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Mind Control

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Here’s what happened the day I sent Mind Control (8c+, 34) at Oliana in Spain.

Before I started up the route I questioned why I was even having another attempt, my first attempt was average to say the least and I felt embarrassed, I felt “so not in the league” to be even trying something so hard. “Open your eyes Monique”, I thought, “look around you, climbers are crushing hard routes without much ado and you’re faffing around on the start of something beyond your ability”. Oliana has become somewhat of a testing ground where climbers come to pitch themselves on hard routes, a place of high hopes, where dreams are made or broken. Oliana makes me feel humble, sometimes too humble and I stop believing in myself. This self-dialogue has got to stop and I’ve got to be positive. I change my mindset and as soon as I tie into the sharp end I am focussed, not for a send, for a training burn just to see just how far I can get. This would at least give me a marker for which to improve on with future attempts. My goal was to make it through the lower crux and make it to the hole, the halfway point of the hard climbing.

My rationale for having another attempt that day was quite simple. The route was free, it usually has a line up at least three people deep, this time however there was no one waiting = no pressure = I could work it as much as I liked. I had no skin but tomorrow was a rest day so there was no point saving it for later, saving it for what? There was no later. The weather forecast said it all, over 30mm of rain was due on the following Tuesday, it was Thursday and this would give me three days of attempts. From previous trips I knew that once the tufa on Mind Control gets wet it stays wet for a very long time. Even on this trip I’ve waited two weeks for it to dry out, so that I could try the route, and today it was totally dry, it wont get any dryer than that. So what are you waiting for Monique? Stop your whining and get on with it.

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I picked my way through the lower 7c (27) section and made it to the first rest without problem. I rested for a bit, probably not as long as I would if I were really having a red point attempt. I was grateful that I hadn’t abandoned my t-shirt on the ledge lower down, the breeze had picked up but I was not cold.

With no expectation I set off, it was 30 moves up the ‘runway’ with only two quick shakes to make it to my goal of the day. If I could do that I would be ecstatic, I’ve only made it past the hole one other time. Two days ago I’d reworked my sequence up the second part of the ‘runway’, more moves but higher percentage. I hadn’t linked it yet but I knew it was better than before because I could at least repeat it consistently. In the flow of the moment I somehow managed to make it through the first section up the ‘runway’ and then power screamed my way through to the hole. Yahoooooo! I was so ridiculously pumped and graciously happy at the same time. I’d achieved my goal. I was completely thrilled. Some people had been yelling encouragement to me as I was climbing the last hard section and while I was resting at the hole I remember thinking, “don’t bother watching anymore, I’ll be here for a long time and I’ll most likely fall off the next move”.

I kept going and going and going, I wont bore you with a blow-by-blow detail, even though I’ve already taken enough liberties with that. I never once thought that I would make it to the top, remember this was a training burn and I was pumped beyond belief. I don’t know why I was still “on” the climb. I stuck the upper drive-by move, clawed my way to the next hold, power screamed every time I changed my grip in order to shake, got a little something back, set off again completely pumped, remembered my sequence to stick my left hand on nothing and bunny hop my left foot up, got to the next hold, thought OMGness I am still “on”, just keep climbing, remembered that my right foot goes on that downward sloping piece of rubbish but just go with it anyway, got to the top of the tufa completely blasted, still not entertaining any thought of getting to the top, I was just wondering where I would fall off.

My last draw was meters below me and I only had four more moves to go. With blurred vision and pumped out of my mind and body – I never believed I could feel so blasted and still be climbing, well not climbing actually only just hanging on like velcro to the rock. What happened next was automatic, left hand side pull, left foot back step on tiny tufa thingy, right hand switch to thumb crimp on top of tufa, left hand launch to high pocket, think OMGness I’m still “on”, right foot on tufa, push hard to high right undercling, foot swap through to gain left clipping hold. Clip draw, blink, realise that rope has dropped out of the undersized quickdraw (obviously not BD) because my finger stopped the gate from shutting. Think, “oh shit what do I do now?” Move position. Move position again. Whatever you do don’t panic but go back to original position because the other position isn’t doing it for me. Think, “can I clip it again or do I grab the anchor?” Clip draw again, move finger out of the way so that rope does not get pushed out this time. Scream. Scream. Scream again. Punch the air. Scream. Wahooooooo!

I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Days later… I am still on a high.

Thanks so very much to everyone who has supported and believed in me!

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Monique Forestier, Mind Contrtol (8c+, 34), Oliana, Spain.

 

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Tiger Cat tamed

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If you have read my last blog Taming a tiger then you would know that I have spent some time trying a route called Tiger Cat graded 33 (8c, 5.14b). It is located here in the Blue Mountains, so I did have an advantage of the route being close to home at least.

It’s been a long journey but I am very pleased to say that two days after Christmas I finally tamed that tiger. Either I did or didn’t eat enough xmas pud, either way, I’m psyched to have done Tiger Cat.

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The difference between sending Tiger Cat that day, as opposed to any of the other days that I made it to the final rest at the last draw, was, I don’t know. Puzzling, I think? I can say, that on that day I was fresh when I reached the last rest, this time I had got to there on my first burn of the day, and that certainly helps. But I know that other times I have reached the same point being even fresher. So what was it that made the difference that day?

I have been trying the route on and off for a few stints getting incredibly close each time before walking away from it. Be it because of injury, one of numerous trips away, or simply the six-month break over the winter. I had the route dialed but did I really want it? Perhaps I had already sent the route in my mind and I was just putting my body through the physical steps, I wasn’t hungry for the send. It’s possible that Tiger Cat had simply become a training route, and it’s true as I actually used it to train for Spain. Just recently I wondered if I wasn’t trying hard enough and so I made a conscious effort to really focus and switch my mind to send mode, not plod mode.

Had I become complacent? No, I don’t think so. It’s a bit of a juggling act between being fit, peaking, being rested enough, having familiarity of the route, remembering intricate sequences and body positions, being warmed-up enough but not blasted. Performing at your physical and mental limit is a hard thing to achieve, throw in other factors like weather, conditions, skin, school time limit and it is a hard balancing act indeed. But before I could strike that balance I needed to re-set several things:

Firstly, my training wasn’t translating to performance on rock. Training isn’t all about numbers, mileage nor performance outcomes, its about quality not quantity, it’s also about peaking and resting, patience. Previously I had been doing training in the gym. Be it bouldering, 4 x 4’s, building power or climbing continuously on the auto-belay at Villawood, where I was doing up to 40 routes in a 90-minute session. I could climb non-stop at a 90-95% pump threshold for a long time, awesome, but this approach didn’t exactly work for me on Tiger Cat. So I re-set and fine-tuned my training gains to realign with the climbing requirements for Tiger Cat.

Next, I had to be peaking but also be rested enough. Resting between climbing days is something that I am not good at, for me resting is boring. I knew that I had to be fresh to send Tiger Cat, meaning two days rest. But my brain says when you are idle for two days your fitness must be going backwards. This time round however I wasn’t going to listen to such nonsense and I didn’t bother trying the route unless I was fit, well rested and the conditions were at least half good. Re-set, I learnt again to settle the mind, to be patient when patience was required, and to convince myself that the hard work had already been done.

Further, I had to learn how to climb again in my own style. I realised that some of the training I had been doing had turned my climbing into a chug, chug, chug machine-like methodology where continuously climbing pumped was the goal. But this doesn’t work on redpoint. So I re-set and tuned in to my body to get my natural climbing tempo back to where it used to be. I practiced resting at crucial spots along the way and learned the pace required for this climb.

Finally, I realised that I needed to re-set my mind and concentrate on the task at hand. I found my mind wandering on several occasions, Tiger Cat is a long route (35m) and being present only half of the time wasn’t good enough. I needed to concentrate on every single move, climb in the moment, not thinking ahead of myself. Many times I had fallen because I thought I’d nailed the move, and I had, but my mind was racing ahead not where my body was, physically, at the time. The result was hanging on the end of the rope thinking, “what had just happened?”

You can say that being too critical and over analysing things can be destructive but at the same time I needed to consider what I did wrong and what I could improve on. Without this I was wasting my time and my belayer’s time. Lessons are learned from making mistakes if you care to try, care to fail and care to listen and learn.

So by addressing these points perhaps that is why I sent Tiger Cat that day?

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It was a quiet day at the crag, there was a gentle breeze and I had my personal head space, no one screaming at me just genuine encouragement from Simon. Almost silence, just me and the route. I listened to my body, rested when I needed to stay and went when I needed to go. When I got to the last rest I was pumped, but I tuned into where I was, and what I needed to do next. When I got the next left crimp I was strong, when I did the cross–over to the slot I was fresh, really fresh, not melting, this was a surprise I thought to myself. I launched for the throw and stuck it, still I wasn’t thinking that I had done the route, my mental alertness was thinking in the now, that was good. It wasn’t until I clipped the anchors that I felt it. Relief, freedom, excitement. “Waaahoooooo!” I’m sure all of Katoomba heard it.

All the days when I left the crag and had not sent the route, were all of those days worth it? You bet. Sitting back now, a week after the send, I am not thinking how great it was to tick another 33, rather, I’m thinking about how great it was to have completed a journey, overcome personal hurdles and to have maintained a strong belief in myself. It’s very satisfying to have seen this through to the end. To have closed that chapter in my life, it’s a nice feeling.

Thank you my friends at the cliff for the catches, laughs and great memories.


 

Taming a tiger

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It has been a frustrating year with my climbing, having had several injuries to nurse and overcome. I’m back into the swing of things now, getting stronger and building fitness again. And more recently I have been working Tiger Cat (33) at Elphinstone, the new super crag in the Blue Mountains. If you haven’t heard of Elphinstone then check out some info here. The route was established in Jan 2013 by local climber Lee Cossey and has had several repeat ascents by local strong guns and high flying internationals. But most notably by local female climber Andrea Hah who turned it into her first ascent of a grade 33, big congrats to her. Tiger Cat is 35 metres long and has three distinct cruxes for me, all of which are quite bouldery but do-able, the key is linking it all together.

Things have been progressing nicely, very close nicely, on many occasions nicely. But it seems when I get close on Tiger Cat I lose momentum for some reason or another; injury, bush fires, rain, trips away, etc… you get the picture. Yeah, I know, rolling out the excuses, but a good run at this thing without interruption will be welcomed.

 

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Falling off the last hard move on Tiger Cat again.

 

It’s a long route (35m), resistance style climbing and it has some nice rests. There is a lot going on in the brain and to forget one detail, one minor adjustment, at the critical moment, or to grab a hold wrong, means you’re outta there. You’re lucky to get more than two shots a day, depending on how spent you are or how far you get up the route, or how hot it is, etc. Conditions do help but it’s just a few critical moves where conditions make (or break) the difference.

It’s been exciting working a route at my limit so close to home. A luxury really, having such a mega-cliff just up the road, rather than on the other side of the world. I don’t know if that means I’m not trying as hard as if I were in Spain, for example? Or basically I just need to get stronger? The later most likely. I’ve always wanted to project a 33 in Australia, for 10 years, but there aren’t too many around here that really inspired, so I searched further a field. Now with this route being conveniently located, in my back yard, I’m super psyched to keep trying it and keep enjoying the process.

 

Kalbarri Gold

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Kalbarri Gorge is unworldly. Imagine slicing through the pristine air, a slit from head to foot, just enough to squeeze through to the other side, into a moment from the past, as you enter the gorge the brick red cliffs, the serpentining river and the cobalt sky do their wonderful reveal, your breath leaves you and your skin tightens as goose bumps rise. The only other place that has had such an impact on me was The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) and if you have been there you’ll know what I mean. Just being in the gorge is a privilege, a glimpse of something very special, a place that hasn’t changed for ages, except for a few chalked up holds, here and there.  A feeling of calm washes over you and life as we call it ceases to exist.

Its June already. Its panning out to be yet another one of those years where you vow, “I’m not going to let this one slip by”. But inevitably you find yourself stranded like a humpback whale frolicking in cold seas when the rest of your pod have migrated to warmer climes or climbs as the case may be. Last year, when winter’s icy fingers tightened their grip we escaped north to Queensland, this year we went west, you know just like the song goes…Go west life is peaceful there. We went as far west as we could possibly go before dropping into the Indian Ocean and boy was it peaceful there. Kalbarri is located some 600 kms north of Perth, its where the fishing rods outnumber the postage stamps for sale in the tackle shop come post office, and the local pelicans are obnoxious.

Here at our makeshift HQ; a typical holiday garden villa, with a typical screen door that squealed like a cat caught napping in the engine bay every time it opened and closed. It was here that our numbers doubled. We were joined by our northern comrades; Sam Cujes, Lee Cujes and John (JJ) O’Brien. It was to be a whirlwind three day climbing trip.

Motley Crew

Our mission was simple: to climb as much as possible in Kalbarri Gorge. We focussed on The Promenade – the most condensed climbing area with routes graded 24-29. The days were short and climbing time was precious, like gold, and many things tried to ransack our loot. The closure of the main road into the gorge meant that navigating the sandy 4WD track was tedious and annoying, much like sand in your cossies, but at least we had the place to ourselves.

Nice…Crankshaft (24)

It was a nice hike to get to the crag, a chose-your-own-adventure, negotiating between the upper and lower terraces that hugged the lazily meandering river. You could certainly shave minutes off by stashing your climbing gear at the cliff and if you minus a certain four and a half year old you could easily be done and dusted with your warm-ups in the time saved. In saying that I certainly have to acknowledge the tremendous effort that Coco put in, walking in, and out, of the gorge three days straight. She loved it!

Coco leads the way

On the weekend we were joined by Perth locals Brian Tan, Gesa and Jean-Phillippe Dumas.

Brian Tan on Look at the Bears (26)

Like pent up monkeys in the zoo the comradeship was antagonistic, the antics acrobatic and the energy endless only thwarted by waning daylight hours not lack of wanting. The rock, a fiery fine grained sandstone, which seem to ooze a lifeblood of its own, climbed magnificently well, offering up Mulinesque scoops and open handed madness alongside pinches, pockets and jugs that were bigger than those found in a Bavarian beer hall.

The pace was furious, so much so that by day three my A2 finger pulley was starting to whine. I like wine so I didn’t pay much attention to it and just kept climbing.

Nastly fingery crux on Homophobia (28)

Things came together; JJ, the master of funk managed to unearth undiscovered knee bars to send Root Canal (27) in an unlikely fashion, and I’m not talking about his clothes.

JJ on Root Canal (27)

Sam, stepped up and didn’t let Rattler (22) rattle her stylish cage.

Sam warming up on the route right of Rattler (22)

And Lee, well, he diligently picked his way through every route at The Promenade and sent them all — every single one.

Lee on Homophobia (28)

Meanwhile Simon happily fossicked away climbing and snapping some of the action.  I tried my new X4 Camalots out and went prospecting for some Kalbarri Gold (26) and found plenty. And Coco became a savvy little entrepreneur by selling us back our lunch and climbing kit… thereby collecting all the loot. Mission complete.

Kalbarri Gold (26)

Down at Margaret River (Margs) I ignored my finger further and managed to get a bit more climbing done in between sporadic showers. Just like a Chihuahua with small dog syndrome nipping away at my ankles, the rain and my niggling finger gradually wore me down. I guess we’ll have to come back and bring sunshine… and a less annoying dog.

WOW!

Thank you Rob Crowder for being so generous with your time and assistance. Thank you Anthony Brandis (CAWA) and the many energetic climbers we met along the way. Thanks for making our trip so memorable. Happy climbing…

Paciencia

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When is enough, enough? Is it wrong to want to push myself further, to explore my limits, to achieve something in my lifetime that I once thought was impossible? Is this wrong? No. I don’t think so. To me it’s a personal quest that I can’t explain. But perhaps you feel it too?

 

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”. Leo Tolstoy

“Venga Monique. Rah! Allez Monique. Rahh! Venga. Rah, Rahh, Rahhhhh!” Not much went through my mind as I fell from the top moves of Mind Control into the crisp evening air. It’s only a split second between ejection and when the boing of the rope takes hold. But memory of this moment was pure and simple, happiness. Not failure, or disappointment, but rather — wow, that was awesome! I was so excited and grateful to have had the opportunity to try something at my utmost limit. And to be climbing this route with utmost conviction was a remarkably rewarding experience for me. But I already knew that I wanted it over again. This was my final day and my final attempt on Mind Control (8c/+, 33/34) in Oliana Spain 2012. That trip I had succeeded on Fish Eye (8c, 33) and with a little time to spare I turned my focus to Mind Control. I spent one day working the route right through to the anchors and then, the very next day, the heavens opened and the top tufa remained wet. Regardless, totally infatuated by the route, I spent what time I had left working the bottom crux section, in preparation, in hope, just in case perhaps a window of opportunity would present, and the tufa would dry before we left. Indeed it did, with two days to go. It came down to the wire, last day, last shot scenario, but it was not to be.

 

Back home, confronting thoughts turned my mind against me. Whilst wishing that I were back in Spain my mind simultaneously concurred that climbing was a self-indulgent pursuit, that added nothing to society, and sucked up incredible amounts of time; time I didn’t necessarily have. The ‘responsible’ side argued for work and the mother in me wondered if a more ‘regular’ routine would be better for Coco. I had to be honest. When was it all going to stop – this climbing caper? How could I justify travelling back to my all-time favourite cliff in the world, when I had climbing available in my backyard? Could I find a balance, or a legitimate reason to return? I was racked with guilt but time dissipated such thoughts and along with a little udge from my friend Will Currie, I returned.

 

So here I am now, back at Oliana. We (Will Currie and I) have been sending and working several lines. Mind Control was initially dry when I arrived. However, I had promised myself that I would use the first weeks getting fit by trying other routes. I stuck to my guns and got some stellar climbing done. One route, Humildes pa’Arriba (8a+, 30), which can be described as the ugly duckling of the three lines that share the Mind Control start, was so enjoyable that it was a pity to do it. Next I tried China Crisis (8b+, 32), a long crimpy face climb, a great route but not exactly what I’d come to Oliana for, as it was somewhat reminiscent of the climbing that I’d get back at home. Very much my style, this route went down quickly.

 

 

Getting some mileage up on China Crisis (8b+).

 

 

Feeling out the moves on Full Equip (8b+) a reachier next door neighbour to China Crisis. Will sent Full Equip when he lost his place in the queue for Fish Eye (8c).

 

 

My bunny testing out her new ‘Croc’ shoes on the start of Mishi (8a).

 

After gaining some fitness I was eager to take my place in the queue for Mind Control, but my plan turned pear shaped. It rained. As I mentioned previously any bit of rain meant the Mind Control tufa would stay wet for a very long time. The weather has been testing me, over and over, with more and more rain, but still I remain unfazed. I am content because I have been trying another route, Humildes pa Casa (8b+, 32). Not just any route but in my opinion (and many would agree) the ‘King line’ of the cliff. Humildes pa Casa is impressive, a real line or more like a channel of bricks laid end to end for 20-meters, cement rendered and stuck to the cliff. Before it gets to the top however it tapers to a fin and incredibly at the same point a left hand tufa becomes available to ride for another 5-meters before the final crux arrives — some 50-meters up. This route has kept me absorbed. My mind is scattered throughout the route, brick pinching, side-pulling, lay-backing madness, with too many moves to remember the unforgiving sequences merge into craziness, a blurrrr…

 

Me practicing my brick-laybacking skills on the lower tufa of Humildes pa Casa (8b+).

 

 

Any way it was yesterday when I got to the top of Humildes that I glanced across at Mind Control and convinced myself that it could be dry, but alas it was not. More rain fell overnight and it won’t be dry again for weeks. Even Humildes pa Casa is wet now, and the reality is that I will not get the chance to finish many projects this trip. Yes it’s disappointing, I am frustrated to feel close to doing these extraordinary routes and then have to have to walk away. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Still it has been a fantastic trip. I tried hard and did a lot of great climbing. I love it here, the energy is contagious, I feel a part of a greater international family here. Can’t wait to see you all again next time!

 

 

The lovely Daila Ojeda gracefully mastering the spectacular line of Mind Control (8c/+) and showing what is possible.

 

 

Coco giving Chris a victory ‘soft punch’ after his send of La Dura Dura (9b+, 38).

 

 

Oliana, not only my favourite cliff, it attracts climbers from near and far.

 

 

PS. Special thanks to my new sponsor Climb On — for their hand creams that I used for breakfast, lunch and dinner and between each burn on this trip. Last year I had up to five fingers taped at any given time due to the splits in my fingers, but this year I had none of those problems. Thanks Climb On!

 

Climb UK cover

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My favourite climb, Tom et je Ris gets a little bit more exposure, this time on the cover of UK’s Climb magazine January 2013. In this issue the Editor in Cheif, David Pickford, talks about enticing lines and how they captivate and motivate climbers to strive to achieve their best. This is certainly one of the finest landmark lines that I have ever climbed and it took me on an incredible journey. I hope that you can find your own amazing line.

 

Miss Snowwoman

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What a beautiful surprise it was to wake up this morning to snow. Not the usual mushy, slushy wet stuff that hardly settles. This time round we were blessed with lots and lots of snow. The type  that goes crunch underfoot. Snow that sticks together and is perfect for building snowman or snowwomen. So that’s what we did. We built our very own Miss Snowwoman.

 

Coco and her new friend little Miss Snowwoman.

 

Happy Jam

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Here’s just a quick update on my crack project in the Grose Valley which I talked about previously. After a long spell from the route I finally got back on it two weeks ago. I was very pleased to send the route on my first day back on it and on my first redpoint attempt; the first pitch all on pre-placed gear. I had always intended to do this route in good style, for me that meant placing all gear on lead. And so, last weekend I returned to the crack and that’s exactly what I did; lead the route placing all the gear during my actual ascent. It’s certainly harder this way and definitely more satisfying but the point was to push myself on trad and do something I hadn’t done before.

As I said previously, “It may not present such a hard ‘tick’ to some but for me it was a personal challenge”. In the process of projecting this route I have achieved my goals. I wanted to become a more rounded climber particularly in trad and this was a great start. I needed to get more comfortable placing gear in strenuous positions, trusting these placements and then being prepared to take big whippers on the gear. I ticked all of those boxes, got scared, got scratched up (let’s say that my hand modeling days are over) but thoroughly enjoyed the learning process.

A few months ago, when I did the first ascent of this route (with one fall) I decided to call the route ORANGE JAM. It stands for Orsum Rock And Nice Gear Everywhere Just Ask Michael, but not to be. As for the grade, I think the first pitch (28m) is solid 27 placing gear on lead and the second pitch (36m) is about grade 19. It’s a beautiful route in a stunning location. I wish there were more like it.

Here’s a look at the beautiful crack.

Here’s a photo of the initial rack that I took down to try the route. In the end I used way less gear than this. For anyone wanting to repeat this route it starts in the corner just right of Slipstream (two new lower pitches to Slipstream have been added since the 2010 guidebook). And as you can see, there are many micro cams on my rack and you will require lots of these for the critical placements low down on the route.

 

 

Thank you Climb On for soothing my hands in between attempts.

Julbo

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I am very pleased to say that I am now sponsored by Julbo Eyewear thanks to Mont Adventure Equipment the distributors here in Australia. I’ve got to say they are bloody awesome!

The 120-year-old Julbo brand (originating in France) is at the forefront of multi-sport eyewear for all active outdoor pursuits and they have developed a line of  100-percent UV protective sunglasses for children.

Sunglasses for every walk of day-to-day life.

 

 

alagna

Whistling Kite

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The first time I heard about the route Whistling Kite (32), aka ‘The Kite’, located at Frog Buttress in Queensland, was a few years back through Duncan Steel, a local legend from Brisbane, who was working the line at the time and had kept me up to date with his progress. I clearly remember the day that he called to tell me of his success, I could hear the smile in his voice. Five years on I finally find myself at Frog and like Duncan I’m going through the motions of trying this wafer thin face climb. Like a slippery snake it’s hard to get a hold of it and it’s ever harder to keep a hold of it, you are either on, or you are off, there is no in-between. The bulletproof face is dead vertical with very few face holds making the climbing very much on the feet, extremely balancey, and uber technical. The climbing weaves its way up a shallow seam and you climb it by employing thumb presses, side-pulls, laybacks, a knee scum, some finger locks and strangely enough not by jamming it. ‘The Kite’ is predominately protected by natural gear, which is good when you can get it and would be very hard to place on lead. It also has three bolts where no natural pro is available and so the route has only been done with pre-placed gear. The sun hits the face early, 9.30am, shade is your friend, any bit of extra friction counts when using credit card edges.

I had been on the route four days, certainly making progress through the lower and upper sections, but the main crux, midway, still had me baffled. I only wanted to spend one more day on it to see if I could come up with a working sequence. Day five, fresh and with new skin, I went straight to the middle crux and dogged some moves. The night before I had thought of a new possible sequence and so put that to the test. It didn’t work the first time but as I got it sorted something was coming together. By the end of the session, not only had I climbed this crux I was making great linkages on the upper and lower sections. Game on.

 

 

Day six, I decided that I had to start leading the beast to sort out the clipping spots and to get my head around the falls. Let’s say it wasn’t my best performance and I only just managed to do all the moves and get to the top, once. My mind was shot but I was positive. It took me four more days of gradually linking more moves, pushing my high point higher, and higher, honing my sequence. Each time I was working out more finite details of body positioning, pull and hold with this arm, release with the other, trusting marginal footers, getting into a rhythm and remembering to breathe. This is definitely the most technical route that I have come across. It was a pleasure to work and very satisfying to unlock. Attempting The Kite chewed up my time and skin for climbing other routes. There are so many really awesome routes at Frog that I can’t wait to get back there next year.

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