Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Coach Knows Best (or does he?)

This past weekend, my first to the Red since November, was one of those wet, cold, gray weekends where most sane people just stay inside, drinking hot chocolate and playing Trivial Pursuit. A group of us from the Shortbus instead decided on another trivial pursuit... bleak weather cragging.
Anne Skidmore, an incredibly talented photographer from New Hampshire, and crew, had come to the Red in search of steeper rock. Anne wanted to shoot photos while down, and I was happy to play tour guide. Armed with years of paying no attention to the weathermen, we were able to transform 3 drizzly days into some of the most fun cragging I've done in a while. Dry rock, dry climbing, soaked ropes and damp belayers. Throw in a few comical redneck gumbies (who may very well someday be the next Kauk and Bachar), and it turned out to be a golden weekend.
On day 3 we headed to The Sanctuary, an incredible wall of mostly hard 12's and 13's, to shoot Jesus Wept, a classic 12d. I bolt to bolted to warm up and hang the draws, and settled in for the belay while Yasmeen went to work, figuring out the moves on what would be her hardest route to date. The routes 3rd crux is a devious little pocket sequence, which can be approached two distinct ways: girl way and boy way. I opt for the girl way, backstepping and flagging so that I'm climbing static and in control, and relayed that beta to Yasi. While trying to work out the subtleties in body position to make the moves the girl way, she busted through the more powerful, boy way, to clip the draw above, and lowered to try it my way a few more times. I could see that it just wasn't fitting her, so I suggested she try the deadpoint again, and she reverted back to the boy way, sticking the move every attempt (a move I've never stuck).
6 or 8 months ago I'm not sure I'd have made that suggestion, believing that my most efficient way was THE most efficient way. Recently though, I've watched my daughter ignore my beta and come up with her own way, only to be more proud of her for figuring it out even with me telling her there was a better way. Different bodies fit into the moves of these puzzles differently, and as a coach/trainer/whatever, all I can do is make suggestions based on what I know of THAT climber. Its up to them to decide if my way works, or if they were right to begin with.
Yasi tied in for her 2nd go, with Anne hanging above shooting photos. Barely sticking the first crux move, she held it together and moved on to the first rest. In the 2nd crux, she changed her beta on the fly, opting for a balancey layback rather than a powerful lockoff, and pulled through to the big rest. We've trained and trained and trained recovery, so we both knew she had a good chance of sending, as she'd basically get to the 3rd crux, 75 feet up, mostly fresh. Throwing the more powerful deadpoint, screaming like a kung fu master, and with shouts of encouragement from across the valley, Yasmeen reeled in the little pocket, pulled to the jug, and finished off her hardest send yet... in only 2 tries. Its gonna be a good year.

3rd crux of Jesus Wept. Brad Combs
DEFINITELY doing it the hard way.
Photo: Scott James


Allison said...

props on ignoring weathermen. my crew went down there this past weekend, too, hoping against the 90% chance of flash flood hellishness raining and bam! sat afternoon, gorgeous sun and blue skies. rad that y'all had a baller weekend. As soon as we drive away, we can't wait to head back!

Lydia said...

Kick ass, and good for Yasmeen!