10 December 2023

Pure Imagination redpointed by Tina Johnsen Hafaas

Tina Johnsen Hafsaas has completed Pure Imagination (8c+) in Red River Gorge (KY). The Norwegian has been an active IFSC competition climber for 15 years straight and her best result was fourth place in, Chamonix, in 2017. (c) Colette McInerney

How did you prepare for the trip?
I prepared for this trip in the gym. Mostly crimpy circuits on spray wall, but I also climbed outdoors on a home project once a week to prep my skin. I was pretty consistent with two days of climbing with every day 1 including hard bouldering too. I would typically do bouldering and short circuits day 1 and longer circuits day 2. If I felt too tired to boulder with quality I would do full session circuits, they are always easier for me to complete with high quality. Coming from competitions I am used to a training schedule with varied style, and a lot of the time is spent working weaknesses, but preparing for this trip I really embraced my strengths and the style I would meet in the Red. It was fun!

How was your progress on the route?
My process on the route was pretty linear, but quite slow. Because it is so sharp I couldn’t climb a lot on it every session, and that’s kind of what you want to do in the beginning while learning moves, sequences and how to rest. But I had to be smart with my skin and focus on building it up rather than tearing down. I did first half of the trip climbing on Pure with fresh skin and power after a rest day, and play around on side projects day 2, but I quickly realized skin was a crucial piece in this puzzle so as soon as I got into send mode I rested more and prioritized to get as many day 1’s as possible. I felt pretty confident on the top and did boulder to top link quite fast, but getting through the bottom boulder took me days.

My tactic was to be in a position to send once I got through the boulder. I didn’t do that, but I got pretty close second time I passed it by sticking the bump which is the red point crux, and falling going into the last rest. After this try I knew I would send, I just needed one more good day. Some bad weather followed, which gave me time to work on some new details and heal a flapper and split.

I would say some of the hardest in the process was to actually try hard. I spent days just playing on the route, finding beta and being happy with small links, and going from this chill attitude to actually try hard took a few more sessions than I thought it would. If I was to do it again I would make sure to try harder as soon as I thought it was possible. After having put in the work it all came down to details, conditions and skin. I did Omaha Beach (8b+) right after. It was a good day.

What is next and what about competitions in 2024?
Next is to continue to explore my limits on rock. I’ve never really had the time, in between competitions and the preparation that requires, but now I will take some time and focus on rock. I have a few exciting trips planned for both sport and bouldering, and also climb more on home turf. I just came back from a long-term injury so I just want to keep the momentum going and do whatever excites me. Right now that is training for rock projects and being out there trying hard.
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