I’ve managed to make it back up to the Red River Gorge the last couple weekends. Last time I checked in via my little blog post I said that I had been trying a route at the Chocolate Factory called Pure Imagination 5.14c. To recap my previous post, I found out after my first couple of attempts that the route is HARD! Small tic-tac moves on small holds was a style I used to excel at. Now, however, this style of climbing feels strange. It took me a few tries for my body to start to remember how to climb this way again, but once it did the route seemed to get much easier. After a couple more sessions on the route I’m glad to say I’ve put this one to rest! Completing Pure Imagination is a nice way to end out my sport climbing season at the Red and I’m glad I was able to complete it before the warm summer temperatures set in!
I know reading about every move on a route or boulder problem can be boring but I find it interesting to see other people’s perceptions of a route. Maybe some of you do too! For that reason I figured I’d do a little breakdown of the route for those who are interested…
Pure Imagination breaks down into 4 sections for me. They go as follows:
Section 1: An easy 5.10+ section leads directly into the main crux of the route which probably weighs in around v9 or so. After transitioning from easy jug climbing to some smaller holds you are immediately faced with two small, sharp holds, which make up the crux boulder problem. Here, you must grab a small sidepull/pinch with the pinky, ring, and middle fingers with your right hand, walk your feet through to the right and fall into the second crux hold. This second crux hold is a strange, sharp, and uncomfortable crimp that you have to catch as you fall out of the wall in order to move your feet up rather high. From there you have to really bear down on that sharp left hand crimp and stab into a crimpy gaston seam. I fell on this move repetitively from the ground. After grabbing the gaston, you move your feet yet again and fall into a massive jug where you can recover before moving on to the remaining sections.
Section 2: Some easier, yet pumpy climbing awaits you in this section. Good feet and small holds for 20 feet leads you to another shake spot. This rest isn’t nearly as good as the first but it allows you just enough of a break to compose yourself for the upcoming, more difficult section.
Section 3: Here is where the pump really starts to set in. Coincidentally, it is also where the dreaded redpoint crux awaits. Here you have to grab a really bad 2 ½ finger pocket with your left hand, do a series of bump moves to a nice crimp, and make a strenuous move to the final shake spot. This move creates a lot of stress because the pocket is really slopey and when you are pumped, it feels like a non-hold. When you are pumped you know you just have to grab the hold the best you can, know that it isn’t going to feel any better, and just commit to the sequence.
Section 4: After leaving a final rest spot, you have one more difficult bump move/redpoint crux type move that protects the chains. After completing this big bump move, you make another couple of moves to the finishing jug at the top of the cliff.
The route is essentially a V9 boulder problem to a 5.14a route. For me, once I climbed the first section from the ground without falling, I was able to climb the route to the top! I’m super psyched to have it in the bag!
Lately, I’ve been trying a route at the Bob Marley crag named Southern Smoke Direct, which weighs in at 5.14d. After some initial failures at doing the bottom boulder problem, I was able to figure out the sequence and have made some promising links. The other day I managed to link from the two crux holds in the beginning boulder problem all the way to the top of the route. Unfortunately, the warm weather has started to set in, making the boulder problem nearly impossible from the start. Cold temperatures are a must for this route due to the slopey nature of the holds that make up the bottom crux. I’m hoping that there is a random cold front that makes its way through the Red so I don’ t have to wait until this fall to go back and try the route! Hopefully I’ll get lucky…