Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The eighth day

Last weekend on our first trip to Rifle, we went over to check out the "Project wall". A large overhanging sector hosting numerous hard routes. To the right of the wall there is an orange face which is divided by a beautiful grey streak. A route called The eighth day comes out of an overhang to the right, traverses on to the grey streak and follows it to the top of the wall. 45 meters of perfect limestone. Immediately when I saw it I thought, "thats a climb I would love to do before moving on from here". At that time not knowing what it was, I turned to the person closest to me and asked - "I haven't climbed it my self, but people say it's a real adventure" said Jen, as in Jen and Andrew Bisharat who was kind enough to host us at their home while we where in Rifle.

I started trying The eighth day this past Saturday, a week after having spotted it and with only two more days to climb in Rifle this trip. I would have liked to do some more milage before getting on such a long route, but with the amount of time we had left before moving on west, I had no choice if I wanted to give myself a proper shot at doing it. So I spent that afternoon hangdogging it a couple of times and also gave it one burn from the ground. But after working the route I was totally emptied out, or "helt blank" as my travelling partner Said would have said. I did not even pass the lower crux.

USA 2015

After a good night sleep I returned on Sunday morning. Along with doing a couple of easier routes, I warmed up by dogging the route past the upper crux once more. I felt much better than the day before, but still doubted I would be able to keep it together all the way. Half an hour later it was time for my first real readpoint attempt. I passed the lower crux which I had thought of as perhaps being the main obstacle for me. Standing at the rest after having climbed out the overhang and traversed on to the streak, the nervousity I felt all morning was blown away. As I set off, laybacking my way towards the upper crux, I enjoyed every move. Without really thinking about it, I found myself at the rest past the crux. However, the route was not finished there. I still had another 15 meters of climbing a head of me, which I had only done once yesterday and by now forgotten how to climb, putting all my focus on the moves leading up to there. It's such a different experience to climb routes that are this long compared to bouldering which I've been mostly doing in the past. Physically off course, but mentally as well. To become better at it I have to practice my abilities to switch between relaxing at resting points and moving without hesitating.

Said has an admireable approach towards climbing. One that you don't see very often and that I believe many climbers could learn from. My main goal on the rest of this trip is to work on my attitude to why I go climbing and what is important. I think one of the reasons why I made it to the anchors of The Eighth day are some of the talks Said and I had in the past days. I owe him for that, as well as for his patience with me while trying this route. Thank's buddy, on to the next one(s)!


Friday, October 23, 2015

Moving on

After hanging out in Boulder for a couple of days, we drove back to Rifle on wednesday morning. Weather here has not been great so far, but we still climbed loads. I guess one of the upsides with travelling with a person like Said, is that there is almost nothing that can keep him from going climbing. That attitude makes it easier for me to stay motivated. Even on days like yesterday, when rain was pooring down pretty much all day, we kept climbing from early morning until dark. Today however, we are both pretty beat up and will use this rainy day to recover so that we are hopefully fit when good weather rolls in tomorrow.

USA 2015 - Weekend in Rifle
Said contemplaing what tea to take for the road.


Monday, October 19, 2015

A learning experience

Time flies here in the US. Tomorrow it has already been a week since we arrived and each day has so far been an adventure. The first couple of days we where hanging out around Boulder, climbing in Cleer creak canyon and Eldorado canyon. It was good to get the body going a bit and shake some of the jetlag.

USA 2015 - First week in Boulder 
Said catching up with Christian Griffith on a walk between the Verve office and Christians house in Eldorado canyon.

Said has been introducing me to many interesting people. Supermotivated climbers who are dedicating their whole lifes to the rocks. For some, this devotion has turned them in to legends as they have been part of making the sport (or whatever it is) what it is today. Meeting these guy's and being at the crags around here, is definetely giving me some perspective of things. Seing how strong people are is mindblowing to say the least. It's also really fun to watch Said climb. I'm sorry to say that I believe the Swedish climbing community is not aware of what an incredible athlete we got in this man. 

USA 2015 - Weekend in Rifle

USA 2015 - Weekend in Rifle
Sam Elias climbing Slice of life 5.13d/8b (Rifle) on his second attempt.

Over the weekend we payed our first visit to Rifle. A hotspot for sportclimbing in the US. The two days climbing there was humbling for sure. I'd heard a lot about this place, about the very tricky style of climbing which makes it close to impossible to climb well without beta. Due to this I off course tried to lower my expectations, but I guess no matter how hard you try not to put preasure on your self, you will still allways have some hopes on doing well. These hopes of mine however, was brutaly crushed within the first day. I'm not sure if me climbing poorly had much to do with the climbing being harder than in any other crag I've visited for the first time. It allways takes some time to get in to climbing at a new spot and I am really looking forward to returning as I feel this is a place where I can develop a lot as a climber. We'll be going back in a day or two, after having enjoyed some much needed rest back here in Boulder.

USA 2015 - Weekend in Rifle
Said redpointing Vision thing 5.13b/8a (Rifle).


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


After many years of dreaming about climbing in the states, I'm finally here! Not sure how to put down in words how excited I am. Psyched on the climbing off course, but also on exploring the country, meeting new people, picking up tips and tricks from master Said, eating burritos, camping, spotting bears and moutain lions and much, much more.

We arrived here in Boulder CO last night and will be hanging out around here for about one and a half weeks, before driving west through Utah, Idaho and Oregon. I will try to post as much as I can from along the way, but since we'll be spending quite a lot of time living in a tent out in the desert, our internet access will be limited. A part of the trip I'm actually looking forward to quite a bit...


Friday, October 9, 2015

Christian, Max & Ruby

Västervik September weekend 2015
Christian Merlau working Max & Ruby 7A at Mommehål 2 in Västervik.