My time at the Rocklands is coming to an end, and I feel sadness just from typing that sentence. Its been a crazy last few weeks; aside from the endless bouldering there's been so many new experiences as well! Braai-ing up the best ostrich and lamb meat, being welcomed into a very international community, meeting new friends, trying new foods, driving on the left side of the road, and somehow living without the internet have all been incredibly eye-opening. For my first time out of the country I've been told by many that I hit the nail on the head; South Africa really is a world-class climbing destination.
One of the many lessons I've learned is that a month in the Rocklands is just a warm-up for the sheer volume of quality climbing I've encountered. The style has fit me perfectly; textured rock, powerful movement, and a heel-hook in nearly every boulder problem. Aesthetic value comes into play with the bright red and orange rocks spread beneath a vast blue-bird African sky. I've found it to be very similar to Hueco's desert landscape, but much more lush and beautiful. The approaches are just enough to get the muscles warm and the boulders are more than enough for every level and ability. A trip highlight for me has been my send of Cedar Spine, an 18-20ft 7b+/7c highball that scared the crap out of me even with a 13-pad landing. I've done my fair share of highballs but this was close to my limit with the crux towards the top, so I really had to reach outside my comfort zone and enter that mental state of sendage tranquility. I didn't feel any joy or elation when I topped out, just a numb realization that I had even made it in the first place. The numbness warmed into sheer happiness and solidified into a new level of confidence that has helped me throughout the remainder of my trip. I tried so hard on Cedar Spine and really felt that I broke a mental ceiling, making me a stronger climber overall.
I'll be savoring the next few days, taking in the South African atmosphere and amazingness. I hope to remember my memories here for the rest of my life, but I'm also planning on coming back for new ones next year! Colorado is calling me and I do miss the Rockies, but I also know that I can call the Rocklands my home 10,000 miles away from home.
My next adventure will be to Salt Lake City in Utah for the summer OR show! I'm psyched to see all my friends again and reconnect with the American climbing community. See ya back on the other side of the world!