From Sitting in a Wheelchair to Standing on the Podium

Exactly six weeks ago, my life was turned upside down as I felt the one strand of rope slip from my fingers and through my ATC and felt that sinking feeling knowing that something was going to really hurt in a few seconds.

As I hit the ground, both heels landed on a flat slab of sandstone, I sat up, shook my head and took my shoes off, thinking that I would be able to walk out the crag a few minutes later. I felt an intense throbbing in my right foot, I was able to move my toes and ankle and I automatically assumed the best case scenario of just a bit of bruising and maybe a sprain. I tried to stand up and crumpled to the floor. Now knowing it was a bit more serious than I originally thought. My friend called my dad and told him that “David’s had a little bit of a fall – he’s okay, he can still speak…” probably not the best words to tell a father but he arrived a few minutes later. Now the shock was slowly wearing off and the real pain was setting in. Right on cue for the walk out. We contemplated calling Mountain Rescue but opted to rather get to the hospital quicker. I got on my dad’s back for about a quarter of the way when a fellow climber Steve was walking out and offered me a ride. Thanks to Steve’s ridiculously strong legs, we managed to get out quickly and relatively painlessly.

As we entered Kingsburry  Emergency room, a feeling of anger came over me. “How could I have been so unbelievably stupid?” The doc made sure everything else was intact and then sent me off for x-rays. When we came back, my mom and him were looking at the images. He pointed out an area on my right calcaneus and said. “That is the end of your youth Olympic aspirations.” He left to fetch the back slab (half cast) that he’d be putting on me. I burst into tears of anger and disappointment.  “How could I have been so stupid?” “How could I have been so stupid?” We asked him how long it would take to heal. He said 12 weeks. I almost kicked him in the head with my now bomb proof foot. That night was one of the most heart wrenching nights of my life.

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After hearing the bad news.

The next Monday we went to see an Orthopedic Surgeon to confirm treatments. He ordered a whole range of scans and photos. My left foot had swelled up to one giant mess of calf, cankle, foot pain. He ordered a CT scan for both feet to see the extent of the fracture and an MRI for my left foot. The CT came back positive as the fracture didn’t extend into the joint and was stable, hopefully cutting my recovery time in half. My left foot had many micro-muscle tears and bruising.

Life had changed, suddenly I was unable to go to the toilet without someone to carry me there, for the first week I couldn’t lift my neck up. Getting up and down stairs was an ordeal. everything was made difficult.

I told myself that if I was unable to make the Africa Cup in 6 weeks time, I would be okay with that, but I wanted to give it the best shot I could to get there. A week and a half after the fall I went to Bloc 11 to hangboard for the first time. I hung underneath the beastmaker from a sling on my harness and did repeaters until I couldn’t un-clip myself. We put top ropes on campus boards, boulder walls and anything to try keep me from getting weak and unmotivated. We did everything we could to ensure a fast recovery from Low Intensity Pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS Therapy) three times a day to calcium tablets to eating a disgusting amount of sunflower seeds.

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First training session after the fall.

As the weeks past, life became easier and I slowly became more and more mobile until I was allowed to get onto a pair of crutches. Then into a pair of climbing shoes then into smaller shoes, then into some sketchy one footed bouldering. 2 weeks before the comp, I was training twice a day, sport climbing in the morning and core/hangboarding at night. The Tuesday before the competition, we went back for more x-rays and the fracture was barely visible. 5 weeks of intense recovery later. I could start putting weight on the foot and practice walking again.

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Slowly getting more mobile.

Although I knew I was strong enough for the competition, I knew that a huge part in winning the comp would be my mind. In an Olympic format competition I couldn’t just focus on my strengths and had to compete in all three disciplines, lead, speed and bouldering on one day. I was pretty confident I could win bouldering as long as my feet held up, I was unsure if I could win lead and I knew I couldn’t win speed as Cape Town doesn’t have a speed wall. I needed to win at least two out of the three disciplines in order to place first.

The Morning of Friday the 8th of December loomed over me. We checked out the hotel and ubered to the gym. We all knew that the day was going to be physically and mentally taxing, with 2 speed runs and a full 4 on 4 off boulder comp in the morning, followed by 2 enormous lead routes in the afternoon. I went out for my first speed run, I had warmed my shoes up to make them sticky and they were clean as new, As I set off, my feet started slipping and sliding everywhere and I ended up with a time of 17,49 seconds. I stormed into isolation, absolutely furious with myself. But in a mega comp like this, you have to completely forget about every negative thought in your head and focus on whats coming up. I changed shoes and came out for my second run, getting a better 12,93 seconds but I knew this would only place me in third or fourth position. I ended up third, after some rest we were ready for the bouldering. I was confident in my ability but was worried that I would take a fall and end up having to forfeit the competition. Each boulder had it’s own different choreography and I managed to get bonus on the first 2, the third boulder was the most athletic, which I knew would cater to my strength, however it was also the most committing and I knew that if I fell off, it would seriously hurt. I flashed that boulder and dropped down, I felt a sharp pain in my left foot but luckily had enough time to recover before the last boulder which I got bonus on. That placed my in first for bouldering. It all came down to whether or not I would be able to beat all the master sport climbers from Gauteng in order to take home gold.

We viewed our first route after lunch. It was long, technical and pumpy. I was worried that I wouldn’t have the mental strength to cope with techy moves after a powerful beginning. I got about half way up the route, still feeling super fresh when I heard the judges shouting at me to come down. My foot had gone past some black tape. FREAKING BLACK TAPE!!! I was called off, furious I went back into isolation knowing that it was over and nothing could save me on the next route and Chris would easily make it past that section. The next thing I know, Chris comes storming into isolation furious having done the exact same thing as me on the same hold. It all comes down to the final route now. I was still placing in second as Chris had destroyed speed with a time of 10,49s and came second in bouldering leaving him with a score of 2 and me with a score of 3. The last route was steep, burly on square pinches, I could see it was more my style than the first route but was seriously worried about the endurance it would take to send. I was just about to head into the steep burly section when I popped off uncontrollably from a spinning hold. I called a technical and after it was fixed, Chris went out to climb. I heard an enormous roar from the crowd. after 11 minutes of rest I went out and tried as hard as I possibly could. I ended up getting one hold further on the route than Chris and that pushed me into first by the skin of my teeth.

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The podium athletes  – Chris, Hannah, Angie, Me, Shanay and Mel

 

As I walked out and stood on the podium, an immense sense of relief, satisfaction, joy and disbelief overwhelmed me. All those late nights Beastmaking at Bloc 11, all those laps on the arch and City Rock where my forearms were begging me to let go, they were all worth it. And although it sounds cliche, in the end for me it wasn’t about winning the Africa Cup or being selected for the Youth Olympics. It was the fact that this was the first time in my life that i’d wanted something so bad and knowing that the odds where stacked up so highly against me makes me wonder how far I will be able to push that  drive that’s inside each and every one of us, we all just need the right calling to let it out.

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The Beautiful first place trophy

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Tenaya Oasi Review

Everybody knows the Tenaya Oasi as “The shoe to have onsighted 9a” but they are much more than that.

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Shoeing up before my send of Golden Eye (30/8a)

Tenaya is a small Spanish company that specializes in high quality climbing shoes, and became very well known when Alex Megos onsighted the world’s first 9a in the Oasi. I’ve been using the Oasi for around three months now and thought this would be a good time to give my opinion of them.

The Oasi is a very precise, high performance sport climbing and bouldering shoe suited for intermediate to advanced climbers. It is relativity sensitive, around a 6.5/10 and made with the well known Vibram XS grip 2 rubber (the same rubber that La Sportiva makes their Solutions with) They don’t have a split mid sole however have a very narrow continuous midsole making them still flexible but not so soft as to fatigue the feet on long edging sport climbs. Tenaya’s super precise Draxtor fastening system is a more bomber and adjustable version of the system on the Solution.

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Oasi’s in action on “Riverbed – 8b” (Magic Wood, Switzerland)

They are suited to a slightly narrower foot and therefore didn’t suite me 100% however I still thoroughly enjoy climbing in them as they are incredibly comfortable for their size, I am a size 9 street shoe and a 6.5 Oasi and I can have a full gym session in them without being in too much pain. The Oasi’s mid sole is downturned however the front part of the shoe flattens out quite a lot making it more suited towards sport climbing. The front part of the shoe is also quite thick, allowing you to stand on super small edges without compromising the sensitivity too much. I was very surprised at the toe rubber’s performance on the Oasi as at first glance it looks like it wont be able to toe hook anything however, a few problems in Magic Wood and in the gym proved that very wrong!

If you like a semi stiff, high performance bouldering and sport climbing shoe that is very comfortable and can perform for hours before your feet get too tired to climb, the Oasi might be the shoe for you!

Pros:

  • Draxtor fastening system is extremely adjustable and precise
  • Good for edging
  • comfortable
  • semi downturned
  • sensitive

Cons:

  • Not very downturned
  • heel only fits narrow feet
  • heel rubber prone to pulling off

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Pre Season Sends!

As the year progresses on ever further, all the Cape Town climbers are just biting at the chance that there will be a cool patch of weather that will run over Rocklands bringing sends and psych with it. For me, the psych for the season didn’t start with a cold front in Rocklands, but rather closer to home in the local boulder fields in the Cape Peninsula.

A few months ago I heard of this mysterious new problem put up by Matt near the Kalk Bay sport climbing. When I saw the Instagram post on it I instantly felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement run through me. It’s perfect, glassy slopers, wide compression and shear beauty made me think that this boulder eroded into this formation just for me. When I watched a video of Rowan sending it, he gave me directions and the next day I was up there with my dad trying it. At first, my feet weren’t right and I couldn’t get off the ground. But, minute by minute I could feel the beta unlocking, like a thief trying to pick a lock. I decided to give it a go from the bottom just to see if I could get a new high-point. I managed to get unto the last left hand sloper when my feet popped. I got so psyched that I decided to rest and wake up at 4:00 the next morning when the conditions were just that little bit more sticky and being the highly condition dependent and slopy boulder it was. I needed everything I could get.

 

It was chilly the next morning, but I could sense that we over predicted the amount of time we would have until the blazing March sun hit the top slopers of the boulder. I warmed up and immediately started giving it send go after send go, some were close and some not at all. I started to get very depressed but decided to give it one last go. I hit the jug on the last hold and thought I was home free but then I felt my hands start to get sweaty, and my arms starting to tingle and burn. I decided to campus the last move as my feet came off and I missed the last hold. There was a roaring, surprisingly high pitched scream that filled the entire valley as I hit the deck. shouting and hitting the pads in despair. My dad was trying to calm me down but it wasn’t working, I totally lost my mind. After about 20 minutes of my lying with my face in the sand next to the crash pads sobbing, I composed myself and took a deep breath. I watched as the top slopers of the problem slowly started creeping into the sun and I thought i’d have to come back another day to finish it. After thinking long and hard I decided to give it one last burn before I packed it in for the day. I laced up my shoes as tightly as I could, put some liquid chalk on, took a deep breath in through my nose and out my mouth and closed my eyes. I remember Matt telling me to pretend like I was at the bottom of the ocean and channel out any negative thoughts about the problem. As I started going I felt strong but I wasn’t sure if I would be strong enough. I hit the finishing jug and kept squeezing in with my feet to ensure that the compression on the slopers kept me on. As I hit the very final jug, I was screaming with exhaustion just trying to mantle up on top of the boulder. And once I sent a feeling of satisfaction poured over me and I just lay on top of the boulder for a solid 10 minutes trying to build up the strength to get off… Artform is a true gem and I wouldn’t of rather had any other 8a+ as my first.

check out the video here

The next notable trip was the annual Rocklands Highline Festival at De Pakhuys. We left about a week early to the fest so that we had lots of time to climb and although it was super hot, we did manage to get a bunch of sends in. My plan for the trip was to climb as many moderates as I could (7a-7c) this all went great until we went to The Fortress to go try The Vice… I’m not going to go on a whole descriptive spree again like Artform but wow, what a problem. And in my style, I think I could break my rule for a few days to work it. I tried it a but last year but I found that moves were actually coming together and I could really start linking up bigger and bigger sections this year. I managed to get a high-point of about 3/4 of the way up before not having the power endurance to finish it off.

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The Vice – 8b

I managed to finish off a bunch of slightly easier lines that had taken me multiple trips to send so even though not being the most difficult climbs I’ve done, They felt just as satisfying to send as something harder. (Things like Sunset Arete – 7c, Pinotage 7b+, Springbok 7a+ and Poison Dwarf Direct 7c+) all have been on the tick list for quite sometime. All in all the trip was a great success and I absolutely can’t wait for the month long sending spree in June/July.

Watch Part 1  and Part 2 of our trip!

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After a few rest days I went back to Deadwood in Newlands forest to finish off a problem I had tried before I left for Rocklands and had injured my ankle. I worked the moves for about an hour, it’s a great power endurance line with good holds and high body tension. eventually I found myself on top of Parthenon – 8a! (Parthenon video here!)

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Parthenon – 8a

Thanks to everyone who made each of these incredible memories possible and for supporting me throughout it all. Thanks for reading!

Climbs and Highlines

As every Cape Town climber knows, summer is the season of low psych that comes every year like a plague, well at least in my case.

Every season I seem to loose a bit of psych and go out and try different things to return for boulder league to get strong for season, This year that wasn’t really the case, it’s been a very eventful summer, with the World Champs in November, Rock Masters in December and a super strong exchange climber who stayed with us for a few weeks from Reunion Island. And the Gravity Bowl comp at Bloc 11

A bunch of us have started getting really into slacklining again, we started out just keen for some tricklining which went really well, managing to link up big dynamic combos however we soon lost a bit of interest and started looking out and up… Yup longlines and highlines. We all clubbed together and bought 85m of SlackGear Great White webbing and imported some amazing pulleys in order to tension it up. We were all working a 50m and sent quickly. Then we went on out first highline last year with Andy and the crew to Redhill Dam, what a beautiful line, 35m long and 20m high straight across the dam wall. however the manager of the waterworks felt differently and called the police to tell us to take it down.

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First walk on the 35m 

After that line we just wanted more and more, so we went on a mission to learn more about rigging and slacklining and are able to rig our own highlines, we did the 20m at the Higgovale quarry 3 times and the 42m at the quarry once, we also rigged the Chappies line but we didn’t exactly love the idea of a one bolt anchor for  a highline, so we backed it up to a boulder far back and when the line slipped of the padding during my first walk, we decided to pack it in for the day…

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before the slippage…

After all the slacklining shenanigans, there was the Gravity Bowl competition at Bloc 11, the comp had such a good vibe on both days,. The first day was a boulder league style comp where there were 30  boulders an you had to climb as many as possible, I managed to send all 30 but by the time the next day came around I was too tired to really give the main competition my best shot and ended up placing 7th… Well done on Solene (the exchange climber from Reunion staying with us) on absolutely crushing the open females problems and winning the comp!

As the season draws nearer and nearer, the psych is slowly beginning to build again and i’m looking forward to all the excitement this year has to offer.

Thanks for reading and keep sending!

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The Rocklands Season

On Monday the fourth of July, three very psyched young strong kids ventured off to the promised land for two weeks of heaven before descending back down into the busy, bustling city life of Cape Town. Our goal, to as climb as many hard problems as possible and to have a good time while doing it. IMG_3837

We arrived on Monday evening, just in time for the Fourth of July new moon pad party at Arch Valley, it was late so we ventured off without gear just to go see what it was all about. The amount of psych that relatively drunk university students have is quite remarkable! but we quickly got bored of just watching people climbing and went back to camp. Liam and Flo were super keen to go back with their shoes and try some of the problems on offer, I however was not. I came back to camp, played some guitar and went to bed, The next morning my mom had to leave to go back to Cape Town and left us to fend for ourselves. We got quite a late start that day and headed up to Arch Valley to go try In Between Dreams – 8a+ After getting completely shut down on it, we moved around the corner to Miss Cave – 7b+ which none of us had sent yet, we played on it for a bit and I managed to send. The whole day the weather was looking a little iffy and we weren’t sure if it was gonna rain or not, luckily it looked as if the weather was clearing up so we headed Black Velvet to meet Brian and Claudia for some team photos, Black Velvet went okay, with me grabbing the jug and dabbing I was determined to send, this didn’t happen… We moved from there to Zanzibar  – 7b/+ which both Brian and myself sent fairly quickly with Liam getting close. After a long hard day we walked back to camp to light a fire and get ready for dinner. This is when the storm came in… We ended up braaiing in the rain for 2 hours and after getting soaked to the bone we went to go play poker in Flo’s tent. The wind and rain was incredible and added a bit of excitement. At around 10 Liam and I crawled into our MSR Mutha Hubba for a good, warm night.

When we got up in the morning everything was everywhere, Flo’s bowl was 50 meters away, the Bran Flakes were everywhere, it was chaos, so we cleaned it up best we could and went climbing. We trekked up to Fields of Joy to go try Kiesl for Flo, Dirty Lies for Liam and No Late Benders/Tenders for me, it was loads if fun, with everyone getting ridiculously close on their projects, I sent No Late Benders within 20 minutes and was focusing on the full linkup I fell near then end too many times and was bleak I wasn’t ably to get it in one session so we came back the next day and I retroflashed it, which I was ecstatic about.

After then, the trip died down a bit, Liam sent Zanzibar, I sent Throw Yourself Away and Flo sent Kiesl. We were all having a blast and couldn’t wait for a proper meal on Friday night when my parents came with Neil and Warwick.

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Liam on Zanzibar

We rested most of Friday, playing some poker in the Lapa with a couple of friends, then we went for a quick evening session to Black Velvet which didn’t go very well and I ended up scraping the back of my right hand for about two feet to the jug, then we emptied all our remaining fire wood into the fire place and made a big bonfire while we waited for my parents. Warwick had just come back from a hunting trip and we had mounds of Eland and Gemsbok for dinner that night, and the night after that, and the night after that!

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Black Velvet – 8a

We headed up to The Pass on Saturday, I did Last Day In Paradise a climb I had tried many times in the past and could never do. After that we moved to Roadside  where I tried Out Of Balance and did Shwupp.

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Working Herbie – 8a

That Sunday, the Euro Cup final was on and France was playing Portugal. I absolutely hate soccer but Flo wanted to watch, so we went to the Hen House for the evening, after 2 and a bit hours of my life being wasted France lost anyway. This was definitely not how I wanted to spend my Rocklands trip…

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Tired and cold…

The next week we spent at Agterpakhuys, because it was the only place we could walk to. I sent Weichei – 7c+ and Neil sent Zanzibar.

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Weichei – 7c+

The next Sunday it was time to go home. The trip had been so much fun and a real eye opener to what some of the foreign climbers could do, before we even got into the car on the way home I was already planing my next trip. Now it was time to get strong for China in November and focus on some of my local projects. I look forward to what next season will bring.

Thanks for reading!

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MSR Mutha Hubba NX Tent Review

The Mutha HubbaA-MSR-LOGO-1024x949NX 3 – Person tent is a lightweight, versatile tent for climbing and backpacking. I had the opportunity to use this tent in Rocklands a few weeks ago and it held up to every different kind of weather that the Cederberg could throw at us!

This tent is definitely the most livable tent I have ever stayed in. It was incredibly comfy with only two people in it and it felt as if I was sleeping in my room in Cape Town! It is really easy to setup because it is made with a single pole design that connects all the poles to the central pole on the top. Weighing in at only 2.07 kilograms it is the prefect choice for a few weeks trekking in the ‘berg or just chilling in Sandrift with a few mates. The tent can also be setup in a “fast and light” mode, where the actual tent is not needed as you attach the fly sheet directly to the poles creating a super light shelter in case the weather turns. The “fast and light” mode with the (not included footprint) weighs only 1.66 kilograms. The Tent’s fly sheet was amazingly waterproof during the few times when it rained pretty hard in Rocklands and the structure held up really well to the 40+km/h winds. The guy ropes are easy to use although they don’t necessarily need to be in place for the tent to function, as it is free standing.IMG_2956

At both entrances there are built-in rain gutters so that you don’t get wet  getting in and out of it. (Something that I found to be a problem on some of my other tents.) The fly also has kickstand vents to provide the tent with some ventilation even when it is raining. It also provides the right balance between nylon and mesh which creates a warm, breathable and private space. The pegs/stakes are really light weight and come with snow-stakes. The vestibules are very spacious and we managed to keep all our gear in them so that we had ample space in our tent for playing poker and listening to music when the weather was closing in.

I thoroughly enjoyed using this tent  and would highly recommend it for anybody who loves getting into the mountains, whether you’re a fisherman, hiker, climber, skier or just a camper you would love this tent.A Thing Of Beauty

MSR Dragonfly Liquid-Fuel Stove Review

A-MSR-LOGO-1024x949I was given an opportunity to test out the MSR Dragonfly stove on my latest 12 day trip to Rocklands. We cooked just about every meal on it and it never let us down! The Dragonfly is a very stable stove that is able to hold a large pot, pan or kettle. It is easy to use and very cheap and efficient on fuel too!  It can use a variety of different fuels, including Kerosene (benzine), Paraffin, Unleaded Auto Gas and  Petrol (apparently  it can also use diesel and jet fuel – so basically it can burn anything!)

The Dragonfly feels extremely sturdy as well, the pump feels solid and in general looks and is super reliable. Although being an incredible simmering stove it is really easy to boil water quickly and efficiently for coffee on those chilly mornings!

It is also very compact and folds down into 1/3 of its original size. The priming process is something that I was not used to, this being the first liquid-fuel stove I’ve used it was a very cool experience and not as tricky as it looks! (priming is heating up the bowl of the stove with some liquid fuel so that once the head of the burner has heated up sufficiently the liquid fuel will vaporize and turn into the cooking gas that you use.)

 

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Priming the Dragonfly 

The glove-friendly simmer control is very accurate and you can get just the right amount of fuel out to cook what you need to. The stove only takes 15-20 pumps on a full fuel bottle. The whole system can also fit inside a MSR 2 liter pot for easy storage when you are going hiking and every little space counts. Although this is one of the noisier stoves that MSR makes, I think it boils water faster than some of the quieter stoves on the market. The heat and wind reflectors come in handy when you don’t want to lose any precious heat to the elements.

All in all I think that this is a great stove for anything, be it camping, hiking, climbing or just moving into a new house and missing a stove 😀

 

 

 

The Build Up

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The Build up to the Bouldering season has begun. The excitement when you look at the weekend’s weather and see it’s below 30 degrees and all the Boulder league Tuesday nights. It’s coming. After having a break from bouldering during the summer I am more psyched then ever to see that first Clanwilliam (30km) sign and drive over the Pakhuys Pass and just feel the psych that will run through my veins the moment a see into the valley. Our first trip will be on the 21st of March and I can’t wait to see all the old faces and to meet knew ones too! Although it will be hot, I haven’t stopped thinking about Rocklands since, well…hmmmm…. maybe 3 years ago! everyday I dream about waking up to the birds tweeting and the cold morning air sitting over the valley.

Rocklands has always been the center of my bouldering since I first went there. Frankly, it’s just that good and the moment I come back from one trip I start thinking of the next one. My whole existence is framed around this barren little piece of land 25km from Clanwilliam in the Cedarberg… Doesn’t sound very appealing? well to me it does and i’m sure that most people who have had the privilege of going feel the same.

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During the Holidays, I went to Waterval Boven with my friend from Gauteng, Josh Greaves. We had a blast but I never felt that same feeling when I first climbed there as I did when I climbed in Rocklands for the first time. That immediate, overpowering feeling of pure joy and something absolutely indescribable.  monster 1.JPG

Boulder Nationals are coming up in KZN in April, although this will probably end up being more of a surfing trip then climbing, I look forward to competing on the same wall where my first Boulder Nationals were. I love the vibe at competitions and the awesome people you get to meet. It’s a great place to interact and learn tips from other climbers and get beta that will work for you. that’s what I love about climbers, they will cheer for you until they loose their voice but they still want to win, don’t we all?

I just wanted to share some of my psych with you guys and hope to see all of you in Rocklands or Echo or anywhere, aslong as you’re crushing, it doesn’t matter!

 

La Sportiva Genius Review

LaSportivaLogoBlackI’ve had my pair of Genius’s for about 8 months now and with out a doubt these shoes are a little glimpse into the future of high performance climbing shoes. genius

Lets start with the new features on this shoe that set it apart from the others. Firstly the No-Edge Technology also found on the Speedster and Futura that keeps one single piece of rubber running from the top of the shoe, all the way to the arch underneath the shoe, this means there is much less rubber between your foot and the rock than on a conventional climbing shoe. With only 3mm of rubber it is incredibly sensitive and you can feel every little crystal under your foot. the laces on these shoes are hassle free, you don’t need to lace it up all the way from the bottom-up like you might do another lace up shoe. the laces create a much more precise, glove like fit. The shoe also has the P3 (permanent power platform) that will keep the shoe down-turned though out its life. It has the awesome sticky Vibram XSgrip2 rubber on them, the same rubber that’s on the Solutions and Python’s. For me, a shoe with a bad heel is not a shoe at all and this heel rocks! it looks rad because of the red rubber and is super soft and sticky! perfect for those hard-to-place heels and it is a little more narrow than the Solution’s, it’s also very sensitive. images

I have used this shoe a lot in the past few months, including places like Rocklands, Boven and I used them when I was sport climbing in the World Champs in Arco. These shoes felt like they were the only ones I could trust on the weird, technical routes in the comp and they sure didn’t let me down! images (1)

The shoe as a whole is relatively soft and you don’t need to be as precise as you have to be with a conventional shoe, you can just place your foot on the hold and no matter where you place it, it will stick, and it will stick well! you can just feel a hold, grind your toes into it and keep climbing. This makes them really good for onsight sport climbing or any climbing where you need to climb quickly and efficiently.

I just wanted to share a quick post on these as I see shops are now stocking them in South Africa and i’m sure everyone is gonna want a pair! get them quickly, it’s worth it!

 

 

A New Season, A New Start!

So, after an amazing bouldering season, ticking off my first 8a’s, its time to start looking up at mountains instead of down into caves.    images

Since I haven’t written in a while i’ll talk about my bouldering season. This winter has been the most productive, amazing and inspiring seasons thus far. It started off in June where I tried to focus on volume, laying down a bunch of easier problems, trying to build the base of the pyramid. These problems ranged anywhere from 3’s to 7c’s and everything in between. We made 3 trips in the June/July holiday down to Rocklands having a rad time with good mates. A few weeks later we went down with some of the guys from Outward, that trip wasn’t really the most successful… with me only sending a few problems, none of them being very difficult. This reeled me back in, telling me I can’t send everything I want anytime I want.        wild-country

Then a few weeks back I started working Mintberry Crunch. I’ve always walked past this problem for the past year, but never had the nerve to pull off the really painful first move. After I sent Captain Hindsight, my first 7c+ I started to try it, and figured it could definitely go. The Tuesday that next week, my dad and I trekked up with four pads, in the pouring rain to go and try it and hoped it would be dry. When we got to the problem everything was dry except for the last two holds. Which was fine because I didn’t think I would get there that session. I worked it until it got dark and we had to come down. We stashed our pads there that night, as psyched as ever to come back up the next day when it hopefully wasn’t raining. On Wednesday I came up, got the pads out, worked it for about an hour and then realized that this thing was going to go any second. I kept falling on the last move, when my heel popped out the incredible hand-foot splits match. I rested for about 20 minutes and then gave it one last go just as it was getting dark. When I went for it, it felt like I was warming up in the gym, it flowed so effortlessly and easily, I was so surprised to find myself on the top of the boulder, having just done my first 8a!     LaSportivaLogoBlackmintberry

But the celebration didn’t last long, like i’m sure most of you know, one minute you could be the happiest you’ve ever been, the next you are hitting your head against the wall of your next project… Ah the life of a boulderer!

About five weeks back, my dad and I took a final trip to Rocklands for the year and that’s when I started working Witness The Sickness. This problem is probably one of the most perfect, beautiful and difficult lines I could imagine! it’s like climbing a fridge, slapping your way up this totally blank bulge of rich, orange perfect rock. On my second session on it, my bicep was really starting to hurt, I tried taping it tightly up and massaging it but nothing seemed to work. I was worried that this might stop me from sending Witness and that I would probably have to wait till June for the conditions to get cold enough before I could try it again. On one of the days it started to rain and we had stashed pads our pads there, so we walked up to it to go get our pads, thinking that this has ruined the conditions and that I would have to wait. So we took a drive to Clanwilliam to go get some supplies and some deep heat and arnica for my arm. later that morning I walked to the base of Witness, just to see if it might be dry already  thinking I still have a burn or two that I could give to it. And little did we know the rain had dried and there was a super strong, cold wind sweeping through the valley, I was ready, so we hiked back up with the pads and got psyched again. The holds felt so sticky and perfect! By this time I knew that it was going down. I relaxed, took a deep breath (cause I knew that if I breathed on the problem I would fall) and everything just seemed to go like clockwork. I jumped to the finishing jug and was screaming for joy! That final jump, that last hold, was the best feeling I’ve ever had not just in my climbing career but in my whole life.   https://vimeo.com/142428466witness_the_sickness_2015_01-200x150

Since then I’ve started to chill a bit, focusing more on my sport and primarily on my trad for the summer months, but still making sure that I do my once a week fingerboard session and once a week “run”. I’ve never really been good at sports that involve being tired or any form of spherical objects being thrown, kicked, hit or dodged! luckily I found climbing, at least that only involved suffering and painful muscles which I can live with!

 

Well, that’s all I have for now, I’ll try post more regularly and keep you up to date on all our summer epics!

Thanks for reading! hope you enjoyed it!