The Green Climbers is a pretty amazing little oasis in the middle of Nowhere, Laos. It is incredibly well set up an at the moment is fully booked. I have run into several people I have met before and it gives a level of comfort whilst travelling to know that others are on the same sort of journey to some extent. Others are just travelling dirtbags who just go out and crush every route they try.
At the moment there are three or four French guys here and they have flashed every route up to 7c in the big roof cave (a feature very unique in Thakhek and anywhere else come to think of it). There are some truly amazing humans on this little planet and watching some of them do what they love and do it so fabulously well is a great and inspiring gift. They are truly powerful both mentally and physically.
Today we climbed at a little sector called the Tree Lounge. All the routes were super cruisy, very vertical and most of all fun. Karine and I ticked half the crag in about two and a half hours and then we moved around the corner to Spielhölle. I had decided to step up my game a little and try to move through my self-sabotaging ways and get on something that was beyond me at the point in time. It was called Straight Flush, a steep and what looked like a very bouldery 7b+ (26). I needed to kick my arse into gear and start to try again.
Karine had already been trying super hard and succeeding well. She is climbing beautifully at the moment and it is great to seeker progressing at such a rate. Her technique is growing on a daily basis and she is mentally very strong and solid. She just simply decides to try something and goes for it. A great attitude indeed. I on the other hand struggle with all sorts of self-doubt, fear of success, fear of failure and so on. It is a fight sometimes even before I leave the ground.
I tied in and put on my shoes, looking up I felt very calm and motivated: it happens more often than not. Karine checked my knot and I checked the Gri gri (belay device) and we kissed. As I stepped up on to the rock I felt a sense of calm take over me and my focus was directed on one single objective, get the first bolt clipped. I was climbing a very nice and very smooth limestone slab. It was all there but very thin indeed.
As I moved up through the slab I could feel my heart starting to race as the moves became successively harder and the rock steepened. I was climbing very smoothly and I felt strong. My feet were pushing me onward and I was not wasting energy. As I pulled up to clip the fifth bolt I realised that I was two bolts from the top and hadn’t entered the crux yet. Feeling a little pumped I tried to rest and recovered a little.
Survey the last three metres of the route was a good mental recovery for me. I had a very long move to a 2cm deep two finger pocket, feet up and throw to a wide tufa pinch, drop knee into an undercling and then another pinch. I was now approaching the hardest moves I have ever had to make on rock (probably a V6 boulder problem) . I took several breathes and pulled up into the pocket. The strain and tension on my body was huge and I simply couldn’t hold on…………….I sang out “take!” and boom, off I came into space and my attempt to on-sight the route was over……I knew I couldn’t on-sight it in the first place, but you gotta try right?!………RIGHT!!!
After several minutes of stuffing around trying to figure out what to do I got the next quickdraw on and pulled into the final sequence. This alone was another 7a+/7b (24/25) section and I was smoked. It took me a good three attempts to get though the sequence and clip the anchors. Super hard, super bouldery and so much fun…….but it was so worth it.
After a good half hour rest Maurice and I went around and got on a route called Nid Toi Nid Noi 7a (23) in the big roof cave. 27 metres of steep overhanging fun. I fell off that at the crux too, but felt really good about my efforts on both routes. Sometimes its very true……….What doesn’t kill you definitely makes you stronger.
Its good to work hard and work through the mental injuries sustained through life – as it will only lead you to being all you can be.
Laugh loud, love long and climb hard! 🙂