Friday, August 31, 2012

Birthday Challenge

No doubt many of you have heard about my birthday challenge last week, and are wondering how it went.  Well, it was both a great success and a horrible failure, all at the same time.

The challenge was a to do 21 boulder problems, 21 routes, and have 21 drinks, all in one glorious day.  I am happy to say that I accomplished none of these goals.  I started out strong by cracking the first beer around 6:30am, and promptly falling off of the v1 warmup that was to be the first problem of the day.  We moved on to Big Bud, which I finished off in similar second go fashion.  It was also drizzling rain at this point, which was great for the next problem, Show Me The Kind.  Fresh off doing SMTK for the first time a few months ago, I figured I'd at least feel close, and would be extremely satisfied to do it for the challenge.  Unfortunately I wasn't anywhere near sending, and we quickly moved on to the next problem.

A quick stop at the Greatest Bluff to do Gay Gigolo 3rd try, and we were off to Monolith.  I was pleased to do both Slope Of Dadaism and Pillar Of Contemporary Movement, two great and tall problems.  It was also nice to step over someone's big pile of shit literally 10 feet off the trail.  Anyways next up was Venus Rising, which I had sent the same day as SMTK.  I did come close, but I decided to move on before it entirely destroyed my skin.  As a consolation I did repeat Bark Biter for the first time since I did it with Brian, and then it was on to Sex & Chocolate.  I managed to repeat this, but literally held on by two fingertips as I stuck the finish hold and nearly slipped off of it.  Fun Fact: this was the only hard problem I repeated for the challenge, and the only hard problem I have ever repeated at the lake.

This is where the fun really started.  We left a car at the CCC lot in order to minimize driving, and intended to walk from Monolith to Fat Pants and The Flatiron.  Unfortunately we took a wrong turn and just ended up taking a longer route back to the north shore parking lot.  That definitely helped our time.  It was also ironic when we ran into a ranger who was tasked with making the trails and signage less confusing.  It was also fun passing hikers at 8 in the morning with a beer in hand.

Up at the top of the CCC we brought some gear up to stash for later in the day, and I got on Fat Pants which I had managed to do with Kevin the same day I sent SMTK and Venus Rising.  I think the best part about not being able to repeat hard problems is how quickly I can usually do them the first time, and then how amazingly impossible they feel after that.  Fat Pants, Jenga, Anchorpoint, Beautiful Soup; I sure am glad I climbed those when they were V5, because they're really hard now.  After flailing on Fat Pants we walked to the Flatiron, which I haven't been on in years, and I'm not sure why, it really is quite good I can't believe it was first done in the 50's though.

Then we went over to the west bluff to try Beautiful Soup, which I never really thought I'd do, but I can usually at least touch the ledge, so I figured I may as well try it.  Anchorpoint went about how it usually does, with me peeling off the crimps, especially in the summer, but Intercourse Arete is one problem that I have on lock, and is one of my favorites, especially as a warmup.  Pete's Pebble was next and it's pretty cool, but that top out is hard in the sun.  Then we headed back up into the talus for Dumpster Diving, which thankfully didn't feel really hard as it sometimes can for me.  This section of the west bluff is really a pretty good and condensed little area if you know where you're going.  Half Dome, Dumpster, Moj, Jenga, Super Slab, Pete's Pebble, Dog Walk, and a few more decent boulders are relatively close, and it would make a good little circuit area.  Anyway, the rest of the boulders aren't that exciting, I fell off Jenga, did super slab drinking a beer, and was too tired to finish Magnum P.I., at which point I gave up on even trying Tunder Tighs and Smooth Operator.

At this point it was probably 5 o'clock, when I was hoping to be done around noon, so we were obviously making pretty good time.  We headed over to Birthday for the traditional naked lap up Birthday Crack, and then up to the East Rampart to meet the Narc, and to start the routes around 6.  Instead of doing 21 routes, which I would probably still be trying to finish, I opted for 5 laps on Sometimes Direct, and then 15 laps on Birch Tree, and walked down in the dark.

Thankfully Claire and Dr. Bling had stayed down at the South Shore, and had brats and burgers ready down at the beach where we all eagerly chowed down.  At this point I think I had about 14 or so drinks throughout the day, but was so exhausted I only had a couple shots of the moonshine Sarah brought, bringing my total up to 16 for the day.  Despite the many failures and compromises throughout the challenge, it was one of the most fun days I've had out at the lake, and I was sore for at least 3 days afterward.  So thanks to my entire support crew, I really do appreciate you all coming out early to celebrate with me!