We started with a group vote on where we wanted to go for the final four climbing days of the trip. Plans were made, guidebooks were consulted, and dates were made with dogs that had been left behind at various cliffs to date.
If you were playing along at home you know we went to Kalydna on day two. You'll also know that Owen, Andy and Susy found a friend for life in the 30m Nickel which is a 7a+ pitch which builds and builds to a stunning climax right before the anchors. It was billed as the main event for today. Well, long story short, Owen did it as his warm up (yeah, he does that). Andy, straight up. Susy? Second shot. Thank you very much, let's retire to the gelateria for tasty treats and frappes. No? Okay, more climbing.
|Andy starting up Nickel 7a+|
|Nickel don't know it yet, but Nickel goin' down.|
|Bo dispatching Kaly-Nikhla 6b|
|Susy on Kaly-Nikhla 6b|
|Susy on Kaly-Nikhla 6b|
|Bo loving life on Ixion 7a|
"How many draws?"
"Oh I dunno, take 25."
|Owen high on Aurora 7b. Telephoto lens, yo.|
|He's off! You can see the anchors up there. Bloody close!|
The second shot on the monster, I am sad to report ended in a fall from the same place, just shy of the anchors. Oh well, can't win them all. It's the effort that counts, and that was a biiiiig effort. Project for next time OG?
The team was mostly cooked by this stage except for Susy who was keen to head around to Iannis for more...more...MORE!
|There are two climbers in this picture.|
Iannis is a small sector with about 10 worthy pitches. The one that grabbed Susy's attention was one of the vertical wall routes on the right side of the cave, the near 40m Sens Unique 7a. A technical and absorbing challenge. At one point on the vertical wall, I looked up to see both her feet slip off the holds at the same time. For some reason she didn't fall, reasserted, and kept climbing. She was completely in the zone! Soon came the seemingly inevitable clip of the anchors as the sun hit the wall, and Susy's best ever onsight, a 40m 7a/23/5.11d.
Upon lowering down I went over for obligatory USA-style congratulatory fist bump and got the low down. Out of her chalkbag came her "cliff notes" which were reminders of things to concentrate on which we had unearthed during one of our video analysis sessions (if you haven't watched a vid of yourself climb, do it!). They included a handful of points like...
- Visually assess the hold options first - don't feel each one
- Make a choice and go - don't hesitate!
- Move dynamically and with confidence
Susy said this made a huge difference. Not only did it front-load her brain with the right kind of thoughts, having something technical to focus on actually removed some of the pressure over the possible outcome of the ascent. Hence, a more relaxed, yet focused climbing approach. And a personal best onsight!
|We weren't the only ones buzzing.|
What? Too much?
The ever popular Spartacus hosted our eighth day of climbing.
Andy, Susy and Owen got psyched on the bouldery, pocketed, short wall of Alexis Zorba which was always 7b and has been downgraded in the current guide, like most of the popular routes on the island it seems.
|Susy on Alexis Zorba 7a+|
Owen came away with the tick (nice!), Susy was too afraid that a fall at one point would end with her fingers remaining forever in a curious finger-locking pocket, and after working out all the moves, Andy ended up lying on a rock with stomach cramps. Bummer!
Susy had her eye on one of the crag classics Kerveros 7a since the first trip. It's a long, tufary (it's a word), pumpy beast which demands respect. She promptly tied on and went straight up the thing! She's on fire.
|Bolt type: Tru-bolt. |
Problem: the nuts come loose over time and the hangers fall off.
|Bolt type: 12mm Flushhead Dynabolt. |
Why good? No problem with nuts loosening, and easier to replace.
Anyway, because we're Australian, a removable bolt bracket is never far away and thanks to Bo we had a hanger we could use, and she even managed to find the nut on the ground beneath the route. So I managed to hang off a two finger pocket and do the re-assembly.
|French crusher of the future Sasha resists my attempts for an autograph.|
Bo managed a run up the 35m Le 13eme travail d' Hercules 6b+ before calling it quits and retiring back down the hill with Gutache Andy, so this gave me some time for an attempt on the epic Spartacus Maximus which takes the 25m 7b+ crag namesake Spartacus and stacks on a 20m extension to make a huge 45m pitch at the grade of ... still 7b+? Hmm! It was great having the draws on the whole way and I fought my way through for the redpoint/onsight/flash/whatever-you-want-to-call-it (I'd previously flashed Spartacus years ago but it was my first go on the extension). So I was mighty happy with that. Love the long pitches!
|Spartacus 7b+, rockin the new b+n shirt.|
|Sam and Owen chat on the way down to the gelateria :)|