Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Fear of Creaky Heights

I'm not real accustomed to 35 foot, 7a, boulder problems. So it was when Andy Raether and I first "found" the roadside Area of the Rocklands that we walked up to this boulder in the pale dusk light. Andy Raether said, "I'm doing it." Andy Mann said, "I'm not." "Creaky Heights" is indeed the center piece highball of the area, a pure 5-star line 30 feet up the center of a slightly overhanging boulder on measly little crimps that lead into an off-balance stab for an upside-down tufa at 23 feet. sketch. I knew I had 10 weeks to do this problem and it was nice to be able to have an excuse for 9 of them.
I had some anxiety towards this problem, not because of the grade, but because I had seen some huge helicopter falls from the tufa move. One in particular from Cedar Wright who barely hit the crashpads.
One day on the drive to the boulders from our little farm house, Chuck's car went up in smoke atop Pakhuis Pass. There were baboons all over the pass that day, even surrounding the car with curiosity. We decided to split up. Chuck had to take the other car into town for help with others. Chuck asked me to hike the high-def camera and sound equipment into the rocklands the rest of the way on foot. Daniel was close to sending "Monkey-Wedding" v15, and he couldn't afford to miss filming the event. It was a rest day for me, so I agreed.
After falling from the last move twice in a row, Daniel took of his shoes, and Keith and I put down the cameras. We sat quietly under the setting sun for a half-hour it must of been. Then, I just knew it. "Daniel, I said, let's fuckin' do Creaky man." "Hell yeah" he said.
I was in complete focus with my surroundings as I chalked up. Sunset. 55 Degrees. Light westernly ocean breeze. Smells of sand, eucyliptis leaves, and frozen time.
"Believe, breath, and don't look down", I told myself, "you can do this." And before I knew it, I was past the crux and reaching out for the tufa, the move that had thrown Cedar off. Right as I grabbed the tufa, my feet blew off the holds, and I managed to throw my right hand above my left on the tufa and controlled the swing somehow. I reeled it in and made the full-body length lock-off move to the lip on complete auto-pilot. I flashed the same problem I said I would never do the first time I saw it. I sat on top of the boulder and watched the sun-set over the Cedarburg wilderness and we hiked out in the dark to meet up with Chuck for a ride back to the farm.
photo: Keith Ladzinski

1 comment:

chuffer said...

w3rd andy, thnx for the story.