Not that I am a morning person, but all the coughing woke me up early. It was a Saturday morning and no one else in the house was awake. As I had nothing better to do, I went up to Planet Granite (PG) to do some Slo Flo. An hour or so later, I was feeling kind of chill and relaxed. I guess Slo Flo worked but I wanted to be a little more enthusiastic and energetic at the start of the weekend. So I went looking for a belay partner, and like in the recent times I couldn’t find one. This has been happening quite frequently lately, so I made some contingency plans for when I can’t top rope. I go to the beginners bouldering wall and do all the trails there. I came near the wall and was putting on my shoes when I heard an announcement asking for a belay partner. Yay, I could climb!
I have 4 favorite trails in PG. 3 of them are 5.10b’s, coincidentally all of them being white trails and one is a 5.10c. While I did them multiple times, I still find doing them hard, so I keep going back again and again. The thing about these trails is you can’t get away with strength, but you also need to find your balance and have good technique. And as I found out this is key for trails 5.10c’s and above. While I did my first 5.10b over a month and a half ago, since then I did only 3 different 5.10c’s. I failed getting off the ground on most 5.10c’s so I kept going back to the my favorite trails, trying to improve my technique.
Coming back to the present day, we warmed up on one of those 5.10b’s and I saw that it got noticeably easier. On the belay partners suggestion I tried a 5.10c, and I could do it fairly quickly, and this was the same trail which I previously did but struggled a lot on. I was now feeling climbing good. With this new found confidence, and some encouraging words from the new partner, I tried a 5.10d for the first time. It was a purple trail, and quite honestly I thought I would completely embarrass myself and wouldn’t even be able to get off the ground. While it was tricky, surprisingly I managed to finish the trail and I took only 2 very short breaks. Finally, first 5.10d. Yay! Later I tried one other 5.10d, a black trail this time, and as the partner put it, it was more about body positioning. Something at which I was terrible at, but after a lot of breaks I did manage to finish the climb.
Shortly after my partner had to leave, so I went back to the bouldering wall. I skipped the V0s and V1s as I was already warmed up, and did 6 of the V2s. The 7th one was the trickiest one. It was a pinch hold. While I was getting to the top, I was loosing my balance and falling down before I could touch the finishing tape. In one of the attempts I think I barely touched the tape, but was not able to hold on. This was something I did earlier, but I thought I was getting tired. So I tried to do a V1 and when I miserably failed at that, I realized I need to go back home.
2 days later, last night I went to PG to do some Vinyasa. Later I did a black 5.10b, the hardest 5.10b I did till now. And after that I managed to do a green 5.10d, my toughest climb till date. My hands were so burned at the end of it, I couldn’t remove the knot on the rope anymore. Later I also did the purple 5.10d I did on Saturday. As they say in the climbing world, you haven’t really leveled up unless you do the same level on 2 different days. So, progress!
And as I was about to leave, I tried the pinch hold V2, and I guess there was still some energy left in my arms, it wasn’t hard anymore.