Starting off, my knee is fine and healthy. I was very diligent in taking care of it right away so that the rest of my trip wasn’t in jeopardy — I was really worried though. I spent the rest of my time in the Frankenjura nursing my knee and climbing lightly-mostly…
However, I did try Action Directe (THE pen-ultimate 5.14d) a few times since that was one of the climbs I was seeking to try on my trip. It was a good test to gauge where my climbing abilities lie. I was actually surprised at how simple the movements were on the climb but it’s absolutely mega-hard because of the specialised finger strength you need. It’s obvious why the late Wolfgang Gullich, the first ascentionist, invented the campus board regime to get his fingers strong to climb the route.
We also met two travelling climbers in Frankenjura, Loren and Lianna. They were really cool to climb with, but in an unfortunate turn of events, Loren came down with some sort of stomach bug that led him to being ambulanced out from a crag to the hospital. Loren recently travelled from Patagonia where something similar happened so thorough medical tests were performed on him. When we went to visit him all the medical staff seemed frightened of his room. They looked at us and said the words “not good,” then lead us to his door with a bio-hazard sign, and we had to put on full medical wardrobe to enter the room. He seemed to be fine, but his climbing trip is done so that he can go home and fully recover.
For us, it was time to leave the Frankenjura since the incessant rain and non-ideal climbing conditions was putting a crimp on our motivation. Our next stop: Cëuse, France. Lianna was on her way down towards Switzerland anyways so she hopped on board in the BKB wagon to join in on the fun.
Now with a healthy knee back in action, I was psyched since there was one route in particular I was seeking to climb in Cëuse: Three Degrees of Separation. It’s a 14d route put up by Chris Sharma and made famous by the cinematography of Josh Lowell. I was intrigued by the route since it has been shutting down some of the world’s top climbers with its massive dyno moves; and dynos are one of my specialties that I enjoy doing (odd since I’m mostly considered a very static climber). It also has the aesthetic qualities I seek when trying routes–I like climbing nice looking things. Sharma has the right vision since he finds and climbs some of the worlds most beautiful pieces of rock-I applaud him.
I had an absolutely awesome first work session on the route yesterday. I went up to hang all my draws and workout all the moves. The beginning section through a tufa gave me the most trouble since it’s a bit scary to trust the footholds, but I’m sure after getting comfortable with the moves this will be no problem. Interestingly enough, the dynos were the easiest part for me. I stuck the first (biggest dyno) on my fourth attempt, and I stuck the second (equally big) dyno on my first attempt. And the third dyno is nothing more than a big move that is nothing to worry about. The only down side is that it’s hard on the skin, but not that the holds are too crimpy and sharp, but the holds I’m throwing to are jagged and tear up my hands. So I’m taking today and maybe tomorrow off to let the hands repair before working the route some more. I feel like I can do it.
Cëuse is great, the weather is fantastic, and much of the climbing world seems to have descended upon this destination at the moment. Even the one-hour uphill approach doesn’t seem to be as bad as I remember it when I first came here two years ago. It’s nice to have the iPod pumping during the hike where I can get lost in my thoughts of life, love*, and climbing.
So for me at this point, I will be concentrating all my efforts on Three Degrees to see if I can pull it all together in the two weeks I will have here.