Stage 1 of the mega trip, which is within the US, is almost complete. I just finished a month in Hueco and am now sitting in The Looney Bean in Bishop, where I'll be for a little over another week before heading back home to Seattle. One month in Seattle, then Switzerland on April 24th!
As usual with Hueco in the winter, there is quite a bit to report from a month long stay. Definitely too much for one Five Ten blog post, so I'll cover some of the highlights. There's more detail on my Wordpress blog everythingispurple.wordpress.com.
My two main goals coming into the trip were to give a good flash effort on Diaphanous Sea and to climb Slashface. Unfortunately I accomplished neither of these.. My efforts were enough to satisfy my though! On Diaphanous, I was able to snag the good hold on the jump crux move on my flash attempt, and fell due to my left hand blowing off. Wish I could try to flash it again! I was able to clean it up with a few more good attempts from the bottom. On Slashface, my method was to keep the heel-toe cam after the big lock-off and piano my left pinkie in to replace my right ring finger in the crux slot. Once my fingers were in place, I would release the left heel and hold the swing. My method swaps a difficult lock-off match for a swing as the crux. From the match, I was able to hold the swing and put my feet back on to the wall at least 6 or 7 times without doing the climb! The route is certainly not done after getting both hands matched on the slot and getting the body in position for the next move, but the crux is definitely over for most people. What became the crux for me is that after i held the swing, my fingers would become wedged in the slot!! With my fingers wedged I couldn't pull my right hand out of the slot to get the next crimp. Quite sad that I didn't finish this one up, but it did feel good to consistently get through the most physically difficult moves.
Despite a few heartbreaks, it was definitely still a solid trip to the Tanks. Hueco Tanks is an inspiring and unique formation in the southern US desert and definitely worth seeing even for non-climbers. How sick is it that in so many cases climbing areas coincide with the best places to be!!! I also did walk away with a number of satisfying sends. My two favorites were Sol Adunamentum, which climbs into Fern Roof, and The Flame. The first one likely represents a new level of difficulty in any climb that I've sent before, and The Flame is a timeless classic, nuff said! I was also able to finish off The Flame by calling on my reserves at the end of a full tour day on the Spur on my very last attempt on a rock climb of my whole trip to the Tanks. Pulled it together and sent under pressure! Damn that feels good!
Unfortunately I don't have many good pics of myself, but I do have some of others to get you all psyched!