China unClimbed

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With just two hours remaining until our bus will leave town, I throw myself at the route for the very last time. The route is China Climb, the first 8c in China and my project for last few weeks. I glide easily through the first twenty meters, the moves now like family members or close friends. At the knee-bar rest I lock my leg into position and take a few deep breaths, gradually bringing my heart rate back to normal. After two solid weeks of projecting the route I have the thing dialed; I came heartbreakingly close yesterday, falling off the final hard move with my hand just failing to latch the finish jug. I’ve now tried the route 16 times, done a half-a-dozen one-hang ascents and been through the moves at least a thousand times in my head.

Getting a quick shake on the crimp rest hold before the redpoint crux

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After a few minutes I am fully rested. I nervously unhinge my knee from its locked position, exhale slowly and then throw myself into the dynamic crux moves above. But I can feel my body is not up to the task at hand. Too many tries in the past few days have taken their toll. I make it several moves into the crux before missing a catch and finding myself flying through the air.

Time up. Failure. I clean the draws reluctantly and pack my bag in silence. I guess it’s the low points that make the high points so special. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back one day…

Here are some pictures of the route, a mix of two red point days about a week (and one haircut) apart:

Stepping through the awkward low crux

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Chilling out at the knee-bar rest

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Starting the crux section

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On redpoint, staring at the finish jug

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Video of another climber, Keller Rinaudo trying China Climb last year

The idyllic White Mountain, Yangshuo at sunset

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3 Responses to China unClimbed

  1. Randy Rittel says:

    Looks like you enjoyed the “journey” and challenge of the climb. In layman terms what is a 8c? Regarding your sailing trip, was our daughter able to “keep down lunch?

    Hope you had a good holiday and happy new year If you have any sailing pictures send them our way.

    Randy, your father in law.

  2. capetownsteve says:

    Yes, the journey has been very rewarding (and continues to be – we just arrived back for round 2). I’m not sure how to put 8c in layman’s terms. I guess it entails some dynamic moves between small holds (about the size of the spine of a national geographic) spaced at reasonable intervals (say two to three feet apart) on an overhanging wall (leaning back about 20 degrees from vertical)… Hope that helps!

  3. Pingback: all I want for valentine’s day is an 8c belay! | the stangie travelogue

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