Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Three Times Ten Sleep Part 3

Submitted by Ken

Here's Part 3 of 3 of the Ten Sleep summary.

Sept 28 to 30

One reason I stressed the social side of climbing last trip is because MY CLIMBING SUCKED. Okay, I had a few decent sends, but mostly I needed to look elsewhere for the high points. Since that time, with additional motivation caused by August and September's unrelenting heat and smoke in Montana, I'd settled into a long training phase and just sort of hunkered down indoors on my basement climbing wall. Following that, I thought I should see what gains I might have made on the Behemoth.

So, with the unending support of my wife, Sarah, I again loaded up the Toyota along with June, and drove Thursday evening to Bozeman to meet up with the ever-psyched-for-Ten-Sleep Leslie for a quick 3-day trip. Part of this was an experiment to see if it would be worth my while to go that far for what would amount to two half-days on Friday and Sunday, plus a full day, Saturday, of climbing. Bozeman climbers routinely head down for the weekend since the drive is only about 4-1/2 hours. But add in the 3 hours from Missoula to Bozeman, and another hour from my house to Missoula, and the commitment changes a lot.

We got to the town of Ten Sleep around noon, had lunch at the 2nd Street Bakery, filled up water at the always welcoming Lyons Club park on the east end of town, then drove up into the canyon. We were able to get the campsite across the road above the main, large site. The large site had what looked to be a hunter's camp trailer occupying it, no doubt staking a claim for the upcoming big game season. By 3:00pm we were hiking up to the Superratic so I could hang my draws on Great White Behemoth.

Leslie - Tricks for You 5.12a
Sending on her 2nd try after narrowly missing the on-sight.

I got the draws up on the Behemoth and found a lot of the moves felt easier, but it would still turn out this trip that the best I could do were two long links from beneath the crux to the top. I was pretty happy with this, since Great White Behemoth is a hard style of climbing for me. The bottom line is I'm going to need to get my core strength and core endurance up. The climbing requires that your body is always under tension. You can never just rest on your feet, relaxed. For me, this is a type of climbing that exposes my weaknesses and identifies areas to emphasize in my training this winter. Climbs like BRIK, Ball and Chain, and Scary Math are in this same category, which means I have plenty to measure progress on close to home.

I was at least able to confirm that I continue to climb well on less bouldery, technical climbs. I managed a flash of Tricks for You and a first-go send (after having tried it once last year) of Wutang's Wild Shinto Ride, both 12a. So I didn't come home empty-handed in the 5.12 category.

End of the day, perfect conditions.

We hit perfect weather during this trip. The aspens were changing and the days had highs in the low 60s. We could climb in the sun, which meant we didn't need to wait until the usual 2pm shade. When the shade did come, we were reaching for hats and layers. We saw only a handful of other climbers outside our group, which expanded Friday night when Jeff and Sarah Ho drove down from Bozeman for the weekend. Jeff and Sarah are co-owners of Bozeman's Spire climbing gym with Meg Hall. Meeting them for the first time and camping and climbing with them continued my streak this year of getting to know a string of first-rate, super chill Bozeman climbers, who also happen to crush on the rock.

Jeff with June and Tika

As far as the experiment of a 3-day trip from Missoula to Ten Sleep, it pretty much worked for me. For Sunday, we got up early and broke camp, then got to the rock by 11am. We climbed until 3pm, with Leslie redpointing Center El Shinto, 12b, on her last attempt of her last trip to Ten Sleep for 2012. Pretty sweet. I broke up the drive home by sleeping at Homestake Trailhead, Homestake Pass, Sunday night, then drove early Monday the rest of the way in order to be back in time for work.

Moonrise south of Billings

I'd probably take an extra day off and make it a four-day trip if I were to do this again. I also found that the drive down combined with hard-for-me routes three days in a row made me pretty ineffective 3rd day on. In the future, I will consider working projects on Friday, climbing easy or resting Saturday, then climbing hard again on Sunday.

We also found out after the trip that the perfect weather we experienced is not typical for end of September. It usually starts getting cold and wintry up the canyon by then. However, I would still definitely consider a post-Labor Day trip to Ten Sleep next year, maybe a week or two earlier, with hopes of again catching awesome conditions and climbing sectors all to ourselves.

So, Great White Behemoth and about 50 other projects I want to climb await me next year in Ten Sleep. I know what I need to focus on in my training for the months ahead. I've also come home with copious notes on the beta and "micro-beta" for Behemoth. Goal next year is to cruise that route feeling well within my limits. Specific objectives like that always motivate me and keep me working hard in my training. I know I'm going back!

A few things to remember...