Sunday, 1 September 2013

Chasing Numbers

I think it's best to start with a movie


Zero Gravity 30 (29)

Possible 2nd ascent after Scott Mooney's 1999 ascent .

Stoked to bag this one , it's a great climb .

Basically it's a V8 / 7B+ to a flat edge with ok feet , then a 26/7b+ to the top , I had thoughts of eliminating footholds for the second clip but in the end it just didn't make sense as they are used for your hands ... Anyway I feel like this is the most logical / non eliminate way to do the climb . In theory you could swing around and rest on the ledge but this would make it ... Poo ... Scott gave it 29 but I think for me anyway with the intensity of the V8 it should get 30 . I guess time will tell ...

I set myself a target 11 months ago to send a 30 whilst 30 and today is pretty much payday ( with one month to spare ) It's been a very up and down year , due to life - work - injuries ... The highlight was getting down to Castle Hill for some civilised dirt bagging . For 7 weeks I was lucky enough to wander the hills and let myself be overwhelmed with what the area had to offer . But with all things there is a balance .

My first step onto the Flock hill area I fell off the fence like a tit and sprained my ankle . Luckily one of my friends I met down there was a physio and was able to administer two Panadol and some professional strapping - this made up for the laughter that erupted directly after my fall / failed jump ... Now with my foot making my size 11 feel like a size 8 I managed to get to the top of the hill - where all I managed was to sit in the sun with my foot elevated ... Anyway this was my first injury of that trip and I'm still having to favour the bloody thing . I then sprained my other ankle falling from the mantle of The Sorcerers Apprentice ...

Not letting these slow me down too much I keeping trying to perform at my limit . Then at week six the dreaded pully injury occurred . This was a huge downer at the time and for following months . But it taught me a few very important lessons - I was just a crimper - now I have learned that climbing open handed is key ! Also while climbing through my injury I learnt how to train endurance , which as a boulderer was a very foreign concept but I was forced to , by not being able to do hard moves and starting from scratch with open hands .
This has been the best discovery of my climbing so far and shot me through the roof of my plateau ! Endurance ! Doing a hard move and actually being able to do more moves after ... Who would have thought ? I had just accepted that i was useless and that hard moves were just always going to pump me out ...

So nearing my 1 year time limit with hurt fingers and ankles I have succeeded when I thought I was having no chance =) and it has all occurred from learning the importance of open hands and endurance circuit training , and all because of injury ...

Now I'm off with my new found skills to try and wreak some havoc down at Froggatt .

Belay , Phillip Higgins

Music , AcDc

So that was me climbing yesterday .

And it's where i have been angling a lot of my energy towards this past year , most would say obsessively but for me its just felt normal . It's also the accumulation of nearly three years efforts ! I was going to write hard work , which maybe it has been but I've enjoyed it so much that calling it " hard work " is far to misleading .

Anyway , where to begin ...

About three years ago three young excitable men went to Ohakune , a small town at the base of Ruapehu , a rather large active volcano ... As one of us was completing his 28th journey around the Sun , we found we had cause to celebrate ! Making a long story slightly shorter , Guinness flowed , men showered with meat pies and chips , bouncers were fooled , canned chicken flew and was regretted , $1000's were won $1000's were lost ... Yadee yarder ya ... We survived but did we keep our dignity ? Perhaps .

Ok , so the main reason we chose this town ( at the base of a very large active volcano ) is because this rather enormous pile of rocks is so high that even in the sub tropical North Island they attract and store vast amounts of steep and gullyed snow . Yayballs . We were there to snow board .

If my memory serves me right we only managed to get some boarding in on that first day ( There's some more storeys that could be mentioned here about getting lost ... Getting stuck on ice shelves ... losing friends ( for an hour or two ) but i don't have time to get into it , especially when i was likely the one , ahem , to blame for such things ) It was still a good if just a tad stressful day .Then our volcano being what it is and doing whatever the fu#k it wants because it's a volcano shut down .The weather up there can be sporadic and unforgiving at times and more often that not it does close down . This is what happened to us , and ultimately what put me on the path to climbing . Yes this is all leading somewhere ... With not much else for us to discover within stumbling distance of town ( because we tried ) we walked in , then walked back out , tried to find something else to do , but then went back in again to the indoor climbing centre .

Through a haze of partial memories , regrets , wonder , and likely wearing more than a little bit of creamy canned chicken , i realised i may have some natural climbing talent ( even while still wearing slippers ) After this delightfully fun taste test and leaving with a single digit raised high above my head , one thing then lead to another - Brothers of Partners of Friends were called and our first climbing lesson came to be with Arnie at the Birkenhead Leisure Centre .

Some time then passed ... Shoes were bought , callouses were formed , rope skills were learnt , adrenalin flowed , vertigo was discovered and after all said and done ... We were left with what was a small homogeneously square pack essentially containing three Bodleys and a Watson ready to tackle some stone .

Our first trip ( i think ) was to the quarry , and by the end of the day i had found this piece of stone - It was around the beginning of 2011 .


I honestly thought this thing ( Red Arete ) must have been one of these V13's i had seen Chris Sharma climbing in the Dosage films , it truly looked impossible and nobody around me at the time could tell me how hard it was graded ... I was enthralled ! Arnie then told me it had been climbed !! My God ! My mind instantly pictured what must have been God like humans ascending this 3.5 meter piece of shear stone ! I was spell cast . ( I now regularly climb with the possible first ascensionest ? of this climb , Glenn Eric Johannessen ( but it may also have been Scott Mooney who did the first ascent )

It likely took me around 8 months to climb it from a standing start . I Sent it/climbed it on 27-08-2011- Red Arete V6 . That's a long time to stare at a very small , very red rock face , but this time spent here solidified my love and obsession for the short side of the Mt Eden Quarry . Then on the 26-11-2011-  only 3 months later i did the sit start version graded at V8 . This V6 stand and V8 sit start are still now my reference points for these grades ...

Since that time , at this very small section of wall , there has been many new boulder problems put up ! Including its first V9 which I'm proud to say was my creation , YAKUZA - Click here to check it out - ! climbed 26-05-2012- with my good friend Ben encouraging me on . I am yet to capture the full line on video but here is the stand start named Red Samurai ( Yakuza being the sit start to this - V8 into a V7 = V9 )

To be continued ...

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