Saturday, April 25, 2015

Low Start to Fotowa 8a (v11) Project Sent!

My two season project, the low start to Fotowa 8A (v11, FA by Dave Theriault), has finally been accomplished.  I had a trip planned for the Red River Gorge and knew I had to get it sent before I put a solid week of sport climbing under my belt.  With that amount of time on endurance routes at the Red, I knew it would cut into my bouldering performance.  It was also a race against the onslaught of the spring weather conditions and I knew I would have only a few opportunities to get the send.

Winter taking over Great Barrington

Before the 4 month long winter freeze that forced my bouldering aspirations westward into Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas, I made decent progress on Fotowa.  I could make it from the low start to the thin rail crimp almost every time, but I couldn't pull the trigger on the v9 power move to the slot.  My left hand would blow off the crimp and take a chunk out of my knuckles each time.  There wasn't enough tape to keep the blood from flowing at times.  After countless trips and failed attempts, it was too late for the send in 2014; the Northeast was at the mercy of one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record.

Defeated and disheartened, I took to the indoors to train and to train hard.  Through my failed attempts, I learned my weaknesses.  I focused my energy on core training and explosive power development on thin holds.  For this, I utilized my favorite training regimen: the small campus rungs (training video to come soon).  The core training was more basic such as scissor kicks, leg lifts, and tons of crunches.

Back to training out the weaknesses.

Fast forward through 4 months of training, I was about 1 week away from my trip to the Red River Gorge.  A perfect opportunity came along for me to get out of work and head up to Great Barrington, Fotowa's home.  A few warm-ups in and it was go time for the day's purpose.  It didn't take long for my muscles to remember the sequence.  After about a dozen tries and some mental frustration I told myself only a few more attempts before I would move on for the day.  I told myself that if I get to the v9 rail crimp move that I would put everything I had into it and "leave it all on the table" so that I could at least accept failure knowing I put my all into it.  Except the last go was the best go and there was no more failure. 

It's such a great feeling to unlock a sequence and finally be able to let go of something that has become a borderline obsession.  There is an emotional attachment to something you have spent so much time an energy into working on.  Slowly but surely another route or problem will come my way that I will obsess over until accomplished.  I will keep doing this season after season until my body gives up.