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