Guinea Fowls have an awfully loud squawk. Especially at 5am when they’re right outside your tent. Day four of the PETZL Rock & Road Trip Western Cape 2010 thus officially started when the little spotty rascals belted out their heart-wrenching alarm clock with the rise of the sun. Yes! The sun! The rain predicted for Tuesday never materialised, meaning that a full day of climbing lay ahead.
After breakfast the climbers disappeared in hyped-up bunches to start sending routes. With the scorcher of a day ahead many people were amped to get one route under their belts by lunch time. Basically, the climbers are scored on their two best routes logged in the two days we have at Montagu. Each grade from 22 to 35 equals a certain number of points, 50 extra points are awarded for a flash, 100 extra points are awarded for an onsight, certain bonus routes have an extra 100 points, and if you’ve climbed a route before you have to subtract 100 points. Easy peasey.
With climbers returning to De Bos for a swim and sustenance in middle of the day, people were beginning to filter news of what they had sent and what they were working on. You could see ears begin to perk up and looks of determination settling into eyes that had been somewhat relaxed in the past few days. The redpoint challenge is always where the competition begins to set in and the pushing of personal goal posts becomes apparent.
By 4pm everybody was back on the rock amidst the sexy curves of the Badkloof, and routes were beginning to fall like weak-kneed teenagers in the presence of that Twilight guy. Crag after crag saw onsights, flashes and redpoints that echoed through the valley (I don’t know one climber who doesn’t do at least slight yell of glory at the chains), and in some cases it was yells of frustration.
But by the end of the day the list of sends looks as follows:
Harry Crews: Repeat of Firestarter! (29)
Brian Weaver: Repeat of Firestarter! (29)
Guy Patterson-Jones: Whoa She Poopie (30) redpoint, Days of Thunder (28) redpoint
Paul Bruyere: Whoa She Poopie (30) redpoint
Monique Bermeister: Cyberpunk (25) redpoint
Faye Brouard: Beautiful Day (23) flash, Neanderthal Rex (27) redpoint
Candice Bagley: Beautiful Day (23) flash, Thruster (26) redpoint
Ilse Labuschagne: Beautiful Day (23) redpoint
Marijus Smigelkis: Switchbitch (31) redpoint
Yunus Davids: Rattle & Hum (24) onsight, Simply Irresistible (27) redpoint
Phlip Olivier: Repeat of Firestarter! (29), Whoa She Poopie (30) redpoint
Illona Pelser: Rattle & Hum (24) redpoint
Donovan Willis: Cyberpunk (25), Simply Irresistible (27) flash
Tessa Little: Vays und Meenz (24) onsight, Street Bogananoff (24) redpoint
Rachelle de Charmoy: Walk on By (23)
Naureen Goheer: Walk on By (23) onsight, Shagadelic (22) redpoint
Heidi Rower: Vayz und Meenz (24) redpoint
Clinton Martinengo: Repeat of Switchbitch (31)
Mat Schneuwly: Cyberpunk (25) onsight
Wesley Black: Firestarter! (29) redpoint, Thruster (26) onsight, Simply Irresistible (27) redpoint
Matt Bush: Repeat of Impi
And that’s just at the end of day one of the Montagu segment of the trip. I am positive that by tomorrow evening this whole list is going to be completely different, so much can change in a full day of climbing.
Many of the climbers were still on the rock well past 8pm, and Matt Bush was pulling an all-nighter on Switchbitch with the aid of headlamps galore – but I hear he is taking a break now (midnight) and will retire to his tent. Jeez. I reckon checking back here on Thursday morning early is a very good idea.