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Sun, Sun, Sun. A big african ball of fire and a high pressure system that can grease your tips like an egg pan! We havent seen rain for weeks now and things are going well. Apologies for the blogging hiatus. Writing is hard sometimes and I may be suffering from “Bloggers Block” or something. Beth Rodden asked me this morning for the up-tinth-million time: “When are you gonna update your Climbing blog!?!” So to get the ball rolling, Beth got up early this morning and wrote a few words for ya:
“Hello fans of Andy Mann! We’re all still here in the beautiful Rocklands. The rain stopped a couple of weeks ago and everyone has been climbing tons and tons. Well, except for me. I’ve got a bit of a bum ligament in my left index finger, but that hasn’t stopped me from going out and living vicariously through everyone else and their proud sends. Josh and Cooper from Big Up Productions joined us last week, which has added a super fun level of energy. Josh is showing everyone up, and recently sent Pinotage V10, a beautiful problem at the Sassie boulders.
Thanks Beth! Ahhh, if I could only teach her what I know about photography, I could spend a lot more time climbing eh? Anyway, I should catch you up to date properly. Honestly, right now everyone is cranking so hard that I feel like a walking, talking Hot Flashes Column ready to unload into a really heavy and fully bound book, but here we go: Daniel Woods opened the Sky Project from the start and aptly named it “Sky” V14. ( I have seen Daniel break through an important barrier in the last few weeks. He is just only beginning to relize the tools he is working with). Woods also opened another amazing project called “El Corizone” V13. This line was an old Klem Loskot project from years past that requires a very strong head and an even stronger hand. “El Corazone” sits like a beacon over the area as a perfect suspened heart shaped boulder with a sick line right up it’s center. A five star contender for sure. Paul followed immediately behind his heels, digging deep, and pulling off an amazing second ascent. After the next rains, I predict this one may sit unchalked for a long, long time. The kids have bagged most established testpieces by now, including the long awaited second ascents of “Moiste Maise” V14, “Madiba” V14, and “Green Mamba” V13. Lisa had a big last day before heading back to England for her gitstone sessions. She had had her heart set on Black Shadow V13, having done all the moves on previous sessions, but opted on her final day for a milage instead and fired off a few new V10s before her flight. We miss you here Lisa!
If there were ever a line that suited Paul Robinson it would be Fred Nicole’s Amadala V15. Amadala lies in the center of the sector called “Roadcrew.” An area famous for its other classics such as Cedar Spine, Roof on Fire, and Ulan Batar. The boulder has a dramatic overhanging lean to it and is composed of a solid orange quartzite banded with a grey gritstone allowing a very resistant path of least resistance. The problem starts from two small crimps about head heigth and the business comes quick. Pull on, and pull right hand to a very sharp fingertip crimper. (Tony says you may only get a few goes off this hold before you will split your tip like a passion fruit.) If you have the skin for it, you will then bust high to a good hold, match it, and fire for a deviously sloping lip at 15 feet, match it, and mantle. The lure of the mantle has spread over the years and some have suggested that this single move way off the deck and over a downsloping hillside, may clock in at around v11! Blow it and you’ll eat it hard for sure. Most climbers stong enough to possibly make it that far have saved themselves the heartbreak of possibly blowing the move and opted out of trying for the repeat. Paul crushed it an just over an hours work and seemingly made the fastest ascent of the grade to date, though he may call it V14. Not to mention, it was the very end of the day which saw him and Daniel make the 2nd and 3rd ascents of Matt Wilder’s “Power of One” V13. Daniel repeated Amandala as well a few days later. I am both honored and elevated to have watched over the last few years Daniel and Paul grow into young men and become the strongest boulderers in the world, and now, here, each day, watching the two go neck and neck on the hardest problems in the world until the big red sun sets over the Atlantic. I have been watching less through me lens at them lately, and have been growing more and more inspired to push myself as a climber.
After the rains lifted it took a bold (and ignorant) crew to get out to the boulders. There comes a time in everyones trip here to make the decesion, drive to the boulders at all cost, or, walk a little further and save yourself the pain of being sodomized by the Rental Car Man. There is just no room for the former here on this farm, and we have implimented a no car left behind policy. Ralling the cars through the mud and fields has become my favorite pastime. I Absolutly love it. Tommy has alrady sent his rental over the edge and had to re-place it, and Coop and I have more than once buried the Big Up Mobile up to the doors. The one and only rally driver on this trip to have gone where no man has gone before, and have his car show no effects of its adventures is one Paul Robinson. If dude didn’t have such a bright future in climbing, I’d say for sure he would be one of the best rally drivers on tour today. I don’t even buckle up with him anymore. Badass.
Oh, by the way, on a lighter note…I finally beat Noah Kaufman at chess!!!! It was a punishing defeat to the master himself, let me tell ya, and I feel like I can now hold my own at the table. The following morning I also took vicotry over Wills Young. Queen’s Gambit Suckas! This is the best opening sequence ever, and I got it d-i-a-l-e-d. I will probably never beat them again, so I am officially retiring from chess as a champion, like a real man. The other night the owner of the farm we are staying at offered up a local feast to show their appreciation of returing to their farm year after year. I spent some time in the kitchen with the women learning a few secret recipes and speaking a little Afrikans. Before dinner the local farm workers gave us a talent show of sorts for entertainment and we celebrated our 8 days of rain with the coming of a bright outlook in the forecast. As a group we have been trying to expierence as much local flavors as possible. We spent yesterday soaking up the sun on a deserted beach near Lamberts Bay, and after watching the sun set over the Atlantic, we were given a traditional African Braai under grass huts on beach. This was an unforgetable expeirnece for sure and I am remined again that the best part of climbing trips are the spaces between.
Paul Robinson’s Amadala Split.
So things are on the up and up and Josh, Cooper, and I have been capturing it all for the Reel Rock Film Tour this fall. Working with Big Up has been amazing for me, and the creative energy between the crew is at a max. Make sure to check out Big Up Productions.com for some new cool features, and video stills of the trip thus far. New crew members Nick Sagar and Corey Rich have finally arrived and the crew will now remian the same until we leave. For now, “the holdout crew” of Paul, Daniel, Laura, Tommy, Beth, Courtney, Corey, Nick, Matt, and Is for now, we are all living the dream I guess. The rains have past and injuries have healed. If there is one thing I’ve learned well this year traveling, and it is this: “The sweet just ain’t as sweet without the sour!” So on that note, we have only a few days left and too many adventures too fill them. If its full of rain, bring it. If its full of car trouble, bring it. Why? Becasue, its not as sweet without the sour. If you don’t here from me again for a while, dont blame me. Talk to Beth. She handles those things nowadays!!! Cheers.
Local friday evening farm life.
Getting taught a thing or two in the kitchen.