Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Battle of the Spiders...

Enjoying my chill mini trip to Lions Head

             What have I been up to the last 3-4 months? Well, I pulled a classic Joe 2 or 3 months ago and injured my pulley yet again (10th time? But, who's counting here?). I was truly sad about this injury because I was in the best shape of my life. I trained so hard to get to that level and you lose it all in one second. I hate myself for it, but I never take time off after a injury. I took 2 or 3 days off and then went back to light climbing.
            Forcing myself to do light climbs let me enjoyed climbs I never would of jumped on before because my mind is too focused on PROJECTING. One two months ago I decided to go on a 9 day trip to Lions Head with my buddy JT. The trip was epic! We did climbs from 5.7-5.11+ the first 3 days! I have to give a shout out to a route called "Main line"; a 5.10-, which is a must do. This route has no anchors with one fun run out, which JT and I found out the hard way, but luckily after I topped out the climb I found a few friends at the top, which made a anchor for us.
Our rest days were full of playing tennis with the locals and cooking our famous chili. To this point of the trip it has been very relaxing, but I just had a itch that I needed to scratch.  The only solution was touching some classic hard climbs.
            My finger was still very tender to touch, but I decided to jump on Golden hour and Grey Matter, which are 5.13b and C. I fought through the pain and ended up completing both climbs. I was surprised I could do both in one day since I thought I would have lost both strength and endurance as a result of my injury.
            Where did these secret powers come from...? Travis? God? Tommy? One of them for sure. 
            For the most part I never told JT how hard I was climbing because I didn't want him stopping me from jumping on climbs. After I came down from both of those climbs JT said, " Those 5.12's seem easy eh?". I just laughed and said they were not 5.12's Jt... At the end of the Trip JT sent a route called "Lord of the Flies" 5.11+! It is always amazing seeing a friend go from struggling on a route, to doing every move to perfection! Great Job Jt!
            Near the end of the trip I tried a route called "Titan" 5.14a. This route is broken down to two sections. First half is very powerful  overhang/crimpy route(5.13D), which leads into slab(5.13-). Yet again, to my surprise I did 3/4 of the route on my second go. I ended up working this route for two days. I fell twice at the last slab crux, which I want to blame my half size too big shoes for. If am allowed to do that, (Editor's Note: No, you are not) then yes, it was my shoes fault.
Now back to some local climbing at the "Hood". I bolted a route at the Hood during the winter and was surprised that I found a gem under all that choss. Due to the very long and cold winter I only had a chance to try this route just before my injury. I figured out 3/4 of the route, but came to a point of the climb where holds repeatedly broke off. This was extremely frustrating as I  would put hours into working out a sequence, only to have the hold break off in the end.  I deemed the route to be too hard for myself and found new beta that leads into another route called "Deep Six"  just left of the project after the 5th bolt.

The Open Project at the Hood- 5.14+

This is where the battle of the 8 eyed monster's comes in. Tommy and I arrive at the hood  yesterday and noticed something is just not right and why are there no bugs at this swampy area? Oh right! The Spiders ate them all and have become Giants!  The open project had no spiders on the climb, but poor Tommy had 10 mammoth spiders on his route. The good friend that I am (Editor's Note: Questionable), I decided to go up the project and lower off onto Tommy's route to kill all the Spiders.
            Honestly, I'm not that scared of spiders, but I was up against giants and was horrified. When I knocked these gross monsters into the stream of running water, we thought they had to be dead, right? Well, we guessed wrong. Tommy shall regale us with this terror that besieged us.
There slowly taking over the Hood...
One of the Small ones...

         "The sun was shining, birds were singing, perfect harmony was about to be reached. It was about that time a chasm opened in the face of the cliff and out crawled one million spiders, each bigger then the last. And the first one was pretty big. So, that's saying something. Truly this was a menace that had to be encountered with courage and moxy. Fortunately, I'm full of the stuff and Joe happened to pick up some moxy that morning at the market. 
            As Joe previously explained he rapped off of “Deep Six” in order to cleanse it for me. Cleanse is a broad term as it should generally calm and appease those that are in need of aid. When one decides to bombard his climbing partner with eight legged bombs from the sky it is easy to find out why our relationship is now less then amicable. Fortunately I was able to evade the parachuting devils and watch them fall into their watery abyss.
            Truly though, these things were out of a horror story. The biggest I've seen from the area and they were on every crimp and tucked into every pocket. Had they had venom my body would   have been coursing with it had Joe not saved the day.
            High fives, champagne, and medals of honour were all passed around when Joe finally reached the ground. We exchanged our war stories and individual battles, and soon I was ready to climb. Or, so we thought...
            We could not feel it.
            We could not smell it.
            This beast, was a silent killer.

            Surely the biggest of them all. Where all others had eight legs, it had 27. Fangs fell from its mandibles and dragged along the earth. The scratches leaving an eternal reminder for all those that may pass that death does indeed exist and it rules this land. Web stickier then any climbing shoe, and eyes that peered into your soul.
            Just as I took my first step towards the rock face the sky fell black as we were eclipsed by the giant spider, now referred to as, Arachnacanus Rex, as he made his way up from underneath the crash pad towards us.
            It must have knowingly watched its brothers and sisters fall in sacrifice for their great plight. Now it was time. Time for revenge. Revenge time. Oh, yes.
            Two things screamed very loudly (it must have been the native Red Tailed Screaming Swallow mating season) while Joe and I held our tempered composure without question.
            27 legs are great. They allow for agility, fancy tap dancing, and abject terror. I however have feet on my legs (FACT – Spiders don't have feet. Or toes. Pretty sure.).
            My feet were a feat that could not be reckoned with that day. After a courageous act of obliterating my enemy to smithereens (as one is want to do when 50 times as big as your enemy and has vast resources and technology -such as feet- that your enemy could never retain or understand) a calming air was about us. The sun shone once more, and the only memory of the great ordeal was found on the bottom of my shoe. "

            After this killing spree I jumped on the link up project and sent the open project! I named the route "First Love" 5.13+, but took another look at the straight up variation. I figured out new beta for the straight up variation and will be gunning for that first ascent and would love to call this one "True love" 5.14+
I'm glad to be back in the game and writing about my climbing adventures.

Thank you for reading Tom's and my near death experience =)

Joe Skopec/Tommy Nestman