Last weekend, a couple of my friends and I went to our local crag in Berkeley: Mortar Rock. Mortar is a single piece of volcanic rock with around 20 or so problems, variations, link-ups, and eliminates ranging from 6a to 8B+. What was meant to be a normal day at the crag became a send-fest of some of the hardest climbs there.
A Day at the Local Crag - Nick Bradley
After warming up on a few classics, I gave my longest project, Jungle Fever, my first go of the day. Jungle Fever is one of the most contrived problems I've ever seen, since you are forced to use small peanut-sized holds about a foot to the right of four jugs above each other. Something about this problem makes it notorious for being sandbagged. After about 10 hours of work over two years, Jungle Fever went down that first go of the day. For taking two years, it became the hardest damn 7B+ I've ever done. But then there was the sit, Full Fever 8A, which 3 goes later became my second of the grade, one week after my first! Later I sent a 7C called New wave 3rd go of the day, with a sit also of the grade 8A called The Kraken, which for now remains to be a project for me.
More and more strong climbers began to come in, and the psyche was getting high. Eric Sanchez, a strong climber I've known for as long as I've been climbing, soon after made quick work of an 8B he's always wanted to do called Chinese Connection, after 5 or so attempts that quickly caused a few split tips, making it his first of the grade. Jeremy Koehler sent New Wave as well, and made progress on the sit, while Ben Polanco decided to try to "send Mortar," and do as many of the hardest climbs there as he could, including Don't Worry Be Snappy 8A+, and The Kraken 8A.
Not bad for a small crag like Mortar Rock. It seemed like the 15+ people there kept the psyche for sending high, which resulted in one of the most successful days there. Soon to come: The Kraken 8A, Mission Impossible 7C, and Yellow Thumbs 7C+.