There was little else I thought about for the last week... It was plainly obvious to those I work with that my mind was somewhere else - I spoke to various non-climbing folk about it but they just looked puzzled... Rhythm and Stealth meant nothing to them but everything to me.
I crossed the river over to Big Jane this morning and I knew I had it in me... I just wasn't sure it would all come together. Dec sounded certain as he repeatedly told me that I'd get Rhythm and Stealth today...
So we arrived at the problem having warmed up in the ruins. I was strong on the opening sequence and slapped up to the crimp, but like last week - I narrowly missed out each time, spinning off only to be caught by Mark who's spotting made working the problem easy as I never had to think twice about going for each move. Dec sent it after 2 or 3 attempts and I said 'right, one last go'...
I moved easily through the opening sequence and slapped up to the crimp and caught it, I looked down to the right to move my heel up but my left hand greased off the crimp and I was spat off the line again.
I was delighted I'd caught the crimp - and it felt positive from the angle you catch it - but I was so disappointed to have fallen off. I said I was happy to walk away, but the guys were so encouraging of me to try again. I slapped up but failed to catch the crimp and fell once again.
I said 'ok that's it, I'm done'
Again I was delighted to have caught the crimp once and knew I'd be back in the morning...
Mark said he'd like another go on the problem and I kept my shoes on, happily using his last go as an excuse to take one final shot at sending Rhythm and Stealth after he was done.
I stood under the problem knowing that I wouldn't waste this attempt. Dec had suggested marking my arm with chalk to know how much of it disappears around the boulder before the crimp is caught. I did so and felt like I was writing notes on my forearm before I went into an exam!
I pulled on and felt really positive through the opening moves. I slapped with way more effort than ever before up to the crimp and caught it. My heart was racing as I easily moved my heel into the opening jug. I reached up with my right hand to the finishing hold and thought, 'oh my god, this is it - I can send this!'
I knew the top out was hard, but had just seen Dec make it look easy, so I thought just do it his way!! I matched my left hand up and moved out right... I asked Dec to give me some beta and standing on the boulder behind he talked me through it.
With arms shaking as I refused point blank to let go, I moved my left foot up to the finishing jug and rocked over.
It was mine, Rhythm and Stealth was sent!
My first 7a.
Haven't stopped smiling since.
We had icecreams in the car park after.