Group discussion this morning was on the mental game. What are those self limiting beliefs that are floating around in your noggin which are stopping you progressing your climbing? How might they be serving you? How can you change them? Fear of falling may be in there, but often it's only a part. What about expectations? What about worrying what others think? So we discussed the importance of training mental toughness, why falls are a non-avoidable ingredient in climbing progression and some strategies we can use to reduce anxiety and truly enjoy the act of climbing on lead. This is the good stuff! Love it. [If this is stuff you're interested in, there's a couple of good books (like this and this) or you could join us sometime and get hands on.]
So, after me scrounging builders rubbish to build a bosun's chair (pic of field testing below), we jumped in the car and blitzed to Ghost Kitchen. GK offers some quality vert walls, gently overhung tufa madness, and the best warm down slabs on the island.
This would also be the crag we would test out our new CU belay glasses. Guaranteed to make you look like a Professor of Belaying (PBe) and a complete dork, these unusual prism-based glasses allow you to see directly upwards without tilting your head. This allows you to watch your climber while maintaining a relaxed stance. It's a tradeoff of fashion sense versus neck pain. Verdict: crystal clear and pretty awesome. 2011 edit: Upskill Climbing is now the official distributor in Australia! Buy here!
Dave and Ruth reaquainted themselves with Joy In The Garden 6a after Andy's onsight while Lena and Ronsley did Achilles 5c+. Warm ups over, I belted up the main wall and commenced hanging from my fencepost with the camera. Andy was up on the sweet Remember Wadi Rum 6c which just has the most crazy tufas and blobs.
It was a valiant onsight attempt, foiled with a slip of the foot on the finale, resulting on Andy wizzing down the tufa curtain. Second shot there were no such mistakes. Tick tick for Andy "I'm a delicate flower" Lightfoot! Dave got inspired by that effort, and girding himself in his Upskill kneepads, he proceeded to knee his way up the route. It was rediculous the amount of solid kneebars he found! He was however overcome by the unusual outtro sequence and took flight. By this time the sun was on the wall and a second try was off the cards.
Dave, Ruth and Lena enjoyed the nearby Delta 6a+, and my vantage point out in space on my fencepost afforded me some unexpectedly good angles and I snapped some great shots like this one of Lena. Perhaps my fave shot of this trip so far?
We then headed down to the "skateboard slab" which hosts some great very slabby, smooth and pocketed slabs. One day I'll bring a skateboard and see if it's possible to drop in and ride it out on abseil. I slammed the draws up on Persephone 6b in my sneakers (my new hobby; 7a is my best so far), and nearly everyone climbed it clean I think. Lena absolutely killed it on the slabs, with first try clean topropes of Parasitos 6a+ and Zyklop 6a+. Sam flashed Zyklop which was notable for it's un-Kalymnian-runout-ness.
And then came Serena. "6b? I'm calling bullshit on that!" Dave had been spat off the top section of this awkward number on the last camp. Rematch time. Using good tactics ("Nah mate, I won't ruin your onsight!"), he sent Andy up to put the draws on. With his reach like a sick dog, Andy grunted his way through the overhang and with difficulty, got himself into a position to clip the anchor. Draw on. Pull rope. Go for clip. Fumble. Draw swinging. Try again. Fumble. Swear. Draw swinging in a mocking, "you can't catch me" manner. More swearing. Final scathing stare at the anchor. Fall. Noooooooooo! It was in the bag!
Suitably padded up, Dave jumped on, cruised the slab and engaged the steepness, finding some no-hander kneebars. Up in the business, Andy passed on the crucial beta "Stick your arm up there like you're helping a cow give birth!" Dave had clipped the final bolt then started to gibber. ("I only had about five seconds left!"). He then somehow wrangled double kneebars which gave him enough juice to clip the tricksy anchor. Yeah boy! What will you be doing at 60? :)