Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Deliri Flagrante

Countering bad weather we have been climbing close to our fisherman's cabin the last days, while supposedly resting the fingertips and dreaming big-wall dreams.  I spent my time figuring out a tough sequence up a beautiful crack line in Ersfjorden, In Deliri Flagrante.  This was the first sport line to be bolted on the main Resekjerringa boulder by Leif Henning, sport-climbing son of another prominent first ascentionist on Kvaloya, Ben Johnsen.  I first started by underestimating the route and confidently went for a flash attempt that ended fast and furious at the start of the crux sequence.

Fun laybacking before the crux on In Deliri Flagrante

I next spent what felt like a couple of hours, abusing of the goodwill of Donald belaying me below, figuring out a very strange sequence for the crux.  First, after the pleasant laybacking and a decent rest, there is a nerve-breaking sequence to get up a small ledge.  My Amazon-warrior shout and a knee-pull-in  made short work of that.  However, next comes the real crux - from standing on the ledge one has to grab a good-sized undercling, get the feet high, and go for the next hold, finishing the route laybacking again an awesome granite flake.  Getting the key top undercling proved gruesome - although taller people just grab it from the ledge, making me feel totally foolish, powerless, and mainly short, I spent hours figuring out the foot sequence, despite having only three possible holds for the hands - a crack to layback, a right-hand sloper to crimp on, and a left-hand roof undercling to use.  There were around 10 possibilities for footwork, half on the left, and half on the right blank greasy walls above the ledge, every one of them heinously small, and the right-wall ones eating through the last rubber of my shoe.

After an hour of stubborn kicking, pulling, pushing, and grinding the skin off my fingers, I though I had a winning sequence.  That was before the next redpoint attempt, when pumped from the boulder move below, I realized the sequence was too hard, as I could not pull my right foot up the wall without a better rest.  Off I went again, trying out other ideas, moves, and sequences, hanging desperate in the cool Nordic air, and whispering to the trolls hiding among the boulders to share their knowledge, to inspire my footwork with a handy spell.  Just when I thought my technique on granite was good, just when I believed I could use my feet pretty well anywhere - came this  problem, this mystery begging for a solution I was shamefully lacking.  There I went, with another idea, another sequence: locking off the left hand, I could pull my feet up easier and get the undercling with my right hand.  Then I would just have to bring my feet up once more, and be done with it.

My tries yesterday were thus spent trying out this new solution - which to my frustration and fingers' doubled pain did not work either.  Bringing my left foot above my left hand in a lay-back position not only strained my neck out of control, but simply proved impossible after the stress of lower boulder move.  Really, time for short resistance training this autumn!!!  Thus, I stopped again, and preyed to the trolls, and female demons of the place, all those lonely-eyed and dirty-haired creatures of the forest, and blueberry-eating cave-hiding others, to give me ideas, to fertilise the barren soil, the tired skin of my hands, the stretched tendons of my fingers.  Off again, diving deep into my "creativity" shop, I managed to come up with another solution again, so simple, yet so contrived.  Instead of trying to pull my left foot so high up, why not simply leave it down, in an "inverted drop-knee" style, and dynamically grab the undercling with my left hand at that point?  And...that just worked!!!!  Too tired to redpoint, but confident now, I need another attempt at the route - that hopefully will happen on this trip.  In the meantime, let the big-wall dreams continue!

Pumped but smiling for the camera on top of Turistklasse on the Tunga boulder

While I have been appealing for inspiration to trolls and other strange creatures of my own, Dave showed us all how it's done by brilliantly free climbing his new route on Tunga on the first go of the day, despite combined moisture, high temperatures, and lack of skin.  He strategically left a Gore-Tex jacket on top to protect the exit hold from the rain, and Donald took it off just at the right moment before the final dyno.  Good we have at least one efficient redpointer on the team, or did he manage a better deal with the trolls than myself?..

Dave starting the crux on Centre Court, at 8b+ one of the hardest lines in Northern Norway

In between my struggles with the Delirium route, I also managed to bolt my first line - a proud extension from the top of For Apen Scene to the anchor of Balshoiballetten, two already rather painful routes, but beautiful as only the slab lines know how to be, on the huge slab of Toppsvaet.  I managed to put 3 bolts using a very nice Hilti drill and quick how-to insturctions from Dave, linking the two anchors with what I would like to call the Gore Extension, a heinous slab finish to the 25-meter For Apen Scene.  Given that I was not able to figure out one of the moves, I'm not sure about the grade, but probably around 7b/+, with a gorgeous view on top, and ironically of all things pretty run-out because of my limited proficiency at bolting traversing routes while hanging with all the gear and shredded fingers from above...Sorry, future generations that will have to cuss at me, as I have cussed so many other times on other run-out routes....or they always can simply and happily ignore the extention.  Anyway, I hope some learning has occurred and maybe my next bolting will be better!

And to finish this inspirational post on a good note, here is another besutiful sunset over our home Ersfjord:

All pictures, as usual on this trip, courtesy of Paul Diffley.


lou pape said...

it looks you are having so much fun. wishing you all the best for the big W.

uasunflower said...

thx, it depends more on the weather right now, but we might have a try tomorrow...hope you will be on the rocks soon yourself, Olivier!