Once conditions had got a little better i decided to get stuck into something properly hard. Kheops is an absolute classic compression problem, and one of the most “font style” font problems out there. It involves so much more than power with an almost unfathomable move, swooping from a terrible left hand sloper up to a right hand sloper with the footholds all in the wrong place. Making the distance is only half the story, the sloper has to be hit in exactly the right spot just as your body comes to a standstill. Too fast and the move becomes wild and out of control, too slow and you have no chance of even making the distance.
I’d had a few goes on this move here and there on this trip and the last and i could hardly pull on. The problem felt desperate and I thought id never do it. I decided I should try it properly in good conditions to give it a real chance. I waited until the sun was setting one evening. The left hand sloper felt like a totally different hold and I began to make progress, sticking the crux move and climbing to the top a couple of times.
Next session I did the crux move a couple more times, and started trying it from the bottom. This only adds one move, but seems to massively reduce the percentage of an already low percentage move. I failed again, but I realized it was on.
I knew that linking it would be completely down to conditions, provided I had good skin and was well rested. With the latter 2 under my control I kept my eyes on the weather and settled on a night session to maximize the cold. After a few weak warm up goes I was hitting the sloper. Too high, too low, too fast… strangely this constant failure wasn’t fazing me as I knew that one go it would work. It did… and then I fell off after sticking the crux! Classic. I still knew I had it in me and kept my cool. Within another few goes it was done, topping out into the darkness – saved my by trusty spotters moving the lamps so I could see the top holds.
After this mini siege I decided to take it easy and climb some easier stuff (also the other problem I really wanted to try was constantly wet or just too hot). I managed the underrated vague patatras, and the highball toutes pien confondues – amazing how different these felt when 15 degrees cooler after initial failings.
That was that. A bit of a frustrating trip as I didn’t get to have a go on my main objective but still, I did some very good problems and feel like I learned a lot. Also my finger seems to be loads better.