Everyday Dirtbag Entry #38.

My friend Jerry just got the first top-rope ascent of his weird and wicked corner variation at The Columns. His route is creative and pumpy, technical and hard. But, more importantly, it’s an ascent of tenacity.

When he thought of it, the 47-foot eliminate, last year, it seemed nearly impossible. The crux hold, as thin as half-a-dime, is barely crimpable. Skin-flaking and chippy. Nasty.

So Jerry – of course – started working it. And by late spring, he had it down to one fall.

Get to the crux, snag the crimp, then blow. Every time. He could get back on and finish, but he couldn’t piece it together.

Then, in May, when he had the moves so wired that his feet and hands went to the perfect locations without any thought at all…he blew a finger tendon.

And the finger was totaled. When I ran into him in July (having not seen him at The Columns all summer), he still hadn’t climbed.

At all.

Two and a half months of zero climbing.

But August came and he began working the project once again. He’d climb, fall, and climb some more. Down to two falls, then one, then one again. And finally, a couple weeks ago, he sent the route.

He said, “After sticking the crux, the jugs at the top felt horrible, slippery. And I almost fell after everything hard was done.”

But he didn’t.

A year of thinking. A half-year of trying. One blown finger tendon. Patient healing. A month of retraining.

And one excellent send.

I like that.

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