Monday, December 15, 2008 by Daniel

Social Climbing at Berkeley Icebox

It's frickin' COLD. I know that I'm a Californian and everything, and that plenty of others are dealing with far worse (ice storms!), but...dude. When the rain outside is white and bouncy, you know it's bad.

Ironworks was like a giant refrigerator tonight. We tried to stay warm by climbing, which works great WHILE climbing, but not so much when belaying. They need to install propane heaters for belayers, especially along the back wall, which just RADIATES cold.

However, the back wall was the scene of tonight's great triumph:

10a(o), 11a(o!), 10d(f+), 10c(f+)

11a ONSIGHT! Hell, yeah. OK, yeah, it was slab and had many opportunities for rest and took me like 20 minutes, but the numbers at the bottom still said 11a! I really like slab climbing at the gym, actually, and not just because it can be a confidence booster. It's similar to book-stemming. Unlike overhang or pumpy negatives, which you want to get over with quickly before your muscles fail, the tricky slab climbs take time and a great deal of concentration. Indeed, although the moves may not require a lot of strength, they require a LOT of focus, balance, coordination and trust in your body - it can be quite exhausting, and more than a little nerve-wracking. At any rate, onsighting an 11a, particularly when it was only my third 11a, feels great.

Otherwise: the 10a was fun, and very easy, with the ledge up over the arch. The 10d was the long one on the tall column that I did a few weeks back and only fell on once - tonight did not go as well, as I was more tired and, frankly, didn't care enough. The 10c was set by Jim (I've noticed that Jim's climbs rival Flea's for hardest-in-rating) and was an extremely pumpy long negative back by the arch. I fell twice - once when my arms gave out, and again at the end when I jumped for the final hold and missed.

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