Friday, August 16, 2013

Roadtripping, back in Cadarese

It seems that Cadarese has become our spiritual home. Well, not really, but we still had some unfinished business.

The thing is, I wasn't the only one with hard crack projects. Anu was working on Mustang (8a), and now it was her turn to make some serious tries to the route. I'm not a big fan of long term projecting, (especially when belaying) but seeing someone pushing herself, both physically and mentally, was inspiring to watch.

While pulling herself out of the comfort zone, Anu took dozens of uncontrolled falls, up to 7 meter, sometimes head first, and literally on every piece of protection.

For some reason, Anu seemed to be pissed off because she felt she was not bold enough to do the route. All I could say was that taking some nasty falls to a blindly placed ballnut is something that most of the badass trad climbers have never experienced. Also, ripping a piece of protection on this route means you have a good chance of hitting the ledge under the overhanging crack. The first ascent of Mustang was done with pre-placed gear, which tells something about the difficulty of gear placements.

But Anu wasn't just falling. Well, of course she fell on every try, but surprisingly, she did some climbing as well. She fell twice from the very last move. The last move is really not that hard, but when you have nothing left, you have nothing left. How close can you get without sending?

Days went...Too much trying, not enough resting, Anu got mentally stronger and physically weaker. There was need for a longer rest, so we drove to Simplon Dorf, Switzerland. Anu being a belay-bitch for three days sounded like a plan. For me anyway.

After a few days of superb sport climbing (for some...), we were back in Cadarese. Home sweet home. I thought Anu would have time to take some tries, rest for a few days and try again. Weather forecast said something else. The next day was probably the last day with Mustang, then it was going to rain for days, and anyway we would have a ferry to catch.

Now or never... Anu must have felt the pressure. I know I did. I don't think I have ever been so stressed before a climb. And now I was just belaying. 8a trad route for Anu was kind of a big deal.

Anu started to climb... the easy hand crack in the beginning looked easy. Well, of course, it is easy. Then she placed blindly two c3's...a ballnut...when she tried to pull the ballnut tight, it just slid down. Another try... again... fuck! Another try... knowing it was not going to be a good one, she just clipped the rope and continued. On Mustang, there isn't time for this. You have (or I had) about one second for putting the gear in, another for clipping and then you really have to keep on moving.

I tried to shout some “Come on, you can do it”-crap to encourage her, but she told me to shut up. Anu knew every move, every piece of gear and most importantly, how to fight to the end.

Mustang (8a). As far as I know, this is the hardest trad route ever done by a Finnish female climber.