Sometimes in the midst of work and life, we forget our passions and settle into the mundane actions of our daily lives. Sometimes I even forget why I climb — why I head to the gym every evening and bust my ass on the training boards and get injured from time to time. I believe, a rock trip is what a climber always need. And that is what I went for.
Arriving on my first day at Bishop, I remember feeling unprepared though. Here I am, at one of the best climbing areas in the world, and I didnt have a clue which area I wanted to go or what I was going to climb. Thankfully I had Heng Hong with me, he was my guide and “psych kick” for this trip. Without him, I would have been in that desert all by myself!
I went through a tour of the classics and really climbed through the routes as if it was my last day on earth. My body had missed that feeling of rock under my fingertips, the yank on my muscles, the tension to stick my feet. Each day, I wrote a list of routes I had sent or tried. Strangely, each day it also grew shorter as my body started to feel fatigue, and I started to work more tries into the harder routes.
There were times when I questioned if I should settle onto a hard route just to get that send. I was doing too many V3–5s and I wondered if people would respect me the same if I did a V11. Much as I had trained, I felt that I needed the time to work a route if I wanted to bag it, and time was not what I had. It took me awhile to settle my inner demon and be contented with touring the classics. I do love them and it makes me want to go back and do them again. Some I flashed, some I struggled.
There were only 3 routes which I gave countless attempts. The first was Stained Glass V10. It was unbelievably impossible the first time I touched it. It was also mentally torturing when it was only me working on the route, as HH felt he wasnt in the best shape to try it.
Have you ever tried working on a route all alone? But the feeling you get when you piece those movements and beta together eventually stays with you forever.
I eventually got up until the last big throw to the lip of the boulder, and I could do it twice consecutively. I watched Alex Puccio do that move on replay — she barely caught it! That progression was sweet, although it came at a cost of my fingertips, I could barely climb the day after. I worked two days on this route.
My second “project” was High Plains Drifter V7. It was a classic and I stuck the first few moves with ease. But the one big move which required a left sit in and hip dig upwards — I failed again and again. I was pretty bumped out about it. It was a static full lock PLUS a sit in, not my best skill set there. Plus the other girls from Singapore had done it easily! (This comparison thing always gets to me). I chose to move on after awhile, I didnt come to Bishop to get stuck on a route, although it would mean I get more 7s in the bag, which might make me seem like a hardcore climber haha. I worked two days on this route.
My final work was on Junior’s Achievement V8, which had a similar profile to Stained Glass, so I thought I would definitely enjoy it more. Once again, I worked on it on my own. My psych kick had just ran and was dozing in the shade. Haha! I didnt send this route though, I realised that I had almost gotten the beta but it was my last day at Bishop. I worked 1 day on this route.
Thinking back, yeah… I didnt send anything hard. But I had loved the fact that I was out there climbing. I was already blessed to be out there. I left Bishop feeling strong and quite ready for the IFSC Vail World Cup. Abit anxious about the altitude effects, but my body was ready to take the beating.
I managed two bonuses, I definitely could have top both sending me into semis with ease. But I was satisfied nonetheless.
I dont know when my next trip/competition will be. But I’m looking forward to it!