As I’m sitting down to write this one, I think about all those folks who are shorter than me complaining about their height and how routes are harder for them than they are me….I usually just go…sure sure whatever, just jump right?  Well, I guess I’ll have to eat those words.  For the most part, I don’t have a problem with my heigh climbing at the 5.12 range, though I’ve been noticing lately, that my reach (at least I feel like its my reach) is a limiting factor for these routes…though I have a suspicion that maybe its just my lack of power….

After taking a glorious rest day on Saturday, I set my sites on a long term project of mine at Cotton Top for Sunday (at the New River Gorge.)

Conditions were perfect.  Crisp, chilly, and in the shade, but the sun was poking around the corner of the cliff – which meant I could go stand in the sun to warm-up my body, then go in the shade and climb.  If anyone is wondering – Cotton Top (at least the harder walls) is a morning shade evening sun crag.

I warmed up by hanging the draws on “Intergalactic Orcas” – an excellent route that suffers from poor bolt placements that requires long draws on several of the bolts.  From here, I was able to swing over to my project and goal route for the day:  “Tainted Love” 5.12d.

Tainted Love with my Pink Rope Hanging on It.  Climber is on Intergalactic Orcas

My previous assessment of this route was “I’m too short to do it the way tall guys do it so I have to jump.”  I did some pretty serious core work this past summer as well as some excellent power training.  I got on the route and my original beta was to do a long move to this left two-finger crimper, and then jump (feet cutting) to a sloping edge.  From the sloping edge with my feet off, I was double clutching right to this 2×4 ledge.  From here, I was sorting things out, clipping and then going to the top.

One my first go of the day, I got up to the move and stuck the right sloping edge, but my feet didn’t cut.  I couldn’t believe it!  I don’t know if it was my improve core, or the performance of my new Tarifas “probably both” but I was able to keep my tippy toe on the foot hold!  I tried several times to do a cross move instead of my double clutch campus move, but then realized that…if I have my foot on, I can get a high left foot, clip and then finish the move.

And that was how I sent the route my second go of the day!  Super stoked!  I didn’t really think this one would go for me, and I had to try pretty hard for the send.  I was mildly disappointed that I didn’t end up doing my double clutch campus move, but then, it felt good to be stronger on the route!

Completely content with my send, I next set my sites on a route I bolted several years ago, but gifted to Bill Bauer – Final Twilight.  This short 3 bolt route really packs a punch!  When Bill did it, he thought that he was sand bagging the world when we rated it 12c, but for some reason the guidebook author Mike Williams decided to rate it 5.12b.  I managed to send this route “barely” on Sunday as well but MAN!  IT was tough going.  The folks watching me climb were on the edge of their seats as I barely (just barely) stuck the crux dead point.  My belayer was so convinced that I was going to fall that he stepped back to take, but at the last mili-second as he realized I didn’t fall he paid out slack fast and fell on his butt!