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It’s Nice When the Work Pays Off.

 We don’t get a very big “awesome” window in West Virginia.  This spring, we got more awesome days than one can expect – maybe a month’s worth of cool temps and low humidity.  Then it started raining.  And it really didn’t stop raining.  In-fact, over the past month and a half, its only stopped raining enough for me to cut grass twice.  Pretty bad right?
Sarah Canterbury on “Tar Baby” 5.12b – 1st Buttress, Kaymoor, NRG
Last Sunday we actually got an awesome day of climbing.  The temperature/humidity gauge read 55 degrees and 45% humidity.  That’s unheard of for May!
My past few days out had been pretty bad – conditions were terrible.  The previous Tuesday was our election day in West Virginia and being the good citizen that I am, I went climbing!  The roads in Charleston (WV) were dry, but as we got closer to Fayetteville, things got worse and worse.  By the time we were at the parking lot, the roads were soaked, even though it hadn’t rained.  That pretty much means that the rock will be soaked – even under the roofs – condensation – the worst for climbing.  Falling rain will typically leave a lot of routes dry, especially the steep ones, but condensation is the devil. 
Thankfully enough “The Tantrum” 5.12d was “dry enough” and the holds on it are pretty good anyways.  Despite all the holds feeling “sort of wet,” I was able to do all the moves off the hang and I hit it pretty hard.  Why try hard when the conditions are bad?  A fluke change in weather, and good conditions will make the route go down easy (at least, that’s what one would hope.)
David Statler at the slab crux of “The Tantrum” 5.12d, 1st Buttress, Kaymoor, NRG.
Saturday night was my bachelor party.  I don’t really drink; you know – empty carbs etc though we stayed up pretty late – which isn’t my norm (I’m usually in bed by 9-930 – I’m so boring) but what the heck right?  We slept in a bit and then hit the crag feeling pretty awesome.
I’ve talked in the past about how just “warming up on your project” is the way to go for getting routes done.  I did that, hanging the draws on the route.  Hanging the draws on “The Tantrum” is pretty tough, though once hung, especially with some long draws, clipping is pretty easy!
The route starts with a pretty rude and height-discriminating move right off the ground.  With my 6-foot wing span, I can make the long move over the low roof to an OK hold, scamper up and then get some good holds.  From here, there’s a few easy moves to a good stance and jug below the second clip.  This is where it gets crazy.  Now, the 5.14 climbers just grab some really bad slab holds and crank off of those.  Me not being a 5.14 climber, I have to use some tricky beta. 
From the ground, the slab looks “easy” and the roof looks “hard as crap,” but its really the other way around.  Though…maybe the roof isn’t exactly… “easy.”  An awkward undercling move leads to a key knee-bar and a hard stand-up move to a bad hold.  With my height and choking up on the undercling, I can then make a hard span move to a good hold.  Boom.  For me that was the crux.  I had done the move twice on the bad conditions day off the hang, so I was feeling pretty confident that I would be able to do it.  That just left the 10-foot horizontal roof and some ridiculous moves.
Ryan Smith on “Blood Raid” 5.13a, the Hole, Kaymoor
I’ve heard a lot of people argue that the Red River Gorge has the best stone in the country.  Those folks say that the stone at the red river is clean and super solid, the movement world class.  I would agree the movement there is excellent, but I can’t think of any route where you have to monkey out a roof, helicopter your feet out over my head, get a hand-jam, hand-foot match a foot-jam and hand-jam, then unwind from it.  That’s right.  You heard me right.  It’s perfectly ridiculous, though really, if this were the crux, I bet the route would only be 12b or so.  It REALLY does look ridiculous to watch someone do it…but it works.
Knowing what to do, I took a big long rest under the roof (and kicked off my knee-pad,) then launched into the sequence.  It went pretty easily for me, though I definitely grunted some and boom.  Another check mark in the book.  At the chains, I thought…you know, those check marks are pretty tough sometimes!
Matt Fanning on the crux of “Blood Raid” 5.13a, the Hole, Kaymoor
My current life goal is to hit 500 career 5.12s.  Its getting hard because I’ve done just about every 5.12- at the NRG. Also, a few years ago, I started climbing 5.13s too which don’t count toward the 5.12s.  Right now, I’m up to 473.  Maybe a fall trip to Rumney or somewhere else new will give me a new pool of 12- routes to climb!

I’ve done all the other routes at 1st Buttress at Kaymoor except for two, both of which I think I will never be able to climb, so I spent the rest of the day taking pictures.  Its nice when you send your project early right?.  I never seem to get climbing images of myself since I’m the one always taking the pictures….Maybe I’ll get some pictures of me at my own wedding coming up this weekend!

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