Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cobra

Last friday I was working in New Westminster cleaning dryer vents on rappel with my good Slovenian buddy Klemen Mali. I had basically written off the Cobra Crack- I would wait until I was fitter and stronger- maybe in a couple weeks or something. I needed a break and my fingers were thrashed. The day before Paul McSorley and I had diving contests in Browning Lake and I had bruised my ear drum. My Dad gave me some random anti-biotics he found in case it was infected. Apparently that is a bad idea according to my nurse friend Mandoline...

The next day I woke up in North Van to the pitter-patter of rain. After a quick stop at the clinic to check to see if my ear was okay, I drove up to Squamish, hoping beyond hope that the rain would stop and I would have another chance on the Cobra. For some reason, I am always most optimistic in the morning. I'm sure coffee has something to do with it.

Conditions at the Cobra were absolutely premium. Only a few people were there: Mandoline, Jeremy, Rich and Senja. It was a good vibe. Some people can deal with crowds- my comp master buddy Sean McColl, for example. But I don't do so well with cell phones bleeping and a tonne of people asking questions.

On my first try I fell above the lip, dropping my foot out of the heel hook. I had never felt so strong up there, which stunned me. I rested for about an hour, and when the rain started drizzling ever so slightly, I tied in again and sent it. On the final 5.10+ part of the crack my rope got mildly wedged in the lip of the crack. The crack was filthy so I cleaned as I went, yanking up rope with one hand, aggressively torquing my fingers into the crack... I wasn't going to blow it now... At the top I was covered in dirt and blood.

The Cobra is done now, and a little era is over for me. I think alot about my friend Didier Berthod, who has since dropped off the grid and lives in a Monastery in Europe. He was the one who really sparked my interest in the line. Didier was a real soul climber, on a mission to climb the hardest cracks in the world. He didn't care much for personal wealth, and often hiked to the Cobra barefoot for some reason. I think he had some theory about being in tune with the earth before a climb... who knows. I climbed with him in Indian Creek in 2005/ 06 and said the Cobra was maybe the most beautiful line he had even seen. After he broke his arm in Moab I drove him to Salt Lake City and never saw him again. Didier came up short on the Cobra, but I hope his new quest is going well for him.

I miss ya, bud.