful thinking over time and the destination finally appeared.
Nothing new here, but still important.
Cubby climbed the original route here ‘Sky Pilot’ (E5 6b or these days a very highball V5) in 1981. He also tried the project a decade or so later, but didn’t do the moves. He was the catalyst for me looking at it, telling me it would be a brilliant short solo and hard compared to other short routes in the UK - harder than Hubble, which he had done the moves on.
It’s a funny climb, somewhere between a highball and solo. I certainly wasn’t at all keen on falling off above the crux, and had to go all out to avoid doing just that. Grade wise I don’t have much to compare it to since I haven’t bouldered much for a couple of years, except that it’s definitely harder than any of the V13s I’ve done and seems harder than some V14s I've played on a good while ago now. Or is it? I’m not sure if it’s my style or not.
Anyway, what a great feeling to be able to pull hard on holds and do some training again for the first time in a couple of years. A big milestone for me..
A little video below from my compact propped on a stone of the first ascent and another new line just right of Sky Pilot: