Monday, December 4, 2006

Minki, Lisa, and The Killer Bees

It was nice to have someone to climb my projects with in the Rocklands. With most people in my group able to climb v13, I spent most days alone under the endless amount of boulder problems above my limit.

As I searched out the Alpha-Farms for something new to inspire me, I walked around a corner and found beautiful dead horizontal roof with perfect pinches. "Minki" it was called, I would find out later, but today it had no chalk on it. I called my friends over to see it. Andy and Chuck completed it quickly, and Daniel managed to send it in half an hour or so. It had Lisa and my name all over it After a few hours Lisa and I had figured out all the knee-bars, toe-hooks, heel-hooks, and thumb catches needed to climb it in the hard v8 range. By nightfall, and after a stern"you need to rest and regain your energy" lecture, she topped it out. It would be another very weird day for us yet on Minki.

The following morning Lisa woke me up and said how the temps were perfect for "Minki" and that I should get up and go. She already had a strong black tea made and offered to drive, carry the pads, and spot me until I finished it. No pressure Lisa.

After a few hours of falling off the powerful and awkward crux, (see: move from my photo into Lisa's "knee-bar into toe-hook, double-undercling-pinch match), I got a good "you need to rest" lecture from the all knowing sender of this thing. Then the weirdest thing happened? The sound of a freight train appeared to be coming around the boulder to us?

Bees. Honey Bees. Africanized Honey Bees. Killer Bees! By the tens of thousands, in a grey cloud so thick, it looked like smoke. It was the wildflower season for the Alpha-Farms and they were on the move. Within seconds the first bee landed on Lisa's bright pink tank-top. A pink that perfectly matched the fields of flowers that surrounded us. She panicked as we both froze solid. I figured it was an optimal time to share my Discovery Channel knowledge of Killer Bees. "Lisa, don't touch it, and don't run. These bees can put out a pheromone that will attract the entire colony to attack you." I told her. She decided anyway that we were to run in 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2...."Wait!" I said, "One more try on Minki!" Before she could say anything I pulled into the problem.

I remember her eyes as big as silver dollars. I didn't have time to hear her say how "this isn't a good time." This was as good a time as any if we are going to die soon! The bees were getting closer and some were landing on the holds of the problem. In agonizing fear I cruised through the crux and skipped the knee-bar rest on the way to the finishing dyno. There just wasn't the time. I jumped from the boulder and we took off in full sprint for the car a 1/2 a mile away. I could feel phantom feelings of bees crawling under my clothes but I laughed the whole way! We got to the car in 2 minutes, locked the doors, and proceeded to flick-off our impending doom. I had already forgotten sending my hardest problem to date 2 minutes after doing it, and Lisa never wore the pink tank-top again. True story.

photos: Keith Ladzinski


sock said...

i likes this story muchas

chuffer said...

Nice work. You have many great stories from Africa. I look forward to reading more.