Climbing all day can be difficult. Climbing for 24 hours is really hard. In the last few days of September, Touchstone members Caitlin Davies and Lauren Reising headed to 24 Hours of Horshoe Hell in Arkansas. The premise for 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell is leading a route clean for points, and doing that in succession for 24 hours straight.
For Caitlin, a climber of two years, the 24HHH was a good opportunity to expand her climbing skills. "I wanted to do 24HHH because I'm kind of a pansy leader, honestly... lol. An event that focuses so much on mental control really targeted my weak spot... so I wanted to face it and kind of embrace that fear, I guess? I'll tell you what, by the end of the 24 hours I didn't even care when I was above a bolt. It was a satisfying feeling."
Caitlin on left and Lauren on right
To prepare for the event, Caitlin trained with Touchstone trainer Justin Alarcon. "Training with Justin was AWESOME! I sort of feel that, when you're dealing with fear and the mental games you play with yourself, it's important to have all of your other ducks in a row. Spending a month and a half training with Justin helped me get really strong, which made me feel more confident. And I learned a lot of stuff that I'm still using - definitely improved my strength for the longterm."
Caitlin talked a bit about here experience in a trip report. The 24 hours were really genuinely a blur, with key moments as snapshots. It went so fast, and I had no time to think about it - I just had to do it, because we had to get in a climb an hour if we were to get our horseshoes. That actually turns out to be kind of hard just strategically!! Waiting for a route, trying to figure out which crag to go to first, factoring in walk time, etc. If you were at a route and you sat there waiting for it, you were sort of committing to it.
A very tired Caitlin
We start the day at Memoirs of a Deisha, a 5.7 overhang. GREAT IDEA, RIGHT? I totally fall twice, one is a pretty good lead fall just below the second bolt. Lauren totally catches me and it's actually good because it gets the jitters out. The morning is a blur, we go to the tallest crags at the whole ranch and do those twice... that's where I left my camera. And my rain jacket... :(
Everything is going smoothly until about 5 PM - that's when it starts to rain. There's a HUGE downpour for about 45 minutes, and we spend that time huddled under an overhang called the "power roof," super overhanging bouldering, with a bunch of other climbers, talking and eating; it's a nice break. :) After that we crawl out and keep climbing despite the wet and cold.
By 3 AM Lauren is losing her mind! We make our way to some really easy 5.5 trad and sling our way up as a break hour... by 5 AM I am cranky and exhausted, but Lauren has started to feel much better. I idly consider quitting, but Lauren convinces me to stem up this really easy route called "Emma's Got a Mullet." That gets me over the hump!!
Dawn breaks at roughly 6:30 AM as we are climbing a route called "Action Hotdog." It's misty and the light slowly breaks and it's beautiful, but most importantly we get a huge burst of energy - like, crazy awesome energy. We're so close!!!
9 AM: We go to the Titanic Boulder and do our last route. I hate it, lol. There's this weird move where you wrap your leg around a massive flake and it just isn't my style at all. But I do it (TWICE), and that's how we end the competition! 26 climbs each in 24 hours.
The lack of relief was honestly surprising - both of us felt that we could climb some more, or we could not, whatever. The tiredness had been replaced with a sort of auto-pilot feeling. We turned in our scorecards and promptly crashed into our tents for several hours, dead to the world.
Tags: 24HHH, Caitlin Davies, Lauren Reising
Past blog entries can be found at http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/