Fields of Green

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I’d always heard the phrase, “When in doubt… run it out!”  I’d like to change or modify that saying, “When in doubt… JUMP!”

Situated a few feet above my last bolt, I clung precariously to small and awkwardly situated holds.  I was staring down almost two pitches of climbing.  I wanted to lock up; but I knew that the chains were only a few feet away.  The problem one may ask? There was a massive jump up and sideways to reach them.  I am an incredibly jumpy climber.  It really makes me a happy climber; and yet, I was a little scared of this jump.  Sideways momentum always has an odd way of twisting or turning a climber in painful directions.

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After depleting all my options and I committed to jumping. Feelings of adrenaline surged; I felt myself take flight.  Soaring a few hundred feet above the forest floor of New Zealand’s coveted Darrens; I felt alive rocketing towards an unknown hold.  In a blurred mixture of blue/grey Granite I gripped the stone in a wild contorted drive-by and constricted my core to control my feet.  Moving in a crazy sideways motion I felt my grip begin to slip a little and watched as my fingers peeled off.  I plummeted back to my last bolt.  A little miffed I pulled myself back to the bolt and set up to try again.  This time I was going to stay.  Jumping I felt the final hold and latched on; and after gaining complete control I clipped the chains.  It wasn’t a send, but it was a start.  Unfortunately; I didn’t get to hop back on this project, I had to leave the next day and twilight was beginning to drop on us.

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Sitting at the chains, I stared out across to the adjacent gorge and watched as water lazily fell from the massive walls to the forest floor below.  I had only two days to make the most of this beautiful area and so far had visited two crags, Little Babylon and The Chasm.  I was fortunate to have Mayan as a guide.  She was giving me a tour of New Zealand’s climbing and it had been a long time since I had seen her so psyched.  It all seemed new to her even though she had grown as a climber in the magic of New Zealand. There is always a different energy when someone is showing their home.

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New Zealand is a beautiful country.  It contains every type of environment from beaches to intimidating peaks.  I was here for the climbing on the Southern Island;  from bouldering on Castle Hill, to ropes in Wanaka, and the Darrens.  Time was short; my visit to New Zealand was somewhat random, it was on the tail-end of a special mission to Australia; so this was bonus climbing!

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I decided instead of throwing myself headlong into a project; I would just try to onsight as much as possible.  I was wasted from the previous month in Australia, so a mellow enjoyable climbing trip was just what I needed.

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Crag after crag; climb after climb.  I was in heaven.  Small technical faces, to overhung powerful routes were everywhere; a veritable playground.

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Between crags I hunted hobbits as usual.  It was a complicated exercise and those little devils are hard to spot in the fields… I came up short.  But I did find one of these hiding in a boulder field.  I think Eddie was the next best thing to catching a hobbit!

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Even though my trip was short, I plan on going back to New Zealand and exploring the Darrens… because there is where the true adventure lies.

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