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.
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
Video of another climber, Keller Rinaudo trying China Climb last year
The idyllic White Mountain, Yangshuo at sunset