There’s new life bursting through fire damage in the Du Toit’s Kloof… radical joy is always a possibility where nature’s concerned.
You don’t wake up during Winter at 5h30 for Hellfire, unless you have a wild streak or a support system that helps you swim against the current. Those who permit one this opportunity for personal mastery / flagellation or go so far as to encourage you to keep it up, are to be treasured!
Anton lead the first pitch.
One of the nuts popped out and Riaan was depending on a rope that was only just dangling over the far corner of a rock. This was the only thing separating him from a pendulum swing if he did take a fall. I was the one to take a fall though… my hand slipped on the flattish ledge and in my desperation to avoid retracing my steps, I grabbed the rope and hung on for dear life! When fears from the past haunt you, illogical behavior can ensue. Have faith and start again wherever you end up because it’s never the same as a previous fall – each fall teaches and changes you. I would’ve had much more power left in my arms if I’d realised you can retreat in order to make headway!
Forked Tongue’s 2nd pitch starts with a venomous bite (that’s assuming we started at the right spot and weren’t on something harder).
Riaan didn’t commit to doing it until he’d placed about the 6th pro, by then he’d done such incredible athletic feats, it seemed ridiculous for him to turn back! I was belaying and there was a lot of complicated gear placing required by him, in order to protect while ensuring the ropes don’t cross. It was also a huge learning experience for me regarding maneuvering the ropes individually in order to be responsive enough for slack while holding enough tension on the other rope so that he wouldn’t fall too far. It was a great team effort with Anton, in his calm and assertive way, helping both of us through this potentially dangerous challenge.
The easy choice would’ve been to give up and do a familiar climb but letting go of certainty was the magic that introduced us to this wicked climb. Courage for adventure offers one realisations that you may never have anticipated, that’s what I need to remember every day! Riaan showed the mountain the utmost respect, and was rewarded. When your team member succeeds in doing something THAT hard it’s pretty pathetic to worry about your own ability to merely follow! So I kept my pathetic thoughts to myself.
I would’ve taken a scary fall if it wasn’t for Anton leaning across the gaping pit helping me stick to the crag. You have to hang from your hands then bump one further right, so that you can swing far enough to reach something to stand on. No one can hang in space alone for long. If you don’t have feet then at least ensure that you have a friend.
Once you reach the flatter face, the climb becomes very enjoyable, although I was a little unreliable in the cleaning department. Climbing depends 100% on your internal state… I was shocked into letting go of all distractions very early in the climb when Anton pointed out that I was cleaning his gear!
A friend of mine told me that just because you’re not ‘show room condition’ on a particular day, it doesn’t mean that you have to forfeit climbing completely. I skipped Burn Out while my team enjoyed it.
After basking on a boulder I left with more energy than I’d arrived with.