In a couple of weeks it will be 4 years since my first outdoor lead climb.

After quite a long period of plateau in my outdoor performances I have recently managed to climb two grade 26 climbs in the last few months:

  • 26th November 2022 - Fillet of Arnold (19 attempts) video
  • 12th January 2023 - Wombat (11 attempts) video
Alexei on Wombat (26) at Wye Creek, Queenstown, NZ
Alexei on Wombat (26) at Wye Creek, Queenstown, NZ

I am super happy about these two climbs. They were both beautiful climbs and enjoyable experiences. I initially found Fillet of Arnold mentally challenging as there are only 4 bolts for about 19 metres of climbing, so it has a much more run-out feeling than most modern sport climbing routes in NZ. I managed to climb this route while I was on sabbatical in Christchurch. It was a nice change to be able to go to the project after work and put in a couple of efforts. It meant that it became my longest project in terms of days spent on it, since easy access and short approach times did not put a high price on multiple visits. It also lessened the pressure.

Wombat was a quite different prospect. We were on holiday in Queenstown and had limited time. But it came together quickly and the route is bolted in quite a friendly manner except for the last easier section to the anchor.

Overall these two successes have given me a lot more confidence that I can continue to improve over the next few years. I still have a lot of improvement to make in technique and movement, as well as finger strength. It is a slow but steady process :)