Sport Climbing

Posted on 01. May, 2012 by in News

Just a quick update as I am in the midst of several Calculus exams in the next weeks, and although I have had little time to get out I have been motivated.

The last few weeks I have been climbing in the gym, and this summer have decided to make a committed and dedicated effort to climb routes. Last week I sent my first real project in the gym, and it felt great to feel confident and strong climbing on lead. I literally have never felt this way on a rope and it was an enormous breakthrough in my climbing, a breakthrough which has really lit a fire inside to finish what I originally set out to do.

Last fall I went on a few trips, to Lander, Mill Creek, and the Monastery just to sample what was out there. As the temperatures became colder it didn’t make much sense not to boulder and so I did, patiently waiting for the warm air to return so I could rope up again. Now that it is spring again I have a number of sport climbing projects I am going to throw myself at. It is incredibly motivating to have so many things to choose from, all of which are new. I am only interested in the best of the best. Of course I’ve made a list of the things I’d like to do, and I will do everything in my power to make this wishlist a reality. I often tell people that I’d like to climb 5.14, as that number has represented an iconic challenge since the day I began climbing. But the reality is that, as with bouldering, my interest lies in climbing stunning lines, on the best rock, in incredible settings. While the pool of projects is massive, there are a few routes that have risen quickly to the surface. In addition to the ones listed below, my eyes are also set on several unclimbed projects in the Poudre Canyon, which have been oddly neglected by the masses. They look outstanding.

The routes listed below are the ones that I hope to complete by the time the fall rolls around and I will inevitably find myself huddled against the wind amongst the jagged blocks in Chaos Canyon and Lincoln Lake.

1. Zulu 5.14a, Rifle, CO I’ve never even been to Rifle, and everyone says this will be the hardest one for me to do. This only motivates me more. I am anxious and excited to go there and learn a new style. I am willing and eager to fail, as it is the only way I feel I can really learn, which is one of the reasons I have taken up sport climbing in the first place. Sheltering myself in bouldering leads to stagnation and it’s difficult for me to progress and adapt. I’d also like to check out 7pm Show and Lungfish as well.

2. The Bleeding 5.14a, Mill Creek, UT Last fall I made a brief visit to Mill Creek, on a recommendation from a friend. This is the best route I have ever seen (granted I can count the number of sport climbing areas I’ve been to on both hands). The rock is immaculate, the line is stunning and the setting is sublime. I had some good but timid burns on its easier neighbor Tiki Man 5.13c, and with some renewed psyche I’d like to think I could finish that one off quickly before moving on to its harder and better counterpart.

3. Rodeo Free Europe 5.14a, Wild Iris, WY This takes the main line out of the best wall at Wild Iris. I am interested in climbing a hard route on as many varying styles as I can, and this one is short, powerful and has several monos on it. Totally opposite of Zulu, and in a beautiful setting at 9,000ft.

4. Existence Mundane 5.14b, Acephale, AB Oh so long ago I saw a picture of Scott Milton on his amazing route of perfect blue limestone rising out of a dark evergreen forest and have wanted to climb it ever since. Those kinds of photos can leave a lasting mark. I am hoping to make a trip up there this summer.

5. Third Millennium 5.13d I only spent one day on this route last year, but managed to do all the moves fairly quickly. The Monastery is an incredible crag, with excellent rock and an incredible setting. I am surprised it doesn’t get more attention. The hike, although advertised as “brutal” by some, is fairly casual by my standards. Not to mention my roommate and co-worker Jordon Griffler just sent this line, providing some motivation for me to step up. This will hopefully be just a warm-up for its neighbor Grand Ol’ Opry 5.14a.

For now that is all. In todays day of 5.14c flashes and 5.15b redpoints this list is meager. As it still stands, my hardest redpoint is 5.11b. Pathetic, really, but honest. Perhaps this list is a bit ambitious. Perhaps I won’t climb any of these routes, ever. But I am convinced that by applying the same hard work, dedication and commitment that I have applied to bouldering, I can make these dreams a reality, and if nothing more learn a whole lot in the process.

To give an example: from 2002 until 2005 I spent over 100 days trying Nuthin’ But Sunshine V13, the classic boulder in RMNP. One hundred days of failure, doubt, frustration, worry, and suffering to see success on this problem. I need big challenges in my life, because I need to learn. Not only was this one of the most interesting learning experiences of life, it provided one of the most satisfying personal victories I have ever known, and it may very well be my proudest achievement.

Sport climbing for me is hard. Sport climbing for me right now means I go climbing and I fail, something I am not used to, even when I think I am climbing well. It is a new challenge and one I am ready to embrace. My previous unwillingness to embrace it now only provides more motivation. I know that at it’s best climbing can provide definitive moments of clarity, accomplishment, and joy. I want to feel that again. I want to clip the chains knowing I was pushed farther than I ever thought possible. My motivation is renewed, once again, I am psyched and I am ready to attack.

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” -George McFly

16 Responses to “Sport Climbing”

  1. Scott Strong

    01. May, 2012

    Maaaaaaaaaaaan, if redpointing only 11b is pathetic, I can’t imagine what only redpointing 11a is. 😉

    It’s all relative dude. Having so much strength already, getting through crux sections on routes shouldn’t be too much issue. The big problem is going to be endurance. I’m coming off my first full season of bouldering going into rope climbing and it’s a whole different beast coming back to it. I’ve got the power and strength to do my project that is at my limit, thanks to bouldering. But thanks to bouldering, the endurance to link the sections together isn’t there right now.

    Pretty sure that once you get your endurance up, you’ll be ticking off those routes fairly quickly.

  2. Beau

    01. May, 2012

    Let’s go climbing Jamie! I am all psyched too! I wanna hit up Rifle, Wild Iris, Utah, whatever!

  3. bongowurm

    01. May, 2012

    Excellent post, love the emerging trickle of positivity in climbing blogs right now!

  4. tendon

    01. May, 2012

    Poudre Sucks…stay in boulder….much cooler for your Fbook status

  5. Greg Davis

    01. May, 2012

    Hey Jamie… long time trad climber here. I recenlty went through the same thing but it was crossing over from long easy free routes to bouldering, I had to start at the VERY bottom but anytime you confront your weaknesses it does wonders… I’m sure you already know all this haha you seem like a super analytical climber but after spending a winter bouldering I’ve been having the best spring of trad climbing in my life. Its probably apples and oranges, but big ups for honesty and objectively looking at your training. You the man!

  6. slabdyno

    01. May, 2012

    a letter grade on an 11. OOFA!

  7. Matt

    02. May, 2012

    If you send any of those routes, that will probably be the biggest jump in red point level that anyone’s ever done. 11b to 14a…

    A note on Rifle: if you looking for a 14a that suits your strengths, 7 PM Show would be the ticket. It is short, bouldery, and know to be a 14a that is friendly to the bouldering-oriented. That said, you might learn more on Zulu, since it is an enduro-route that will work what I might assume would be your weaknesses. You should probably just do them both…

  8. Michael Rathke

    02. May, 2012

    A while back in Climbing Magazine there was a cover photo at the Monastary and in the description of the photo it said “Secret Crag” I was at the Monastary when Chuck was taking the photo’s…It was the issue where he had duck taped climbing magazines to the rock lol

  9. Allan @ Chain Cables

    02. May, 2012

    Still love to sneak away for a weekend when we can to ride up to Devil’s Lake WI and head up Lost Face. Reminds me that my shoes are my favorite piece of gear every time.

  10. big poppa chosscrush

    02. May, 2012

    “Poudre Sucks…stay in boulder….much cooler for your Fbook status”


  11. big poppa chosscrush

    02. May, 2012

    i do think it’s interesting that bouldering partially emerged as a minimal gear option to avoid the drudgery of hauling sport climbing equipment around.

    it’s hilarious to me that at least in colorado the expanding fringe of bouldering usually means more gear to climb over poor landings after hiking for 15 billion miles.

    in comparison, sport climbing hikes and with gear are so pathetically effortless.

  12. Sonnie

    03. May, 2012

    Hey dude, The Bleeding is still one of the best routes I have ever done for the grade. Stick with it if you have the chance, LOVE that thing. All I remember is the crux, Lev and I went twice with the right hand off that left hand undercling into the little two finger pocket:) YA!!!! Keep it up!

  13. B3

    03. May, 2012

    Sonnie!!! Graet to hear from you and thanks for the beta! It’s such a sick route. Very psyched to get on it! Hope you’re well man.

  14. Brian Kimball

    10. May, 2012

    I love your humble approach Jamie :o) Sport climbing, bouldering, crack climbing, big wall free climbing it doesn’t really matter we all know is all about humbling ourselves and listening to how our bodies want to adapt to the problem or route. Really paying deep attention to each section of the route and what style fits best with the climb and our bodies/personal style…dammit…I cannot say anything with out ranting and raving…ugh…what I am trying to say is YOUR GOING TO KILL IT JAMIE especially if you stay humble and willing to learn from the routes and from other climbers critiquing your beta and style. After you have all of your best beta for each section sauced than it just becomes a mental battle to remember the 85 moves on Zulu and trying not to get to excited just staying super SUPER relaxed as possible. Once you have gained the confidence on one 5.14 suddenly they all seem possible. You have way to much V14 power to be flailing to much on the 7pm Show it makes me psyched to think of you and all of the fun your going to have on routes like that embrace the choss of Rifle it is a special place with incredibly thought provoking movement I hope you love it just as much as so many others due don’t listen to the Rifle Haters its not true…funnest sports action venue in Colorado NO DOUBT!!!!!!

  15. B3

    12. May, 2012

    thanks for the kind words Kimball!!

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