• Progress at the New

    Armed with shiny, new gear, we packed the car and headed down to our second home, the New River Gorge.  I was sick and tired of my crummy old pack.  It was small and very uncomfortable.  I got the Arc’teryx Miura 50 pack and the Pali rope bag to go along with it.  In short, it’s amazing.  Stay tuned for a review.  We also got a new Sterling Marathon Pro.  Our old Marathon Sport was showing it’s age, and we were getting a little uncomfortable with it.  The new rope is silky smooth.

    Overcast at Summersville Lake

    Anywho, looking like newbies, we went to Summersville Lake on Saturday.  In an attempt to beat this summer heat and humidity, we woke up early and arrived at the base of Orange Oswald wall around 8:30.  We climbed Souled Out (9) to warm up, but as soon as I got to the top and began to rap off, it started to thunder.  By the time I was at the bottom and we pulled the rope, it started pouring!  Not again…  We retreated to the Narcissus Cave and waited… and waited some more.  Two hours later, the rain had stopped, the sun was trying to come out, and we went back to the wall to notice it wasn’t that wet.  After a few more minutes, the water stopped dripping and we climbed She Got The Bosch, I Got Drilled (10a), which we had never done.  At the last bolt, I spazed out, and pumped off.  I was in an awkward clipping stance and pitched.  We finished up and the crowds were now arriving.  Our next climb was Moon Pie Deluxe (10c), another new one for us.  It starts up a technical slab then goes over a couple roofs.  Pulling the final roof proved tough for me as there are a couple bad slopers at the lip.  After falling a couple times at that spot, I pulled it and finished it up.  It was getting really humid, so I was pleased the way I climbed the route:  having only trouble in that one spot.

    Afternoon Top Rope of Butterbeans

    The crowds were rolling in, and so was the heat.  We bailed and went to Waterstone Outdoors, but they still didn’t have my size in the La Sportiva Miura velcro shoes to try on.  After an ice cream, we went to Bridge Buttress to meet our friends.  I ran up a top rope of Monkey See, Monkey Do (5), and Butterbeans (10a).  It was a good end to the day as we went back to the campground to enjoy some brews and burritos.

    Sunday’s forecast promised relief from the heat, but it didn’t seem that way to us!  We went to Fern Buttress and warmed up on Fragile Ego System (10a), a nice, technical slab climb.  We were all pretty tired from the previous day.  Gaelyn made an attempt at Chameleon (10b) but bailed early due to a tough start.  I was saving for Wild Seed (11a).  Wild Seed is a beautiful line that starts with a technical slab and crack.  It traverses under a roof with bad feet, then finishes with a few pumping crimps, and steep jugs to the top.  It was my first time on the route and I was very happy with my performance considering my past performance throughout this spring, coupled with the conditions.  I hung once below the crimps to read the sequence, but other than that, it went clean!  I can’t wait to come back and fire the redpoint!  It felt great to climb strong again… I was loving every minute of it.

    At the Top of Bridge Buttress… Awwww

    Once back on the ground, I discussed this with Gaelyn, as my climbing on Wild Seed didn’t match with my climbing on other easier routes the past few weeks.  Plus, I went into Wild Seed tired.  I’ve been a little down on myself lately.  I was hoping to have climbed some harder routes by this time of the year.

    We came up with the thought that the reason some of the moderate climbs don’t go as well for me and I don’t onsight them, is that I expect to onsight them.  I expect it to be easy.  I feel like “well I’ve climbed harder routes so this should be cake, right?”  I think I don’t have the intense focus that I do with harder routes, and when I struggle, I get flustered and frustrated.  I noticed my focus on Wild Seed was almost laser like.  I saw every small foothold right away.  I knew Wild Seed should feel hard for me, because of the grade, so therefore I tried and focused harder.  What do you all think??  Have you ever had this encounter?


    Gif Zafred

    Gif currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA and is 27 years old. Being a whitewater kayaker and enduring many dry summers, he discovered rock climbing about 5 years ago. He has been addicted ever since and enjoys all types of climbing. You can find him bouldering at Coopers Rocks, clipping bolts at the New River Gorge or Red River Gorge, and doing multi-pitch routes at Seneca.

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Discussion 4 Responses

  1. June 20, 2011 at 11:54 am

    GIf, don’t give up…on getting a pair of the VS Muiras! I have a pair and they are totally sweet.

    Seriously though, Wild Seed is a great climb. I actually find that I often do better when I underestimate my ability to do a route. Like this past weekend, i was trying something way beyond my grade level and thought: It’d be cool if I can just make it to the 5th bolt (where some other sorry sucker had left a bail biner that I could use). But I surprised myself and made it to the last bolt before falling. Some might argue that it’s better to picture yourself sending the whole thing to get some positive reinforcement. I don’t know which is better for everyone, but personally I like to be surprised rather than disappointed.

    • June 21, 2011 at 11:49 am

      I’m definitely not giving up on the Miuras!  Just waiting for Waterstone to get my size.  I agree with you on being surprised by performance.  It’s much better for the mental psych to be happy with a good performance when not expecting it than to be disappointed with a bad climb when you expected to do better.

  2. June 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I definitely agree with your assessment as well as Matt’s – I do find that I focus better when I’m near my limit.  It sounds like you got in some great climbing despite the weather!  Its been a year or so since I’ve been out at Fern, but I remember Chameleon and Wild Seed both being fantastic!  Moon Pie Deluxe is an exciting lead, huh?!?  It seems like its bolted a little weird to me, as if you have to stop mid-sequence to clip…I usually end up climbing past it and clipping the bolt at my feet, which I am never a fan of…  Glad you guys had fun!

    • June 21, 2011 at 11:53 am

      Good to hear I’m not the only one with this problem!!  haha
      The bolting on Moon Pie seemed ok to me.  It has those three bolts down low for the tech crux.  I’m pretty tall so I had my hand on a jug and the bolt was at my waist…so it turned out ok for me.  It was a bit reachy, but I have no problems with those moves.  I struggled up high at the slopers.
      We are bound to get one weekend this year with no rain…hasn’t happened yet though.

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