Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Forever War (Part 1 of 2)


                 Two years ago Pamela Pack an Jay Anderson dragged me out to an offwidth route in Vedauwoo called The Forever War 5.13+R.  Pamela had established the route just six months prior, and was keen on filling Jay and I with horror stories of; head first falls, emergency room visits, a severely battered kidney, and large rodent nests.
Filled with fear, we hung a top rope and Jay went first, unable to link the inverted climbing and pivot, he jugged to the overhanging armbar section and started making progress. still to this day I've never met someone with nearly the same armbar power as Jay, and to watch him give everything he had, on a post crux section of a climb, filled me with doubt.
I went next, and it was quite pathetic. Fresh off a recent ascent of Trench Warfare 5.13, I was feeling confident in my abilities to climb offwidths. Yet I didn't make a single move on any section of the climb,  It was a completely different level of climbing.
Pamela hopped on the TR to clean the route, and made short work of it, almost making it look effortless. I remember thinking "maybe someday I could climb this, but probably not."

Vedauwoo 2015, Ashley Cracroft and I went to attempt another route established by Pamela called Spatial Relations 5.13. Ashley got on first and just cruised through the roof, only stopping to perfect her beta for a later redpoint attempt. I was blown away, and filled with confidence that we would quickly tick this route, until I attempted it.
Vedauwoo, has this characteristic flare to it's cracks that can lend it impossible to jam with your hands, and on inverted climbs like Spatial Relations, you're left hanging off of your feet, with nothing to pull on.
What do the pro's do in these kind of scenarios? They pull with their feet, something Ashley was incredibly good at, and something I flat out couldn't do.

We had one month before our return to Vedauwoo,Which we were planning on attempting Spatial. I trained with Ashley the entire time, learning her techniques, and training routines.
Below is a time lapse of her inverted walking routine, which is a technique used heavily on Spatial Relations.
Upon our return to Vedauwoo, we didn't head straight out to Spatial Relations, but somehow found ourselves sitting underneath The Forever War instead.
I tried the route half heartedly, and just couldn't feel the movement coming together. Ashley got on the route and just like with Spatial, made easy work of the climbing. Watching her climb the route I had a huge realization, it was the exact same movement I had been learning from Ashley in her training routine, I suddenly felt confident about my abilities, and got right back on the route, top roping it clean!

We put Spatial Relations on the back burner, took a rest day to recover, and went out to The Forever War to get the send.
Ashley went first, cruised through the inverted walking, made the over the foot sit up, went to place the first of two number six cams and slid out.
Being slightly bigger than Pamela, we can't get a solid enough chicken wing to stop and place gear,
It was heart breaking to realize this.
Ashley had spent all of her energy on her first attempt, and wouldn't be able to give it another 100% effort, which for an R rated climb plus skipping two crux pieces of gear, meant she would have to attempt the route next time we returned.

Ashley enticed me to tie in, I grabbed the gear but left the sixes on the ground, got on the route and sent it.

I remember feeling overwhelmingly happy about finishing the route, Vedauwoo's hardest offwidth, yet..... still incomplete, this story will not be complete until Ashley sends the route too. In no way could I have climbed this route without her direction and inspiration.
to be continued.......


Thanks for reading this post! 
Here is a video of Pamela's fist ascent of The Forever War 
and the article she wrote on her website regarding The Forever War

Interested in doing a little offwidth climbing of your own? Here's a link for the best offwidth shoes on the market!

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