Emily was unable to go to Spire in Bozeman with AJ and me, but AJ and I had a good time, anyway. I got a properly sized pair of black and green Evolv flip-flops to belay in. They were size 8 (M) for future reference. Anyway, they were $19 and I have needed something that is easy to slip on and off quickly and easily at the crag and at the gym both for quite some time, now. I am so pleased with them!!! AJ warmed up on several auto-belay routes while I got my harness on. My harness was being stubborn yesterday, but I finally got it adjusted well enough that I was comfortable in it.
AJ and I had a blast! It was fun to watch AJ climb on the auto-belay routes to watch his movement and learn. After my warmup route on toprope, he gave me some valuable feedback. He said I had good flow in my movement, was very precise with my hold placements, and a good sense of sequences on the wall, then gave me a few tips on how to improve upon those to get to the next level. “You focus on technique. Now your climbing will start progressing really fast.” He showed me on the wall how to keep one hip or the other into the wall if there was horizontal movement in the route instead of the route just being a ladder and facing the wall straight on. He also showed me how to deal with those holds that are kind of outliers to the route, and how to use a kind of leaning technique instead of getting so spread out and extended that I can’t move. With that, too, though, should be the concept of grabbing the hold as soon as it comes within reach. Most of all, I have to stop thinking too much and just let the movement happen. I strategize well on the wall, but I need to have those sequences somewhat worked out on the ground before I get on the wall because the endurance is what’s really killing me right now. I need to read sequences and plan on the ground better. That, coupled with my good sequencing sense on the wall, will get me a lot farther with the same amount of endurance. Less time thinking on the wall!!!
I started on a pink toprope route that I almost reached the top of, but that sinister flash pump got me! I tried a yellow route that had some very interesting and fun pinch/sloper holds that looked kind of like tufa holds, but turned horizontally instead. That one was very difficult only because I was using the tufa-like holds as ledges instead of pinches, haha! I got farther on that one than I thought I would, though. AJ did a ton of routes, both toprope and lead, which was fun to watch and be part of! Once he had led the route, he left the rope up as a toprope so that I could try on toprope. I tried this yellow route that had these big moves right off the bat and then this big reach over to the left. I tried it three times, the third time throwing as far as I could with my left hand while toeing in with my left foot and holding onto a poor hold with my right hand. I should’ve tried a fourth time, but my hands were getting raw at that point. I was really glad that I tried it and stuck with it as long as I did, though. AJ did some lead falls from the tops of two routes so I could practice catching him. I did well at that, which I am very proud of, because that means I can protect my climbing partner (that’s super important to me). I didn’t do any bouldering, but AJ did some. They had reset the cave and it had some neat new problems in it.
Following our three and a half hour climbing session was La Parrilla and burritos!!! Yay!!! I tried the Blackwater Bayou, which AJ likes and it has catfish in it. It was fantastic! Now I have two favorites!!! We wolfed those down, refilled our drinks, and headed homeward toward Billings. I wished AJ a Happy Birthday because I wouldn’t see him the next day and dropped him off at his house, thanking him for climbing with me. It is truly always a pleasure. I got home, put my dirty clothes in the wash, fired off a few texts that needed to be sent, and went to bed. I had climbed just enough!
AJ had a great time updating all of his climbs on MyClimb, which he is using now. Emily is on MyClimb, too, as of a few days ago. Now the three of us can compare notes! MyClimb is so cool! My friends on MyClimb are just as valuable as the ones that are here in Billings with me. I have learned a lot and get great feedback and advice from them! Thank you to Lou, Bill, and Iggi for sure!!!