During the past few days, our own climbing has taken a little bit of a backseat to other goals. We spent a little bit of time in Mono Lake relaxing and also doing some soul-searching. The primary question is “What is the RV Project?”, or more accurately, “What the F&¢% are we doing?” Filming and taking photos takes a toll on your concentration, and with only two of us, capturing our own sends is, quite frankly, very difficult. We have no desire to film ourselves on problems we can easily do. We have no desire to just film everything that other people do either…that’s no fun for us and not worth the time and energy required. We have no desire to just climb for ourselves. That’s fun, but I feel it shortchanges our opportunity.
Long story short, we decided to focus on our own climbing. We’re in the best climbing area in the US with ample opportunity to train our weaknesses. We have a whole new grade-range of projects to try. We have climbing partners. Life is good. And if one of us is about to do something at our limit, we’ll film it.
That said, since we have so much time here and since it is the season, we are also keeping our eyes open and ears to the ground. Hang out around the Peabodys and some strong ass people will show up and they will more likely than not be trying something amazing. If there’s a good story to be had, a chance to record something truly historic, we would gladly offer our (admittedly limited) documentary skills and equipment to preserve the zeitgeist of this season.
We met Elliot Faber when Alex Johnson came through town and waltzed up Luminance. He was the caboose on the 5-car send train that day. A few days later, we watched him tip-toe up the seldom-repeated Transporter Room, the famous 5.12X that was first free-soloed by Dale Bard in the late 80s, and repeated by very few others. A few days after that, Elliot landed on DPM’s website for climbing a new line just to the left of Transporter Room, calling it The Elevator and grading it V5X.
Today he worked the moves of another new line, this just to the left of The Elevator and sharing the start. After getting to the good jug flake, it moves left into a sloping amoeba-shaped hueco and into a difficult crux involving a scummy knee-bar, double gastons, and a sketchy rock up onto a slab. After that, it’s just some palm-down slab climbing up a scoop 30 feet above a spiky clump of bushes, leading to the summit of one of the coolest damn boulders on the planet.
Without trying to put any pressure on him to succeed, I asked if he’d allow us to film his attempt and get some interview footage to round out a short vignette about the climb. He agreed, and tomorrow he’ll go for it.
I can’t say how excited I am for this. The climbers we’ve filmed the past few weeks are, without a doubt, brave and humble. They don’t spray about themselves on the internet. Speaking with Dan Beall today, he sounded like he needed convincing that he’s one of the better climbers out there. Meanwhile, he’s quietly ticked nearly everything there is to tick in Bishop, including The Swarm (V13/14) and the FA of Misdirection (V14). He is (also quietly) working on topping out Blood Meridian/Social Distortion (depends on who gets to name it!).
All the pros we worship are impressive and deserving, to be sure. However, it’s the people with lives, jobs, careers that impress me even more. They show me that we aren’t limited by lack of sponsors, or having too long a drive to the boulders. We are all limited by ourselves.