Never give up! Pooferator
This month I’ve decided to write about something a little selfish though I hope in the end you’ll get a little something out of it, a moral or something. I thought I would write about a route many of you have heard me speak of and know I have wanted to do since I first fondled the amazing holds. Pooferator.
I first tried this route many many years ago with a friend. At the time I was no way near strong enough for it and could barely do the first move off a crimp to a slope. I managed to do the moves but also knew it was way out of my league. I next got on it in 2007 when I moved to the Blue Mountains. A good friend of mine was working it and I thought it would be awesome to work it together. So there we were, totally obsessed! We both loved the route. It is a route with perfect holds and the moves are nothing short of sublime.
The route basically has no rests until the main crux is done, about 20moves. There is then a small rest followed by one more move, a committing dyno when the sun if often in your eyes. From there you can have a rest and it’s then just section rest, section rest, etc.
When we started to work it, so did 3 or 4 other people. This was awesome, some days there would be 3 or 4 of us who would take it in turns, shot after shot. A super good atmosphere, screaming encouragement at one another, seeing high points, getting close though nobody ended up sending. Shortly after I started to work it, I moved to Mt Victoria to start Uni (A very bad move for my climbing, guess it’s paid off career wise though ?) Whilst living up the top of the Mountains I didn’t really train, I got out on rock a bit when uni wasn’t full on, though not much plastic time. I thought I didn’t really need to train as the rock was so easy to access, I was very wrong! You need to train to keep up the power and recruitment in your muscles (well, I do anyway). If you don’t train, even if you are climbing, you will slowly decline in strength. This would be different if you were just bouldering or mixing the two, but route climbing, as there are easy sections with definite cruxes I think you slowly lose the power needed to do hard routes and boulders. You just need to continue to top it up. Be thankful we now have a great gym!
Pooferator was one of those epic battles which just took ages to fall into place. I started to become close to sending pooferator whilst I was living in Glenbrook. I was falling entering the crux (a drive by move), throwing across yourself. Left hand at 9 o’clock, right hand at 3 o’clock and throwing right hand up to 12 o’clock, if that makes sense. I would fall doing the move, then pull up the rope, do the move and go to the top. I had done this many times and was close until a friend of mine broke the foot hold I used. The hold went from being ok to stand on to close to a smear. This made it harder for sure.
From there I was in two minds to either stay with the same way I was trying, or change my sequence to do it another way which didn’t suit me though had proven to work. This was somewhat detrimental as I really couldn’t decide. Eventually I decided on keeping my sequence though I would from time to time try it another way and wonder. Being in two minds about a sequence is not good, it puts doubt in your mind and that consequently makes you second guess yourself which affects your confidence levels. The end outcome is never going to be successful.
I eventually ended up with severe elbow tendonosis in both elbows. At the time, it hurt to wash my face and I couldn’t even do a chin up without severe pain. I had had enough of climbing, it was super painful and it didn’t seem to ease even though I was doing exercises which were recommended. In the morning they hurt and basically I had had a gutful. We ended up moving to Newcastle shortly after moving to Mt Vic as I was in a car accident where my car was written off and we did not have a second vehicle. Somehow I walked away without injury. That together with my elbows and a bunch of other stuff we had to move on. Newcastle was the only place accepting mid-year enrolments, so off we went.
Once in Newcastle I pretty much thought my climbing life was over, my elbows still hurt, even paddling when in the surf. I took 6months off or so and didn’t climb, slowly they cleared up and climbing was back on the cards in between uni. Once back into climbing I predominately bouldered, I did the occasional route, though as I hadn’t done much previously and it was closer than Nowra or the Mountains it seemed logical. However, there was always a feeling of unfinished business. Throughout the years I lived in Newcastle, I would still from time to time go up and try Pooferator, though obviously not as much as when I lived up there. I came very close not long after Pulse opened. I got through the crux 3 times in a day and was making awesome progress. I went back two weeks in a row though one of the weeks there was a waterfall running off it and the next week it was still wet, I couldn’t even do the moves.
I left the route for another 12 months and focused on other routes and boulders, but again there was an unfinished feeling and a feeling that I hadn’t accomplished what I invested so much time into. I started training this year and committed myself to sending the route after I spoke to one of my mates I was working it with (Dave). I began training the way I used to, back when I lived in Canberra and was climbing every weekend. I was determined, focused, and extremely driven. Before I started uni this was the norm for me, I guess 4 years altered my way of life. I went back to the route with Michael, that day I got through the crux twice, it felt like I had never had a break from it. I further went back with Pete Grezl two or three weeks after and climbed through the crux five times in the one day. Normally, I wouldn’t even try the route more than three times, so I knew it was close. I went back a third day over Easter with my brother and finally sent it first shot after I had put the draws on it.
To finish the route was a dream come true, it’s not just the fact that it’s a hard route. It’s the fact that it had occupied my thoughts for many years, it was a part of where I am today (Newcastle). I received a phone call of my acceptance into uni underneath it whilst I was hiding in the shade waiting to have a shot. It had given me injuries where I thought I would never climb again. It had teased me with progress then took it away again. The route is renowned for being hard to link even though the moves aren’t too bad, I feel privileged to finally close that chapter of my life.
Never give up on what you want to succeed on. One day you will reflect on your accomplishments or lack thereof and wonder if you could have done anything different to succeed. If you want something bad enough, find a way to make it happen, sure, it may not happen 100% per cent of the time but I guarantee you’ll learn a hell of a lot about yourself and have memories for a lifetime.
Hope it helps.