We may not be Mary Shelley, but I think theDIHEDRAL may give her a run for her money when it comes to monster plotting. Yes, the monster in Frankenstein was pretty awesome (despite his ocean of depression and murderous tendencies), but our monster is of a new breed—the rock climber. Sure, Adam Ondra, Margo Hayes, Alex Puccio, Tommy Caldwell, etc., are all insanely good climbers, but the majority of us will likely never be as good as these guys on their worst days. BUT…could we if we all combined our strengths, creating a climbing monster of our own? Meet Frankenhedral, our climber who will be taking all of the techniques that each of us drew from our climbing buddies. What are the rules? No one can attack me for high-clipping (I’d like to continue living in my fantasy where that’s safe), no one hijack the mission (Carrot can’t give Frankenhedral sloppy footwork), and no one can choose from the enemy (pro-climbers—plebeian climbers only).
I am no Victor Frankenstein, but I hope I can create a monster as magnificent as his.
Quite a monster himself, my good friend JB has the most desirable climbing style. It may take him an hour to move from 5.7 to 5.10a, but don’t be fooled; right after a few 10s he hops right on his 5.12 or 5.13 project, working the final two moves for the clean send. As a route setter, I recognize how moves are sequenced and beta is forced. What’s awesome about JB is that he has no regard for flow or sequencing. From 5.7 to 5.13, he won’t follow the intended beta unless it’s a coincidence. To him, a route isn’t a sequence of movements created by a certain set of holds, but rather an array of varying holds that you can select from to link your moves in any way you’d like. This perspective helps you practice for outdoor climbing, and it helps you not get caught in the setters’ webs of treachery.
Another good friend JB, although he is a boulderer (I know, I know…how could High-Clip be friends with a boulderer…), is one of the most powerful climbers known to mankind. An iron junkie, JB just crushes everything in his path, and is ALWAYS game to try hard. It’s no secret that I probably spend more time shaking out (even on micro crimps, compression moves, etc.) than actually climbing. JB had once said he admired how much I rest and how I can rest anywhere, but I admire how he doesn’t waste time resting. He can climb an overhung 5.12 without shaking out once. What’s cool is he doesn’t give himself the chance to get pumped, overthink, or mess up the order of his hands trying to find the ideal rest. He hops on the route and climbs.
One of my biggest climbing and route setting inspirations, Andrew, who you’ll meet soon on our podcasts, can climb anything if there’s no volume limit. And I don’t mean climbing volumes…I mean sound volume. I have never heard anyone yell and grunt and “tsa” the way that Andrew does. I mean, any time he puts in an ounce of effort, you can hear him across the gym. On the plus side, when you belay him you’ll never lose focus, and he can’t surprise you with a fall. I was certainly skeptical about this yelling technique, but it works wonders. Instead of internalizing all of that agony when you move dynamically to a garbage sloper around the arete, losing your heel and desperately trying not to deck at second clip, you just “tsaaaaaa” or “buuuuup” it all out.
Climbing is part of our lives, but there is so much more to climbing than just the physical challenge. There is the adventurous spirit, the appreciation of the outdoors, the drive to sustain a lifestyle even when time and body won’t allow it. And there is also the experience itself. Each moment out on the trail or in the mountains or on the wall is about so much more than just the trail, the mountain, or the wall. Because of this, I’d like to acknowledge Frankie’s attributes that go beyond movement and ability.
We met Lil Devv (@littledevv) about a year and a half ago when we were inspired by her ocean pollution rant. Actually, to be more precise, her impassioned plea inspired our Plastic Cap challenge and created a type of awareness about sustainability that we probably didn’t have before. I guess getting “cussed” at is all it takes? 🤷 I have not climbed with Dev, nor actually met her in person, but following her journey through social media has made me admire the way she lives life and works toward following her dreams. This girl is a certified Yoga instructor, travels around the world, and is vocal about the environment and the beauty of exploring other cultures. Passion and respect take you a long way and these are qualities I would love my Franken-person to have.
MARTHA!!! Martha Kennedy has followed our journey from the start, being the most encouraging and loving person along the way. From correcting my grammatical issues to supporting my existential crises, Martha has proven to be an outstanding human being. For some reason, I know I can count on her and hopefully she feels the same way about us! She is smart, wise, and funny. Martha never fails to share her amazing adventure stories whenever she thinks it’s appropriate. Her knowledge about life and nature bring a different perspective to our own experiences. She is the type of person you would love to have by your side whenever you are losing hope on a trail. Because of all these qualities, Frankie would be honored to have a side of Martha in his/her life.
Ryan Siacci, ESQ. over at zenandtheartofclimbing.com can tell a story. I’ve never climbed with him, I’ve never seen him climb, and even if I wanted to, he lives ½ way around the world. Independent of Ryan’s climbing; he knows how to make people laugh. With vivid descriptions and brutal honesty Ryan draws his readers in with some combination of sincerity, inspiration, and insanity. So toss those attributes into the Frankie cocktail along with what I assume to be an Australian accent, and this super climber just became a super pal!
When High-Clip recommended the concept for this week’s group collaboration, it didn’t take me long to pick out the attributes I wanted for our Frankenclimber. If I’m building a climber from ground up I’m taking elements from my team. High-Clip displays patience at the crux like no other, she finds her rest spots and takes time to recover in order to pull the move. Casen is one of the most fearless people I know, I’ve seen him try things on routes that I would never dream of. His limits for what is possible extend far beyond most. Gaia has a level of determination that is rare to come by. I’ve seen Gaia work problems until her fingers bleed. The determination of this woman is a lesson in fortitude, which extends far beyond the wall. But most of all, this Frankenclimber needs personality. Who cares how good someone is if you don’t enjoy their company. If I can bring in the personalities of High-Clip, Casen, and Gaia, then I know Frankenhedral and I would be dying (of laughter) both on and off the wall!