Rest day today before a couple more days of climbing and then a wretched day with temperatures forecast to reach almost 40 Celsius that we will somehow just have to survive. Doug walked around Natimuk Lake - which is now completely dry - while I drove out to Arapiles and did a little bouldering and wandered along the Big Sky bicycle track. There were lots of parties on Tiger Wall - how many can you spot in the photo below? - but, wretchedly, not one on Bard.
Seven parties on Tiger Wall this morning
I took my new shoes bouldering - nothing too hard as it was a rest day after all. I am trying to dial in how these shoes work, which may seem self-evident, but, my other pair of shoes are very aggressive La Sportivas that edge amazingly well but don't smear well at all. Climbing is a bit like carpentry - if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Similarly, if you only have an edging shoe, you edge everything. My new shoes are Anasazi Verde's and, I think I've got them worked out. You need to press down on them and smear them over the holds with your big toe in, rather than toe in sideways as I do with my edging shoes. Doing this, they seem to grip really well. You'd have to have strong feet to edge them well on micro-holds, and my feet, after wearing stiff shoes, are not all that strong right now.
Bouldering was super fun and I had to restrain myself from staying out for hours until I was really tired - that would hardly be the point of a rest day. It was just so nice to move freely without this big rack hanging over your shoulder or worrying about whether the rope was behind your leg, or where you were going to get the next piece of protection. I never used to really like bouldering, but, if you find a good bouldering area - as we have done fairly frequently in Australia - it is a really fun activity and much quicker and easier than faffing around with ropes, harnesses, protection, etc.
Bouldering on Good Morning Arapiles
I shot some video bouldering and it was enlightening to see that all that practice paying attention to my foot placements has made me really conscious of getting a good foot stick first time, but, I sure need to start doing the same with my hands as I tend to shift them from one hold to the other before I finally move on. It's good to know what you need to work on. The basic drill for correcting this is known as Glue Hands.
Even though I am over 50 (just) I still find rest days hard to take. Especially if the weather is good. The old drive to keep going, going, going is still there, not that much lessened by the years, and, it is only learning from past experience that I'll climb better tomorrow (and have more fun) that I manage to take rest days.
Big Sky track