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The Final Countdown to My Birthday Challenge

By July 14, 20147 Comments

I’m not normally the kind of guy to spray the world about my birthday. I’ve never been one for huge laser tag parties or making all my friends invite their friends to a big group takeover of some moderately expensive restaurant. Birthdays are weird…the only time I’ve felt compelled or entitled to a big gathering of any sort was when I turned it into a charity event.

Interestingly, that one was also a birthday challenge.

This time, I’m spraying for a few reasons.

  1. I’m stoked.
  2. I’m kinda marketing for our EpicTV series, and my challenge will be part of it.
  3. I have trouble following through with audacious personal goals unless other people know about them. I have a lot less trouble with audacious goals if others expect me to at least try really hard.

One more thing: if I can, in some way, inspire others to do something similarly audacious (physical or otherwise), that’s all for the better. I really, really hope this isn’t spilling over into obnoxious narcissism (my parents are psychologists, so I’m very self-conscious about this sort of thing). But I digress…

Last night I hiked a tripod up to the 3rd peak and stashed it, so that Vikki will only have a camera bag to carry with her to film my first element on Tuesday. It was my second time up there in two days and my legs are feeling it today, but I’ve got three days to rest and a killer set of recovery tools in the trailer. And as a bonus, I caught the tail-end of the sunset. It looked like this:

As I’ve stated before, the 3rd peak is definitely the element that I’m the most worried about from the standpoint of pure physical difficulty. The day before yesterday, I ran it in 80°+ heat, and it was downright miserable. I still managed a solid PR, 43:30, feeling dog-tired the whole way. I know I will only do better on Tuesday, the only question is how much so. If I red-line the whole way, heart in throat and veins bursting, will I be able to shave 7 minutes? I really hope so…I really want to be done with the Chief trail after day 1.

Talking about this challenge with other climbers has been a lot of fun. In fact, many other climbers have told us of their challenges. 34 problems, 23km run/23 problems/23 sport routes, and 29 pieces of salmon/29 pieces of tuna sashimi. Just yesterday, our good friend Pat Campbell attempted 33 v-points worth of Top 100 boulder problems, and we were there, along with Alex, to support. A good time (and good beer) was had by all.

Also, it's sweaty.

Proper birthday attire: real Lederhosen. Cons: restricts hip mobility. Double Decker V3.

We’ve been climbing a lot with Ethan Pringle lately, which is not to spray about our pro-knowing. I mention this because he’s taken an interest in how in the hell I’ll pull some of this stuff off. I wondered the same, particularly with regard to climbing The Grand Wall (8 pitches, .11a A0) in less than 3 hours. I had meant to do a practice run but that got lost in the shuffle of, well, climbing fun boulder problems, running the 3rd peak, and editing Episode 2.

Ethan and Georgie tackle the Grand Wall. Taken from our campsite.

Ethan and Georgie tackle the Grand Wall. Taken from our campsite.

Ethan and I talked for a bit about how to speedclimb, short-fixing and mini-traxions and all kinds of other things that I have literally no experience with. It occurred to me that, except for some easy simul-ing on Whitney a couple of months ago, that I hadn’t placed gear in over a year. You see, I figured I could just, you know, sorta figure it out when I got to it. This is not the case. The Grand is going to require some rehearsal. This means that I need to do at least one practice run, during the challenge, either on a rest day or combined with some other element. This is going to make things much more intense.

Especially if I have to do a few attempts at the 3rd Peak.

Well, it’s not supposed to be a Birthday Kinda-Hard, now is it? And if I fail, I’ll fail in the best shape of my goddamned life.

Tomorrow I’m going to see if I can do Agoraphobia (V11) easily. If so, that’ll take a lot of pressure off of the 30 v-points/3 problems day. And I’m psyched, because I love bouldering. Also, I fell on a cam today, and it held, so that’s a good sign.

More updates as the challenge begins and progresses.


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