Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Snowbound magic wood

Rest day today. Got up late, had nothing in so went into town for cash and patticere. Got some shopping and headed back to flat. Thinking about brione or magic wood. Was so warm outside figured magic could be good. Got all excited about Octopussy and or pt2 and jumped in the car with a flask full of coffee. And james. Beautiful scenery on way to san bernardino, very snowy. Turned off for avers and parked at the gasthaus, which was shut. The old bunkhouse has been demolished and there were no signs of life in the village at all. Walked down to the bridge and crossed to the blocs in heavy snow. Walked right through to the Bruno, but to be honest everything was wet and that which wasn't was covered in verglass. A lot of it wasn't recognisable and it was hard work and somewhat teacherous getting around. Made it to the Bruno bloc and cote du was icy, but pt2 felt good! I was cold though and hadn't brought stuff, plus landing was death! There are still pads hidden away up there though, but figured would save strength as have felt achey today.

Given the option of slithering back through the blocs or taking the wire of death, I zipped across the wire. James decided on the path. This may have been the more sensible choice, as I slogged up the frozen snow slope it became apparent that the prospect of failure was high and the consequences even higher. When you get to the top of the path in summer, you have to mantel the side of the road and pull on the crash barrier to get out, this is hard when there's 3 inches of frozen snow and your hands are numb. Had to warm them up sufficiently to be able to feel, then managed to wedge foot in a hole in the wall and undercut the side of the road (no snow!) enough to get stood up. Then I could get the barrier and get onto the road. A sigh of relief!

Waited for james at the top and took down the details for the new bunkhouse. James had done new base line and piranja in his trainers on the walk back through the forest. Inspirational stuff. Wish I could have seen it to be honest. Apparently there was snow in the new base log crack which he had to clear with his free hand on the ascent. Waddage.

Sacked it to thusis for a hot chocolate, then drove back to claro for tea and a beer. Tomorrow, cresciano. Going to look at Franks wild years, dt stand and Kirk windtain. Possibly also la boule but splits not good, and that one is sharp.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

More stories of failure

Disappointed, went back to chironico again today.

Warmed up on a problem I thought was called sloper attacke (it was in blochart) and then had a look at something called the shield. Did the top of the real shield, but don't think I did the first move, which seemed to be about 8b to even pull on. Only got 7c mind.

When warm walked over to le pilier. on the first go of the day I blazed to the top with one finger taped and I jumped and I hit the sloper below the top jug and bailed! No! Had another go and got to the top again but had started to open another hole in another finger. Now that's gutting.

Sacked it as with two fingers taped it didn't feel good, felt like I was creeping on the holds. Walked down to serre moi forte. Had a look and it seemed well hard. Emailed tc and I think I know what had to do but felt a bit deflated and didn't really try too hard. Walked back to the birds and Raindogs to meet james. Pulled on and did the birds first go but bumped ass into a bloc nearby (its a big ass) so waited a bit and did it again shortly after.

James and I walked back to le Pilier but no more progress was made. Went back out to soucoupe roof for james to finish vitruvian man. It looked like it was within grasp but evaded him and we sacked iT home. I had horrific stomach cramps from the red bull. It might work for bernd, but it didn't work for me!

So, feel a bit frustrated more than disappointed, as know now more than ever that am capable, but skin may well prevent sending it. Feel strong in the fingers as have done some easier stuff really fast and with no fuss. Should really have got this done. Gonna leave it tomorrow and see how the fingers recover. Poo and wee.

Monday, 29 January 2007

We met Dave Graham's girlfriend

Another great weather day today, bit too warm to be honest. Realised we had left the chironico guide underneath Raindogs and drove straight up there to retrieve. Had a quick look at serre moi forte and it looks well good and within realm of possibilty.

Headed home and eventually made it to cresciano for 1300. James did a good circuit of steady problems in the grottes soupirs area before walking up to la pioche. After about an hour of working the moves (and james is getting close) a couple turn up, they seem very nice and chatty and everything and put their pads down. We get a bit of beta off them and james and the two new people get involved. Then out of nowhere james sticks the first move and before I know it he is at the lip setting up to throw to the top, he skittles but holds it down and sends la pioche - 7b+\7c. Good work. And the girl is Dave's girlfriend (or ex) layla. Anyway, she was very friendly and psyched.

Spag bol for tea. Day off has helped rehab the tips. Heading back there for a re match tomorrow! Pray it goes down quickly!

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Disappointing but good...

Woke up this morning to glorious sunshine. Amazing view from the flat, had about 20 coffees and headed out. Can't emphasise how sunny it was! Coming from the uk - where it has been raining for ever! Time about 1130. Drove to restaurant which sells the guide books and bought the Chironico guide. Decided to head up there to look at le pilieur and serre moi forte. Some snow about but not too deep. Went to soucoupe roof and warmed up. Did what I have called la coupe (its now called vitruvian man) in two goes and then had a look at la soucoupe. In an improvement on previous years I managed to pull on and move but never hit the next hold. James tried vitruvian and came close but wasn't properly warmed up so we left it. Decided to walk on to rest of blocs.

After questing through fairly lightweight snow we arrived at le doights verts and set up camp under le pilieur. Phoned tc who explained how to do it so I set to working the moves. After a few fumbling goes it was clearly on! Fantastic! Next go got to the top! You make a tricky rock to a good edge, step left foot on and the I was trying to lock and reach back left to a slope before adjusting feet again and popping hand for the top. So, I'm at the top eyeballing this sloper and I move for it but its not quite right and i'm off! Next go is the same! Arrgh! Try the top bit on its own and its fine. Remember tc said to jump and try that. It works! Damn! Should have done that in the first place! Rest up and try from the bottom. A small split has started to appear in right index finger, have another go and bail on the rock up to the top edge, shit! Finger really starting to split now. Arse! Won't admit to myself that its not gonna happen today and have another go, so tape up and attempt to carry on. It doesn't work and I have to admit defeat. Had I not been so close I wouldn't have been so psyched and would have stopped earlier! How irritating!

Quest on with james and reach an amazing looking slab with an undercut ripple across the middle. Like a giant Boston mess on steroids. James does a problem to the left and I take some pictures. We see some guys in a roof behind and it looks fab. James' imagination is captured and he gets involved. The problem is called the birds and is 7c. To the left is raindogs which looks fully desperate! Get chatting to some ginger haired German dude who is wearing school shoes. James makes progress but its nearly dark so we sack it back to the car and go home for tea.

Loads easier when there's less snow about! A good day but frustrating. Currently watching momento on ipod.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Finding feet in Switzerland

Thank god for TC! Flights fine (fly to MALPENSA in future! Its much closer! 1 hrs to cresc from airport), hire car fine (peugeot 1007, electronic sliding doors!) but had not gotten any details other than sketched map of where we were staying! Vik who booked the room is in America and therefore I didn't want to call her and the only other person that knows where it is is TC! Ring him and badly describe what I can see, sounds like I am only round the corner, so with him on the phone do a bit of anneka rice running on the phone to find the accomodation! Thank god for tc! Knock on door of family house and get shown round and sign for our little flat! Sorted! Thank god. Very tired. Went for walk through the blocs, nice and cold, good weather. Bought another guide and think la boule looks fab. Gonna try tom. Pizza and beer in eve. Going to sleep now.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Last training update

Just got back from the board. Had an ok session. Reckon about a 6.5. It was cold and took a while to get going, plus, I felt a bit sluggish. Did the following :

Basic Ben
School Boy
Mr Blobby the swing man
Driller Killer

but finally, and most notably - Driller Killer (hammer horror v)! hooray! I love to do a new problem! Steve Mac turned up with a man to take some pictures. Went to Leeds yesterday with TC. Felt ok until I pulled on and then thought I was rubbish. Said as much to him and he said 'how do you know you are rubbish?' as the problems were new and might actually be hard. Anyway, thats it. Next update from Switzerland.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

4 training days till Cresc

Last night I was meant to go to the board. The honey monster had the day off though, so I went home first, and she decided not to go to the gym. As I didnt want to be out of the house for 3 hours I went for a run. Ran my new circuit (will post a map cut out) which is 4.97km in 27minutes. It is cross country before you say thats slow. Anyway, that means tonight is the last board session before Cresciano. This is a minor inconvienience as Wednesday I climb with TC at leeds. If I have already climbed tonight, there is a chance I will be rubbish and tired - but the moral of the day is to focus. So when I go tonight I will have bigger rests and just try my new harder project. Imagine the psyche effect if it goes down before Cresc!
Additionally, the snake pass was shut this morning, so she is working from home. I know she is not going to the gym today, hopefully she wont mind my going to the board for a bit. Ulp.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Strange filming at the school

So, made it to the board yesterday, as I arrived, there were a few cars outside, but all down the other end. Wandered into the building and all was quiet, could hear some beats coming from our room and thought it strange, and burst in on Steve Mac, Ben Heason and about ten dudes with video cameras! Steve asked whether I had turned up to be filmed in response to that email... The penny dropped! Nic sent a mail out a week or so ago saying :

"Steve McClure has been in touch. He has been contacted by a film maker who wants some fierce campus footage at the school. There may be some £ involved. He wants to film on the 21st of January. As anyone knows I would be the natural choice for anything campus but unfortunately I'm away. Is anyone available to do this? Good opp for £ and fame on the best training format about. Get in contact with email-address-omitted"

Shit! so rather sheepishly admitted I had forgotten and asked whether it was cool to climb - dont want to be in the way or owt! It was and they were quite pleased as they claimed to be weak. Warmed up and felt quite sparky so got stuck in on a couple of classics, but suspect showing off/warming up too fast took its toll and sparky soon changed to shaky. Did the Schoolboy for the cameras, and it felt steady to the last move, then I sort of lost it somehow. Ah well. Pulled on Basic Ben (which I havent fallen off since I first did it) and failed! did it next go but still, felt a bit nervous - probably under pressure from film crew or to perform or summat. Did woodology again and then Keith turned up. The low pinch (14) on woodology is loose again, so Keith did an elimanate version which avoids it altogether. He texted me to tell me and I wound him up that there were no witnesses - he then sent a video! I think it looks hard!

The film dudes wanted to film Ben and Steve talking about what got them started climbing. So funny. Steve's media pedigree was obvious as he fielded the questions with well thought out answers whilst Ben seemed more nervous. Anyway, finished not long after that and spent the rest of the day with the monster. Went to the cinema in the evening and saw Miss Potter. I liked it.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

The rain stopped!

So, for the first day in ages, the rain stopped yesterday, but I had been away all week so I didnt feel I could rush off out climbing and leave the monster as it wouldnt have been fair. So I hung for a while and we went out for dinner (thyme cafe) and had a nice evening.

Ordered an N73 from eBay but its simlocked to three. You cant unlock a BB5 nokia phone normally (i.e. with a third party) so you have to get the network to do it for you, and as I am not the registered owner of the phone I probably wont be able to do it. So I have put it back on eBay! Anyway, time for breakfast. Hoping to get to the board today.

Friday, 19 January 2007

Testing testing 123

I am a dimwit. Sent this out this morning, just spotted what's wrong with it! Here is this mornings post :

Morning! Last morning in the hotel down south. Can't wait to get back to the honey monster and the cat, have missed them both a lot. Anyway, I have a blackberry (am the blackberry geek) and wondered whether you could post via email? And you can, and this is a test of such. Advantage of this is that now I will be able to compose a post offline and then mail it in. When am roamed onto foreign networks for instance this will be ideal. Psyched. Anyway, got to pack my bags and check out. Final day on the course, tutor man reckons we should be away by three, but I think I will be 4hrs in the car. She is going out tonight which is unfortunate, but she mentioned going to the gym in the morning, so perhaps I will get to my beloved board? Hope so, want to get back on my project!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Flash in the pan

Bored. Sat in Bracknell in a hotel with nothing better to do. Just read Jonboys blog and kinda thought, well, I did try and keep one on, but that always troubled me as it seemed too public. I dont plan to tell anyone about this one, but then again, I dont plan to hide it either.

Its a funny thing blogging. Not really sure that I feel a need to share my thoughts with the world, and have no tangible excuse like Jon for starting one (he is going away). Perhaps it will be like a diary, but I expect really I will complete it a few times and then sack it off. Not sure I like it - blogging. Feel a bit exposed. Thinking at the moment I will use it as a personal diary.

Wondering whether to get another pint. Wish I was at home. Usually, when it gets to this point in the evening, she announces she is going to bed and happilly I turn the lights off and join her. In a hotel away from home (when would a hotel ever be at home?) and theres nothing better to do, which is surely an excellent catalyst for the blog beginings.

Bracknell. Its in the south of England. Somewhere off to the left of london. I got here tuesday - which would have been the 16th Jan. Hardly ideal to be honest, as I go to Cresciano for a weeks climbing in another week. My point being, I dont want a week in a hotel getting fat before a week when I want to climb well. So with that in mind I have been trying to maintain psyche and have driven across this money saturated countryside to a place called Guildford to visit a indoor wall called Craggy island. Its a good wall. There are shit loads of people who go to it and they are dead keen. Theres no climbing scene as such, the people who use the wall are replacing the gym with the wall - which is fine, and they have none of the pretentions of 'normal' climbers. They're keen to get involved and try hard. Fuck me, its hot that wall though. Far to hot to be honest. Had a nice chat with owner manager dude this eve (at least, thats who I think he was) and said as much to him. He'd never had anyone complain it was too hot and was fully geared up in a sweatshirt etc. It was so hot that my feet were really hurting in my shoes. Had to switch down to my velcros as the v10s were crippling.

The Croxinator has set some nice problems, and his comp pedigree is evident. For someone I thought of as strong but technically dense, he sets good problems that climb well and require thought and skill. Did his problems on the board (which has too many big holds) and set a couple of my own. Held back on the names - felt like John Redhead in a politically correct non-understanding non climbing southern world. Wanted to call my white problem White Might, but with Jade Goodey and BB Racism row in the background I settled for White trash - which does seem more appropriate. Did another crimpy problem which I wanted to call 'Soft southern bastard'. About 7a+ to the last move, then a 'practice of the wild' throw backwards to a sloping franklin hold. Shit, do I sound like Si O? (by the way, I did get that other pint. Its nearly finished now) anyway, I called it something shit like 'School boy out of water'. Perhaps I feel homesick. THe white one was named as it was all on white holds. So, an insight into the climbing scene down south? not really, loads and loads of people, not very great climbers, definately some victims of being good at their wall and the best in their scene but without exposure to anyone else completely convinced of their own brilliance, but mainly a lot of really nice people dead keen to get some climbing done, not privy to the scene gossip and backstabbing of sheffield - its amazing how much you take the scene for granted, and its amazing how much a part of it I am. Well, the scene is my friends. Right. Finished beer. Off to bed.

So anyway, yesterday I did all bar two of the problems on the main bouldering bit. Today I finished one of the two but the other was about 8b and I ached. Yesterday I planned a two hour sesh and was there for 3.5. Today I was a bit rubbish to be honest. Lets say 7.5 for yesterday and 6 today. Ok. Finish beer - off to bed. Have enjoyed typing this, but still dont think I will keep it up.