Well, Saturday's trip to the Concave was a success! I was able to make the 3rd ascent of Southern Comfort 5.14a on my second go of the day (5th go overall). It was a little bit chillier out than our last visit, which made for nearly perfect conditions.
After warming up I jumped on SoCo to try to finish it up. I had been thinking about the climb for the past two days I was nervous starting out. I knew I was overgripping everything but couldn't stop myself from doing so. I felt pretty good up until the 3/4 mark but then the dreaded pump started to creep up on me. I tried hard but ended up falling at the last stopper move AGAIN! I ended up doing the move a couple times on the hang to get it a little more dialed. I sat for about an hour before giving it another go.
My first go jitters were gone and I was much more relaxed this time around. I cruised through the bottom part of the route and found myself staring at the last move. Almost on autopilot I crimped hard with my left hand, pulled hard with my toe, and focused hard on the last move. This time everything clicked and I found myself at the anchors.
To be honest, I'm pretty psyched to have this one done with. I really didn't want to make it a habit to fall on that last move over, and over, and over again.
Usually I'm really psyched about sport climbing after a winter of bouldering and this time around it isn't any different. After the initial shock my body went through after not doing anything endurance oriented for a while, it felt good to route climb again. I really enjoy the challenge of route climbing. Instead of just throwing myself at a few moves until I (hopefully) do a problem, I really like the route climbing process... pacing myself, learning a route, and eventually keeping it all together to link the entire route. This one route climbing experience has taught me that I am a MUCH better route climber than I am boulderer. It just suites me better I guess. Bouldering has always been hard for me and I think it will always be that way. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up just yet! Nope!
Actually, I don't really have any more plans to route climb until next year. I really just plan on bouldering until Hueco. Part of the decision to focus on bouldering is because of my Hueco trip. It always takes me a long time to get into good bouldering shape so I figured that instead of route climbing, losing my bouldering game, and then trying to get back in shape right before Hueco, that I'd just stick with it and see how it plays out later this year. Another reason for my new focus is that I really want to come back into route climbing next year stronger than I have been in the past. There are a few routes I am really looking forward to trying and pure endurance isn't going to cut it. Hopefully the strength from bouldering will transfer over nicely to the routes I want to climb in the near future.
Some RaNdOm shots of the pups...