Left Behind in the Russian Federation
While in Russia, we’re supporting Women’s World Banking, which helps low income women access financial services, including small business microloans so they can independently support their families. Due to NGO restrictions, Women’s World Banking is not currently active in Russia, however they are the only global network that focuses on women. Women’s World Banking has served over 19 million clients, and 73% of those are women who now benefit from insurance, savings, and small business loans. Help me raise $10,000 for Women’s World Banking on my Crowdrise page. Donate $27 or more and you’ll be entered into a monthly raffle to win a Marmot tent!
Our three weeks at Triangular Lake came to a bitter sweet end yesterday as we left behind our adopted Russian family, high ball first ascents, and my unfinished project.
As the boulders dried out after a week of heavy rain, Jon scoped out and cleaned a few new lines. I’m always amazed at how comfortable he seems to feel while bouldering. I would much rather whip off a route into soft air than fall to a ground of pads. Jon is the opposite, which I suppose is a testament to the fact that we’re all more comfortable on the terrain with which we’re most familiar. Jon made the first ascent of two incredibly beautiful and tall lines as I nervously spotted or filmed. The first, Made in America (7C+/V10), climbs a steep wave to a huge jump at the lip before topping out on a thin six meter slab. The second, Dobroy Nochi (8A/V11) climbs a tall arete up one of the largest boulders in the area. He also cleaned a tall face that is still awaiting a first ascent, and is probably around 8A/V11.
[Jon on the FA of Made in America (7C+/V10)]
[Jon on the FA of Dobroy Nochi (8A/V11)]
[Jon on an open project (8A?)]
Amidst the granite of Triangular Lake sits a boulder slightly larger than the others. A line of bolts up the middle of the face marks Catharsis (8c+). Catharsis was bolted about 13 years ago and remained an open project until Alexander Gerzha made the first ascent about one month ago, confirming the expected grade of 8c+. After watching Alexander perfectly execute the very unique moves for video, I was inspired to give the route a try. I found the odd foot positions and big moves to be surprisingly fun, despite that nearly every hold is chipped, reinforced, or drilled. This sounds like the making of a horrible ugly route, but the line is beautiful both from the ground and in its movements. The difficulty of the route spans it’s full fifty feet. At perhaps 25 degrees, each move is burly and there aren’t any significant rests. On my first few tries, I couldn’t even grip a few of the holds, let alone move between them. But the body positions required in the moves separating the cruxes kept me returning for more attempts.
[Alexander Gerzha on Catharsis (8c+/5.14c), Jon Glassberg (LT11) photo]
[ALEXANDER GERZHA ON CATHARSIS (8C+/5.14C), JON GLASSBERG (LT11) PHOTO]
The first crux of Catharsis consists of big moves maneuvering two of the worst underclings I’ve ever felt, about halfway up the route. A sideways dyno at the top also protects the anchors. After finally solving the undercling section, I knew that my success or failure on the route would come down to sticking the dyno. I could consistently stick the dyno from the hang, but from the ground was another story. In the end, I skated off the dyno jug three times before running out of time.
[Catharsis (8c+/5.14c), Jon Glassberg (LT11) photo]
[CATHARSIS (8C+/5.14C), JON GLASSBERG (LT11) PHOTO]
As always, it’s incredibly hard to leave unfinished projects behind, especially when returning to that project is unlikely. But thus is the nature of projecting on trips. I attempted the hardest route I’ve ever tried, knowing that a three week deadline loomed all too close. Now, I’m having to swallow my TED talk words that “falling is not failing”. I gave everything I had on this route. I tried my absolute hardest, and that’s the best I can do. When I competed as a teenager, I was never disappointed with the outcome of a competition as long as I knew that I couldn’t have tried any harder. The same holds true now. The Catharsis dyno might plague my dreams for the next few nights, but in the end I’m grateful for the incredible experiences I had living at a Russian farmhouse, the new friends I met at Triangular Lake, and the realization that Russia is a very cool country.
Last night, I gave a slideshow at Big Wall Sport in Moscow. Hosted by MounTech, the distributor of Marmot in Russia, this event was RAD! A room full of bean bag chairs, snacks and drinks on every table, chocolate cake at the end, a slew of LT11 videos, and a big audience made for a very fun evening! This was the first time I’ve ever presented with the help of an interpreter, and it was definitely a cool experience. Thanks Natalia for helping me out!
[Photo by Леонид Мач]
[The great interpreter, Natalia! PHOTO BY ЛЕОНИД МАЧ]
[Interviewing with Russia Today (I hope we didn’t look this terrible on television), Jon Glassberg Photo]