It was also the day that I finally sent my project for the last week, or at least the stand start to it.
Last week while trying to decide what to climb at Bushwhack over the weekend, I came across an old email that I had sent a friend after my first visit there, with photos attached of the three boulders that I was most excited about climbing. One of them was the Switch boulder, home to Brian's brilliant Flipping the Switch that I climbed a couple weeks back. Looking at the photo, I realized that when I took it the lines that had attracted me the most were the two prominent seams rising up and left across the slightly overhung face. Although they're admittedly eliminates by nature, I also can't resist seam traverses, and decided that the lower one would be the perfect project for a Friday session with Vince.
Despite my original intention to start the problem in the seam itself, I had enjoyed Flipping the Switch so much that I decided to use the same start to move into the crimps, and then branch off left from there. The crux would remain the first move of the stand, but the sit would add in the fun kneebar sequence and give an extra couple moves to an already great looking line.
After making sure I could stick the crux and working out the beta for the rest of the problem, I set to work from the beginning. With daylight fading fast, it soon became clear that it wasn't happening in one session, but I packed up confident that I would send the line quickly the next day.
Morning came, and Emily and I headed out to meet up with the Adventures in Pebble Wrestling crew on their first Bushwhack trip. As I wrote last week, they had a day full of good sends, while I walked away disappointed in my lack of success. After hours of throwing myself at the initial sequence, each attempt only compounding the scratches and bruises on my legs, my thoughts as I sat down each time became less "this is going to be awesome" and more "do I really have to do this again?" In my obsession with doing the line from the start, it had ceased to be fun. Trying to salvage something from the day, I decided too late to just do it from the stand as I had originally intended, and took fall after fall as I threw ever more desperately off the crimps. At times like that, it's good to have a wife to save me from myself!
Thursday I went back out with Dan to knock out the stand, fully anticipating a quick send, but once again excited just to work on it. Sometimes people think it's crazy that I'm willing to drive an hour after work for just two hours of climbing, especially with a twenty minute approach thrown in. When the leaves are turning and the last sun is falling on cool rock though, the trip is absolutely worth it. Somehow it even seemed worth the trip after setting up our crash pads only to discover that I had left my shoes back at the gym. Sadly, despite my initial hope, Dan's shoes weren't a viable option.
So yesterday with morning temps in the 30s, my mom and I fortified ourselves with donuts and coffee and made our way back out to Bushwhack. Arriving to find a couple friends already on the rocks, we went to Diagon Alley and warmed up on Butterbeer, a problem my mom had put up last April on one of our early trips there.
We also played on the thin line in the center of the slab that had been an unfinished project that day, which had evidence of recent traffic. I'd love to know if someone sent it!
Finally we went over to the Switch boulder, where I ran a few laps on the middle section of the seam, trying to warm up a sore middle finger in anticipation of the initial moves.
After sticking the crux on my first attempt only to chicken out and drop off the finish, I eventually managed to make the move again and hang on for the send. Trying to think of a good name to fit with Flipping the Switch, the returning pain in my middle finger made Flipping the Bird seem like the obvious choice.
Topping out was a great feeling, and in hindsight I think those initial experiences of walking away empty handed made the eventual success all the better. It was a lesson I needed, and one I hope I won't forget anytime soon. The best part is that the sit is still there waiting, and it's going to make a great problem even better. And with yesterdays send taking the mental pressure off a bit, I have a feeling it will go quickly. But if not, at least I'll have fun along the way.
Here's the video of yesterdays sends. Enjoy!