The Elkland Project
from Dave Graham
Over the past month or so I have been focusing in on one project in particular. A blunt powerful prow, situated near the road in Estes Park, in an area named Elkland, which I found more then a year ago, and have been attempting ever since. The main problem over the last year was a unsolvable transition. I would arrive with my hand pinky down in a right handed crack like feature, where the crux moves started, but could only continue rom that position with my pinky out, and going three fingers in the crack ring finger down. I lost syke after never realizing the answer to the riddle.
I came back from Vegas this year looking for a good project. I worked on The Game, and made progress, but still haven't felt the fire for this line. I fell off Mirror Reality more, and felt dejected. I tried Hypnotized Minds and felt great, however the perpetual dumping of snow destroyed all my hopes of attempting it again. I turned to the Elkland rig, in hopes I could find a solution.
After a couple sessions, I was feeling good on the crux move. A massive slap of a terrible left hand slope/edge to a sloper with the right hand in full compression, involving bizarre feet, and a critical blind left-foot placement in order to set up and go for the slap. I realized I could do the massive move with my right hand even lower, enabling me to avoid the finger switch that plagued my old sequence. I resolved the section with a pinch, in the crack system, lower then where I was grabbing by three inches, and climbed the bottom section ( which feels v12 still ) up until the set up for the crux slap. I think it must be around 8b, a very hard one at that, to link the heinous slap move, directly into the 8a outro.
After gearing up for war, prepping for the heinous Colorado winter conditions, I began dedicating days to attempt it from the start. After six days of efforts from the start, I have stuck the crux slap move only once from the ground (only to punt, and slip off) and prepare for another session tomorrow. I feel pretty fit on the problem now, and feel confident I could put it together solidly now, except for my ravaged skin, seemingly healing at a brutally slow pace. The problem is made of brutal Elk Stone Granite; a very grainy sharp type of rock, albeit bomber, colored orange, with a big grain. The crystals in the rock are all you stick to, and destroy the skin. The terrible left hand crux hold, a heinous less-than-quarter-pad mini-edge, is a tip splitter and session ender, adding terror to the equation ever attempt.
Hopefully the snow subsides, and the right conditions roll in. The finicky rock texture and its orientation with the sun gives me a tough run to find a right balance between freezing and slipping, thus conditions can mean everything. My last session I got outright snowed out.
I have a chance to execute the rig mañana, and it makes me nervous. Its always crazy when you get close to climbing something that is truly challenging, and getting closer to your limits. It seemingly becomes very mental.
Like its all in the mind.
But I'm not taking any chances.
I started doing push-ups. And also sit-ups.
Until next time amigos. Island Out!
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