Saturday, December 8

It's ALL in the name

Today I led an 18 on traditional gear, or trad for short. I was never more scared in my life (maybe on the Matterhorn?) but my belayer and trad eye-opener was very patient and walked me through everything. The route was pumpy and the fact that I was trying to place as much gear as possible for her to check did not help. Anyway, there was this big cam I had aptly called "the motherfucker".

I had put in on my left side, with the other smaller cams on my right side. Anyway, I reach this spot where I'm super pumped and shaky, and super-duper scared. My feet and hands are not shaking yet but I am starting to loose grip on my right hand. It is an overhung crack that requires a bit of laybacking, and, as this is Wanaka, there are no jugs, only bigger crimps and some ledges. The crack in front of me is this big big void and I try to place EVERYTHING either below or above it. I am getting more pumped with every little thing that I try to place. Nothing matches and I am starting to think that maybe it does not matter: if nothing but the third bomb-proof one holds, I have a good chance of not hitting the ground.  Lydia is saying softly and repeatedly: "The moterfucker is on your left side". "The motherfucker is on your left side". "The motherfucker is on your left side". Eventually I hear her through a haze and wonder: "What motherfucker?" (I am thinking of you, Rose Petals!)

"Oh, THAT motherfucker!" I quickly grab it and place it poorly, but enough to proceed, place a better one, rest and adjust. Whew. I have found another scary dimension of climbing: trad climbing!!


ionuca said...

I think one needs to be a VERY good climber before one attempts to trad climb.

I watched a documentary about trad climbing in the UK and I was scared shitless! It's not as bad as free soloing, but damn, why, why would anyone wanna do such a dangerous thing?

claudia said...

@ionuca: hahaha i thought the same!! It's SOOOOOO scary still! But I don't know, you sort of are in the zone EVEN MORE than when leading sport. It's awesome!