After 5 weeks of clinging to sandstone mini jugs and getting pumped out of our minds in the Red River Gorge, my partner Tom and I have moved on to another classic American sport climbing destination: Rifle, Colorado. Making the transition from typically easy route reading and grippy rock in the RRG to the cryptic beta and polished limestone in Rifle was not an easy one. I envy the climber with the talent to immediately evolve and feel strong and accomplished when switching between such drastic styles.
My first day in Rifle, I lowered off of multiple routes grumbling to myself, "This rock is disgusting, this place sucks, I suck." Such negative self-talk was not the perfect way to start our month long stay here in Rifle. However, over the past week, I am beginning to figure out how to climb here in Rifle. Whereas the Red was a perfect area for onsighting and gaining wicked endurance, Rifle is the complete opposite. Projecting, redpointing, and power-endurance rule here. As I begin to let go of my comparisons between the RRG and Rifle, I am beginning to enjoy this area more and more. Many of my hardest sends to date are on limestone routes from my home crags in Alberta, and while it differs a lot form the limestone here in Rifle, I am beginning to relish the idea of projecting a hard route here. I have a number in mind, but time and route sampling will tell what I will settle on. For now, I am enjoying trying a number of the lower end 5.13 grades. I was successful on Vision Thing (5.13b) the other day, giving me some hope that perhaps I can conquer a few hard routes here before our next destination.
The road trip thus far has been incredible. Making this switch between such drastic styles from the RRG to Rifle has shown me just how much can be learned from spending a lot of time on the road and climbing as much as possible. I hope I can continue to make gains in my climbing abilities and learn to be a more diverse, creative climber as a result.
Check out my blog: www.vikkiweldon.com for a wrap-up post about the RRG and upcoming posts about my road trip.