Friday, 30 May 2008

Peaks and troughs

Since I got back from Ireland I've been rubbish at rock climbing. Suspect have been a bit tired and/or the atmospheric conditions have not been ideal. Wednesday with James and Ed - I was rubbish. It didn't feel like it should be too bad, but I dont think I actually got to the top of anything. I tried again yesterday and was still rubbish, and in fact - still felt it from the day before, so I am going to go with being tired as my excuse. Anyway, its frustrating. I want to always be on it. Peaks and troughs.
Weather is supposed to pick up through the day today and be 21 degrees tomorrow. But where will be dry? Gadzooks, the problem with all this outdoor action is that you get addicted to it. Training doesnt hold the same thrill as the prospect of ticking something new in the real world. Still, I think thats a good thing. I feel I am ambling along the right path these days.
I've got some new shoes to pick up which is quite exciting. 5.10 jet7's I think.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Woman and horse

Here is a camera phone photo of a photo that was on display in the holiday accomodation at Devil's Glen this weekend... Sure you will agree that this is a timeless and beautiful image :
I found it on my camera phone and just had to share.

Haggis wedding

I am almost always tired out on Friday night, which is why I try to take it easy then with a view to being useful on Saturday. If you start the weekend tired, it seems all but impossible to recover. For some reason (I think because it meant not having to rush home from work), I had booked flights that weren't until 2200. Hire car was an automatic silver 5 door Hyundai Getz. I wonder if it was auto because lots of americans think they're irish? Mercifully its only an hour down to Ashford from Dublin, and it was late o'clock so we made good time. Found the place we were staying and after having rung Michelle to find out which cottage we were in (waking her up - in the car on the way to the ferry - fully disasterous journey for those two) found our way to bed.

Devil's Glen (where we were staying) is a collection of holiday cottages attached to some kind of horse training centre. All the properties (as far as I know) were occupied by wedding party people, it was a nice morning and there looked to be the chance of better weather in the afternoon. After the obligatory fannying around drinking coffee we set off for Glendalough. The others had already gone and we needed shopping. By the time we'd got some provisions, parked in the wrong place, walked the wrong way and so on we would have had 20 minutes climbing time. Decided not to bother and to lie in the sun instead. Everyone arrived back just after three and started getting ready for the wedding which was at 5. I shouldnt imagine I will see my climbing friends so well dressed until there is another wedding to which we are all invited - everyone looked great. The wedding itself was up at a central building onsite at devil's glen - and that was one of the genius bits about the choice of venue - if you so desired, you could pop back to your house and have a moment, get changed - whatever. Very good. Ushering us to our seats best men Roy and Busby :

Soon after five everyone leapt from their seats as Shiv started her walk through the car park :

And then the ceremony. We were sat outside, and although as you can see the sun was out, it was really windy and quite cool. Ceremony was over in a flash - here are the happy couple regaling the party with their favorite sequences on staminaband :

And then, inside for the meal and drinks. Delightfully Mr Fullwood had been asked for beer recommendations, so we had Kelham island best and easy rider on draught. Next, the speeches... I can't remember the order people spoke in, but there was some real heartfelt emotion going on here. Looking down the line of hard outdoors extreme sports heros (and our table too), the girls were all in bits, Rob Smith, the Sausage and I were concentrating furiously on our breathing and only Nige and Jon looked unaffected. Very touching. Some food later and everyone was ready for the two shifty types to tell some jokes :

A best man's speech has to be all about sailing close to the wind without crossing the line. At points it appeared they werent so much as going to cross the line as ride a motorbike over it, but they didnt - a very well executed slightly risque speech that went down a storm. The evening finished with the compulsory wedding disco. Everyone had a great time - some more than others :

When Andy met Shiv, it was in the toilets at the Kendal Film festival. He wooed her by drinking a pint whilst doing a handstand, I mean - who could possibly resist such a feat? not shiv obviously. He got coerced into repeating the stunt :

Got to crack on - been writing this for ages! so the night continued, we all had a great time and everyone was well oiled. Other personal highlights - Joe dancing inappropriately with a wooden pig, Vicky telling everyone she was a rough as owt (!), and Mr Harris asking us all to cheer when a picture of him in the bath rotated past on the slideshow. The girls were hilarious and far out danced the boys. All tapered off around 2am.

Sunday started slowly, but I had restrained myself and felt pretty sparky. Couldnt muster much enthusiasm from the group for the boulders, but managed to get out eventually. The monster felt ropey! Glendalough is a very beautiful mountain setting for climbing, and as you approach it appears there is absolutely loads of rock, but when you get close to it much of it is knee high - in short, quite disappointing. What climbing there is is good, lovely granite and ok landings, and presumably theres much more than I saw in one short afternoon, but the general impression I got was that most of the blocs aren't actually climbable.

Once back at the house, we went out for our tea and then all piled round to one of the other houses to hang out and finish the beer off. A very funny evening ensued. Those who were on the ferry had been told that the middle of the day ferry was cancelled and were all getting up at daft o clock to get the 8am ferry home, so that put paid to any staying up late ideas. We werent flying until 2000, so we had all day to kill the next day, and thankfully Andy and Shiv were hanging about too. Come Monday morning we drove up to Shiv's mums house for a cuppa, and then on into Dublin to roam about for a few hours. Had lovely fish and chips at Howte courtesy of mr and mrs Harris and then a mooch around town - very nice. Back home to sheff tired but happy. A good weekend.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Equestrian meet

Had a brilliant session at the Foundry last night. I was blessed with two people to speak to instead of none. Firstly, 8B monster and potential Men's Health star Keith, who was climbing, and Britain's leading Bum doctor James Foley, who wasn't. Before yesterday afternoon I had three problems to do on the wave, and now - just one. Delightfully Keith flashed one that I had dismissed as impossible and it turns out that once again I had duped myself with an idiot boy sequence. I have one more hard problem to do. Lovely.
Keith is a climbing shire horse. He is ripped out of his mind, and these days is actually putting it to good use. I cant help but suppose that observers will note that the school closed and its too most obsessive exponents started ticking - me on the grit 7b's and he on the font 8b's.
Tonight we fly to dublin for Andy and Shiv's wedding. I shall as ever have the curse of mobile email, and I will be taking plenty piccies, so hopefully there should be updates.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


So, good news first - I can collect my car today. Cant wait! its been a right pain being without. Obviously, I still have to pay for it, but it is fixed and is working. I hope it feels and drives like it used to. Fingers crossed.
Water Cum Jolly cornice is pretty much dry. There are still quite a lot of wet holds here and there, and one of the rooves is still dripping a bit, but its more the odd drip than a constant stream. It was Dylan's first time. Sharples and Reeve already there getting involved with Monsterossity - which looks brilliant, but quite hard. I clip up Brachiation dance - which has lost a hold on the low slab, but I dont think it changes anything, you still teeter up the slab to the same position. Rumble through the next roof on clammy holds into the big loose block flake thing where I have a good shake and then exit on completely the wrong holds! I remember its not right and reverse back down, another big shake out and then up the right way into the top break. Remember what to do to cross the final roof and put into action my tried and tested sequence, but completely miss the jug and plummet bumfirst groundwards. Brilliant! should have warmed up really!
Dylan takes over and with my beta (!) romps to the top without too much fuss. Good effort. Someone else turns up who is on the free monster (in situ draws), we discuss going back to rubicon (I want to go on hot fun closing), but decide to stay and move stuff to disillusioned glue machine. Its filthy and has an extremely wet hold in the middle. Unfortunately, said hold is essential to success on the route, but we push on and work out a sequence on the top bit. I think I could do that without too much effort. Its one I will keep for when everything else is done.
Today I am at home (working). When it gets to lunchtime I plan to bike to Hillsborough to get the bike back, and then have to pop to the climbing works to do some computer shizzle. Hoping to climb tomorrow, but may well be at leeds in the day...

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

car fixed

I have just heard from the garage, and apparently my car is ready! hooray! all fixed, all working! shall collect tomorrow. Brilliant!

Morning glory

Spectacularly beautiful at 0530 this morning, and that's one thing I do love about having to get up so early in summer, you get to see the best of the day. And, there's something self righteous about being the only one about. Cycled down to the station this morning and caught the 0550 to Leeds. Should get to work for 0721. Plan to leave at 1434, gets home at 1544.

Went to the foundry last night. Bumped into Andy Hutchinson and did a bit on the wave with him whilst waiting for that dog Fletcher. Felt slow starting, but warmed up into it and ended the session (as Dylan and Lucy arrived) feeling pretty sparky.

Popped to Nic's to get mine and Keith's shirts and wish I had shared Keith's vision - orange looks ace! Anyway, spoke to Katherine as she is climbing tonight and was going to kilnsey. Then the monster decided to come home, so told Katherine that I would stay local and texted the parry, who has offered a lift. Katherine keen to do routes somewhere as would I be if we go somewher suitable - said I'd keep her posted.

Nearly in Leeds station now, better get my wits together (could take some time!)

Monday, 19 May 2008

I got love for the 80's

Friday - went to see Caramel - a Lebanese film centering around a beauty salon in beirut. Quite charming, but without really developing into anything - but perhaps my diet of action films with sickeningly obvious plot lines has muted my ability to see the sub plot. Nice anyway, go and see it. Indiana Jones - the kingdom of the crystal skull opens in canne this weekend. I cant wait - although I do expect disappointment.

Saturday morning club was on time and at Rubicon. Much cooler than previous weeks, met Jo Brown and James. Felt pretty sparky but didnt do anything hard. Had a first look at the reverse of the kudos wall trav, dispatching within a few goes, but unable to do low left into it. This could be doable though. Couldnt do Kudos hard as left leg hamstring hurts. This is an injury I picked up on Dick Williams, but that has never mended completely. I think perhaps I should go and see someone about it. Any sort of pulling with that leg is a bit hurty. Home by 1215 and off to Cafe Ceres for brunch where we met Busby and Ayshea. They joined us for lunch and it was lovely. Left me wondering why I/we dont see them more. Very pleasant. Other jobs through the aft, then 80's party!

Fairly well restrained, home just after 2, straight to bed and feeling fine the next day. Sister got back from her honeymoon on Sun, so had to give her back her car and am now fully car less. Rubbish. Climbing tonight - poss with Dylan at the Foundry. No idea what Ed, Ed, James, Paul, Jonboy etc have planned for the rest of the week, but I think I am deffo climbing tonight - hopefully routes, hopefully foundry. Tomorrow is a possible this week - I will be on the train to Leeds (am at home today), but planning to be on the one that gets back to sheff at 1544 - there is a chance the monster might stay at her mum's so if I can cadge a lift I might be able to get out then... Wednesday will depend on Tuesday. It now appears I might have to go in the office again on weds which is bad, and if I have been on tues I wont bother on weds. Planning to climb on thurs, but probably just in the day or a short evening session or summat.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Weekend plans and car updates

Popped in to see my car last night. Its in Sheffield engine services in Hillsborough. I got shown what had happened, and there were two faults : the turbo. We knew about this, but I actually got to see what had happened, and the fins (the bit that sucks air in) had completely detached and was freely moving inside the housing - knackered. Also, in the cylinder head theres this cracked valve port, but more interesting than that, its had a water problem for ages, and this could be seen as a fault with the head too. Its good, because I thought that was related to a fan not coming on in the engine bay, and that I would probably still have that problem when I got it back. So, the plan is - replace big end bearing shells, replace turbo and new cylinder head. The bores have been measured, and have no lip on them so essentially, its a full engine rebuild. I think this is a good reason to keep it herethereafter - I will know everything about it, and the whole lot will have been done. It will have had a new timing belt and everything, and these are expensive jobs to do later, so better now whilst its in bits. Also, it hadnt actually siezed. The oil leaking in from the turbo had gotten into the bores and they were hydraulic'ing - i.e the piston couldnt get to the top of the cylinder because there was oil in the way. When the man removed the head, he could turn the bottom of the engine over. Which is good. But we are still talking £2260 ex VAT.
After that little tour I popped to the Foundry for a short session. Bumped into Joe Brown which was a pleasure. He is hoping to be out on Saturday morning club (early) tomorrow. Plan I think will be to go to Rubicon. Especially if its going to be cooler, then perhaps I will get on better if I can find a belayer for Zeke. Also, theres the trio on the kudos wall to nip in a session. Speaking to Rob Napier, it sounds like Sharples has been to WCJ Cornice, and that its 'ok, but not dry enough for red pointing' - what does that mean? I think he is on Monsterossity. Bentley went last night, so when it gets to a sensible hour I will give him a text.
Finally, the school situation looks dire. I heard from Nic last night who attached a leaked fire report on the building from the council. Its very damning and I really dont hold much optimism for our getting back in there. A concerted effort to find a new home needs to be organised.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Edxi Usobrownia

Kilnsey is brilliant! totally different to anything in the peak, and therefore probably a mutually exclusive training regime required in order to succeed, but I reckon if you were going to Europe there would be few better places to get fit. Bullet hard brilliant rock, great moves and a beautiful setting. There are plenty of reasons I haven't made more effort to get there - firstly I am a big pussy and scared, secondly its totally different to anything I've done before - its so long and pumpy I mean, and thirdly - its miles away.
Having coerced Paul into getting the train to meet me in Leeds I was psyched, then at the last minute Ed realised the true path to glory lay at the end of a bolt in yorkshire and with a full complement of Kilnsey wads in the car I was sure to succeed! sat in traffic for an hour on the way to the crag, which was all but deserted. Ed rattled up Diretissima, lowered off, then straight back up Face Value. I did the same and Paul reacquainted himself (after two months off climbing) casually with Face Value (e5). We move to Comedy. Ed crushes (and I mean crushes) it in nonchalant style, I have a go having committed his sequence to memory. The route starts on great holds before making a couple of tough moves into a good rest, I get to the rest and start trying to move past but am pumped so reverse back to attempt recovery. Kilnsey is north facing and therefore shady, plus, it gets the wind and I've cooled down between goes, I am completely pumped and unable to recover. From my slightly uncomfortable rest I again move up and to the sidepull, right hand stabs into a pocket, clip, work feet up and lurch wildly for the next pocket, but feet are all wrong and I fall. The flash gone I let the lactic acid subside and then push on to the top. It feels tough and I am pumped. I wonder if I will get enough back with any amount of rest to be able to do it. Lower to the ground. Paul gets on and rinses to my highpoint before chucking in an egyptian off the sidepull... but, he's pitched his feet wrong and falls.
Ed does a scary thing to the left, climbing immeadiately left of the corner, but right of diretissima. He rumbles to the top looking casual and then has to turn it on to finish. I think he said it was called 'something for 5'? you can continue to a hanging chain which gets 8b or summat. Impressive stuff.
Paul clips up pantomime, which looks to have some wild moves in and I'm quite keen for a go, but now, its back to comedy. Again, I have cooled down too much - had only my old rab for warmth. This doesnt sound so bad, except that I have broken the zip and had to resort to a belt around my chest to hold it together - I look like a freak. I pull on, fluff the start, pump out and sack it off as a warm up go. Ed does Pantomime looking cool and collected, and then its me again. This time I've only been off five minutes, and whilst I still feel it in my muscles I feel more like climbing. Move through the first section, pumping out a bit but dynoing for a good pocket and getting established in the block rest. I get plenty back and, having watched Paul, I find a new position and milk it like Jonboy. Not quite refreshed I reach out to the sidepull, this time my thumb goes over the top and its a different hold, I egypt like paul and cruise past the rubbish pocket, past my high point to a good hold, match and eyeball the 'cigar'. I'm pumped out of my mind, those two are yelling and knowing its my last good go I commit to an all out throw for this cigar thing - stick it, both feet swing off but I hold it in and roll through back to the good holds... get in! its not completely over yet, theres a few more elephant noises from my direction as I wobble to the belay - elbows at 90degrees to the rock. I am over the moon - the moves are wild and I really had to fight. Brilliant!
Paul goes back on Pantomime, Ed laps comedy and all too soon, its my turn to flail on Pantomime. I feel relaxed and elated, and with success in my mind I romp up the start - its a different proposition and super sequencey - thanks to the pace notes being shouted from below i have a reasonable go but miss an undercut in my pumped state and fall. Subsequent goes get better but I'm well past my sell by date and finish the day bolt to bolting it to get the draws. Nice line.
I enjoy a quick tour of the crag then its home via a chippy in Skipton. Home at 1015 after an hour and a half drive. Brilliant.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Kilnward bound

Yesterday was a day of planning, replanning and scheming in order to make today work. Mr Bennett very kindly offered to come up to Kilnsey, and I shall be picking him up at New Pudsey railway station at or soon after 1500. I am dead dead psyched to get on Comedy. It looks quite short, and as its steep perhaps the holds will be good too?
The spirit of trad (ed brown) is still attempting to find someone gullible (or brave) enough to go up into the mountains with him, although he may still turn up at new pudsey and expect to be taken to Kilnsey which is fine too. As a local I'm sure his knowledge would prove invaluable.
Mailed Tom Briggs about WCJ Cornice yesterday, but unfortunately he didn't end up going, so we still dont know what state its in. There's nothing on UKB either. Someone will have to break and try it out sooner or later...

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Plea for help

Since the weather has been so nice I cant bring myself to go indoors, or rather - havent been able to bring myself to go indoors. Managed it last night though, meeting up with Dylan, Lucy and James at the foundry. As you would expect, it was fully sweltering, but I'd only a short amount of time and wanted to do some routes. Wondered about climbing in a three - thinking not enough would get done, but was so pumped that needed the rest, and it worked well. You will notice that there are four people I mentioned there, but only three were climbing routes. Mr Foley still refuses to embrace roped climbing, preferring instead to sweat it out on the wave. For once I got involved with the steep central prow, which to be honest, was just brilliant. Falling off from the middle of that roof is great. Its a nice fall into space and no doubt will have done me loads of good. So, nice one and thanks to Dylan and Lucy who were great. More people to do routes with please!
Tomorrow is Wednesday, but as yet climbing plans are doubtful. What that means is that I am definately climbing, but that I wanted to go to Malham or Kilnsey (people keep saying Kilnsey better in this heat) but Ed Brown (who was lined up to be coming) is on about feeling the force of the trad in the mountains somewhere. So, talking to Dan Walker and Rob Napier yesterday, Dan will be up there with someone else and said I'd be welcome, but I dont want to intrude so perhaps I would be better off getting back sheffside and doing something there? Apparently Tom Briggs will have been to WCJ Cornice last night, so I should be able to find out whether its wet from Neil Bentley today. He is heading out on Thursday night, and I would change my Weds to a Thurs but we have a dinner invite so I cant. Dave Mason is working, and that puts me back at the Tor or Rubicon (!) with no belayer. Surely these two will be too hot for serious bouldering? I suppose I could arrive much later, but then I like to get stuck in and get back a bit earlier. It occurs to me that I could go on the top bit of chimes... There's A) never anyone on it and B) the climbing is quite good. I will pester Ed Robinson and try to pervert Ed Brown (!) - trad, tsk! ;-)
So, I rang the car fixer people yesterday - to see how they were getting on. Its cracked a valve port. This means new cylinder head. Remember that we needed a new turbo too? well they reckon a turbo is £700 new!!!!! I nearly fell off my chair and reiterated Keith's £300. My mechanic man has found one for £500 which is new (not recon), but with that and a new head you are looking at £2250!!!!!!!! So I point out that we can replace the whole engine for £1400 + labour (approx £300) - anyway, certainly less than £2250, but they point out that we dont know anything about this engine, and we dont know whether or not we will be in the same situation in a years time. Which I suppose is a valid point, and after much procrastination I think the bigger question is replace the engine and sell the car pretty much straight away, or have it rebuilt and run it for another 2/3 years knowing full history and safe in knowledge of all the work that has been completed? Kind of thinking am going to go with the use new parts know where its been approach, but its a lot of chuffing money innit? So frustrating. Just when you are getting yourself sorted something always needs paying for that crushes your finances again.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Zeke feels like 8b!

Tropical again this weekend. Far too hot for pulling on small holds. Super tired on friday night, set my alarm but didn't click ok and failed to wake up in time for new early saturday morning club, hence arrived at same time as Dylan (in other words practically lunchtime!). Peak already rammo, loads of walkers and people at D's brew stop. Clipped up Rubicon, pulling off a chunk in the top bulge, but managing to scrabble over the lip to victory - brilliant. Not been up there in a couple of years, and great fun to do a route. Theres a lot of joy to be had from doing easier routes. Especially when its hot, its great to actually do some climbing. Some dude with an 8b body rocked up to try the Sissy, so we clipped up Zeke and I had what can really only be described as a fumble. Its desperate. The holds are all really nuancey, you cant just bone them, you have to work out how to hold them all, and theres loads of foot faggotry to be employed. In short, my first go was dreadful. Char and baby arrive, more randoms and the crag is starting to look busy. And to be honest, I dont know why. We all should have been somewhere else, it was chuffing boiling. The Kudos wall looked like someone had opened Cofe's LaserQuest from the crowd gathered at its base, and noone was getting up anything. Must have been 22 degrees by now, I wrote ages ago that I was at Kudos with Variable and Ned when this young punk turned up and started cheese whipping the sloper in between my attempts, he was back to try again now. I can only assume that he is on crack. Someone needs to beat some crag ettiquete into him. Got back on Zeke, did a bit better, but its not going to be something I will be able to do whilst it is so humid I suspect. Spoke to Harris about it, and he has offered me a video of him doing it, but lets not forget - he is also a mutant.
So ended Rubicon on Saturday. Traipsed back to sheffield and went to a fancy dress shop to get an 80s costume for the week after. Theres a really good fancy dress shop on chesterfield road should you be in need of one. I am going as Freddie Mercury, she as Madonna (from like a virgin phase). Got called out for the first time in the weekend. Went back to our potential wedding venue in the evening, which was well nice. The man there makes his own cider which is technically wine, so its rocket fuel. If we do decide to hold it there it will be so cool - theres a field for people to camp in and they provide a barrel of this cider too. Amazing. Anyway, we have yet to ask her dad. Dylan was having a barbecue, which I should have gone to, but monster was snotty and meeting people you dont know when you feel like that is hard and you have to make effort which is just about the last thing you want to do.
Sunday. Woke with a headache and the phone ringing - work again. Did some stuff, but managed to get out on the bike with the monster lapping the derwent and howden resovoirs. Lovely. 19.8km, completed at a very leisurely pace in the sunshine, mmm hmm - soul food. Home and more calls from work, this time meaning I missed Ned celebrating his 21st in the Anglers Rest. Happy birthday beast. May the age 21 bring big grades and perhaps not bumming (is it bumming you can legally do when you get to 21?).
Thats it, that was our weekend. tonight, the foundry, tomorrow nowt, wednesday I am hoping to get to Malham with Ed Brown, but he has yet to respond. Thursday depends on Wednesday. Might go to Leeds wall, or might not if have been out weds till late.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Zeke the Waif

Last year for my 31st birthday I got a chimenea as a present, and last night was the first lighting of said device this year. A symbolic event by anyones standards.
Current weight varies between 11st1lb and 10st13lb depending when I weigh myself. Am in two minds about whether it matters, or whether its possible to feel the difference a few lbs make. Certainly, its a cheap way to feel strong - loosing weight, but at the expense of your immune system and of having energy. I think if you crash diet to loose weight you arent accustomed to your energy levels and feel rubbish, whereas if you gradually loose a bit over time you probably adjust. Anyway, i dont want to loose much, but I think between 10.5st and 10.75 would see me being bionic.
Going to put a rope on Zeke tomorrow. Saturday morning club is being brought forward to combat the tropical weather - leaving Sheff at 0830. Ed is keen to look at the Sissy, which I am quite interested in also, but I should probably open my account on Zeke and stick to the Mosely plan. Shall also investigate quite how dirty that new thing of dan variable's is. Could really do with a full day out soon. I would like to spend some time questing down Cheedale - not after any big numbers, but I think it might do me good to go onsighting.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Tor hot for crimping

Firstly, car updates : the car is booked in with Sheffield Engine Services, who specialise in this sort of thing. They will start on it on Saturday morning, and will strip the cylinder head to report exactly where the sieze is. They will also remove the sump and confirm the crankshaft is ok. Based on what they say (probably Monday), I will decide what to do thereafter. I did some shopping around for engines yesterday, found one with 24k on, warrantied for 6 months, complete (inc turbo!) but no alternator or starter (not a problem, these I have!) for £1321 inc VAT and delivery. Now I dont think thats too bad! in fact, it sounds pretty cheap. I compared the engine part numbers and they are identical, but they wont warranty the mileage. So am still sending it to sheffield engine servs to see what they find is up with it.
Secondly, it is hot. If it were this hot in july you wouldn't contemplate going to the tor, but in mid May madness, everyone did anyway. By 1900 it was cooling off and becoming viable. Sellers and Pennells were getting fit for Morocco on Sardine - Andy Cave joining them later on (nic had his school T shirt on). Smitton and Vicky doing Tin of, Scouse Dave, Dave Parry, Cofe and later Kim and others scuttling round in the shade at the right hand side, and even Jez Portman with a.n.other chap in shades on SHIBB. Dr Rich and acolytes on Chimes/Weedkiller. Finally, Ed Robinson and I joining in the scuttling. The only two to display sense were Sam and Lucinda, who parked in the bushes and after the sun had gone down and the temperature more amenable. Oh yes, Nacho and Dale. Nacho had the right idea, he arrived in shorts, flip flops and shades and made a sofa out of pads to marvel at the stupidity of the english sloughing sheets of skin off warm soft hands.
Although not my first trip back to the tor this year (for that was Saturday), it was the first one where I didn't put a rope on, instead getting involved with some of the bouldering classics. Managed a very scary repeat of weedkiller trav (its still a bit wet), cruised to the end on Powerband, (but it doesn't feel any easier this year either), and then did that out of my boots link up again. My intentions driving out; to reaquaint myself with Staminaband, especially now I have this Dave Mason alternative foot sequence for the rattle and hump start - kind of hoped Stamina humps might be a quick tick, but the crimps on R&H would have been in the full sun and death ming. Dr Pinch had kindly agreed to put a harness if I so desired, but it was just too hot for pulling on small holds. Got all excited about Wild in Me (which I have done years ago, but remember it as being fully genius) but decided against sharp crimping in the sun. Instead, I had a look at that new thing which James and Ste Mac did last summer (?) where you back hand the PUTP ear and trav left. Its completely feasible, but a bit terrifying. Absolutely nailed my skin and ended up leaving at 1930 feeling quite strong but unable to touch anything. Plan now is to rest up until Saturday morning club - which, if its this hot, will be early to start, early to finish.
Mentioned to the monster about changing existing climbing tickets back to Tuesday Thursday, and she is receptive to Thursday at least. Its all about the gym you see. Monday there is something she likes to go to (a class), then Tuesday I am not sure, Wednesday there usually is, and Thursday there is something she likes too. So I think next week I will climb Monday, Wednesday in the day, and then Thursday evening out.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Temporary replacement car

After taking the car to bits yesterday, it would appear that AA man was prophetic in his guesstimate of what was wrong with my A3. Its turbo seal failed, it sucked all the engine oil into the exhaust system and as a result of my continued attempts to start it with no oil - has siezed. Apparently, the sieze may have occurred in the cam rocker, and in which case cost to free it up shouldn't be too bad. New cam shaft, rockers etc, but you are at least not talking engine swap. Mechanic man is ringing audi and sheffield engine specialists this morning to find out more, and continue to strip as appropriate. Certainly new turbo required, so running cost absolute minimum is going to be £300. Now I think about it, it must have been failing for ages. Even before this intermittent boost problem started, it used to whistle at low revs. Must have been on its way out or something. Very very frustrating. No point stressing about it though, aint nothing thats gonna fix...
So, after Saturday which you know all about, Sunday was my sisters wedding. We were watching closely all that happened here (with our own nuptuals on the drawing board and all), and it was very posh, but probably very expensive. 150 ish guests in ripley castle, north yorks. Very traditional everything - full sit down meal, etc etc. We both agree that ours will be a more casual easy going type of day. Well, thats what we hope. Anyway, all went off allright, and then on the Sunday, a ray of light in the shape of my sister bounded over to the breakfast table - she had a plan... She works for the same company as me, has a company car, and was going on honeymoon for two weeks.... Ding Ding! I am now driving her 06 plate A3 until she gets back! (its only the 1.9 though).
Last night I got an invite to dan and ned's board. Started climbing and thought I wasnt going well, and that I might be better using my time at the Foundry, but they persuaded me to continue and I got into it. I dont know how I am climbing at the moment. Still coughing up a lung and snotty, plus, I havent done much over the last three weeks, what with being in canada and having lurgy and all. But in the end I think I felt allright, but lacking a bit of cutting edge burl. Its such a good board that one though, and hard. Thats what makes it somewhere good to aspire to train at - the level of the board is much higher. Yes, you can do hard problems at the Foundry board, but the scope for so doing is greater at their board. Good to hang out with these two strong youths, and I got the video of Dan doing his rubicon project off them. I might have a look at this on Saturday this week.
Tor tonight. Ed Robinson going to join me. Sure others will be there too. Actually thinking I might speak to the honey monster about going back to Tuesday and Thursday. Am missing climbing with other regulars such as Jon boy.

Saturday, 3 May 2008


First visit (of the year) to raven tor today - thanks to Masonic Dave for driving. Thankfully, he is keen to do routes, so I fully plan to abuse his keenness and get some serious ticking done this summer. Was a good morning. We arrived just after 10, and in time to catch up with Superted, who has sadly bust a finger (pulley injury) and informs me that he has got a job, so the aforementioned Ted acheivement graph (which I havent plotted) will perhaps drop off from now on... Once a beast, always a beast?

Other regulars in situ for the summer include Stone (who I dont think ever goes away), Paul Reeve, Kristian and that chap whose name I think might be Simon - anyway, he's always there too. Had ideas about getting Dave on Sardine, but to be honest, its a full sandbag route to point someone who has never led outside before at. I mean, its hard for 7b+ and its super polished - plus, I havent actually done it before and memory of sequence is sketchy (and the top is both run out and loose). Figured that Super high intensity body building would suit him better, as its only 2 bolts long and bouldery crux at the start. Plus, I had't actually done it before. So, I nip up and put the clips in, and lower down for masonic Dave. Dr Pinch (ed robinson) turns up and we chatter on whilst Dave gets tied in. One thing I should mention is that I forgot the spare harness (dave doesnt have one of his own), so we had to borrow one from SuperTed, and its one of those really shit ones you can hire at the foundry! Dave is not comfortable! Anyway, he skittles through the boulder problem start and makes it to the jug ledge by the first clip, clips it and announces he's pumped (I was too!), the next move is a reach to a pinchy thumb sprag thing off a great foot hold, and he does that but rather than stepping up into the massive sidepull flake he is questing off right wards on non holds! anyway, he pumps out and sags onto the rope. Has a rest, sorts out what he should have done and dispatches first red point. First ever route ticked!

Rae and Tom arrive, and Rae tells me theres actually a belay through the grass on top! I have to strip the route anyway, so do it again and this time find myself mantelling loose sods of earth and facing a ground fall. Great. Its easy and all but I think if you lost it there you would be very close to the ground when you stopped. Clipped the belay, stripped the route. Robin Barker arrives and says hello before doing laps on powerband. Considering he had fully snapped a tendon recently, he's not doing too badly.

We move to Rattle and hump, and to start with I cant do the boulder problem. I am thinking how I have lost it since last year as this used to be really easy, but I am full of cold, and I have had nearly three weeks off climbing, so am not that suprised. Dave shows me a better way for the feet and I do the problem, but sharing the jug feels hard. Wierd. Work out the gaston move and climb from the jug to the top. Remembering how good the climbing is up there. Dave has a go and gets stopped by the gaston move. He hangs on the rope and works it out and then has a bit of a bimble at the rest of it, working out a way etc. I have another go, climb past the gaston move, make the next clip, but for some reason my feet are wrong and I drop it going up to the next right hand gaston. Lower off and Dave tries. He is on and off quickly as can feel a tip splitting. I examine my own hands which are getting chewed up by the dogs mouth teeth like holds. I tie on, climb past the gaston and clip, get my feet right and finish the route. Suprised and happy, we leave the crag.

Anyway, apologies for the last paragraph. i am sat in the car awaiting an AA man, and between the paragraph above and the one before it he called to say he would be 10 minutes, so I have to hurry up.

Update - just got towed back to the garage and home. AA man suspects the following based on my description of events : the turbo seal failed and sucked all the engine oil into the exhaust (hence the clouds of white smoke), then because I tried to turn it over again to see if it had worked the engine might have siezed. Shit. That means a new engine. Possibly. Thats worst case. Anyone know how much a short engine for a 53 plate 2.0 TDi A3 is?

Friday, 2 May 2008

Immobile but light

10st13.8 last night before bed and 10st13.6 this morning. Don't know why but its good. However, on the way to work my beloved car exploded! Bugger. Its had a turbo fault for some time (an overload valve kicks in and suddenly you've no boost), but you key the car and it resets and is all fine. Only this morning it did it accompanied by a cloud of white smoke, and then a repeat when you restart. So, got off the road, on the bus on the way home now.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

SuperTed (and spotty man?)

I dont know if its the stimulant decongestant tablets, but I feel vindictive. Or at least, my standard position of wanting everyone to do well and being generally psyched has morphed into feeling grumpy. Its probably frustration that I'm not going climbing tonight. Have arranged to go out with Cheekbones Mason on Saturday morning, and perhaps I am worrying that if I rest until then I will be rubbish and therefore disappointed. Ah well, better to rest now than to lengthening this chuffing disease because I didnt give it time to go away. Problem is that I havent been climbing much lately and so desperately want to. So thats making me grumpy. Apologies in advance.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. Last night I spoke to Rob Napier (keen for Zeke too) and he tells me that Ted Kingsnorth looks like he will do Mecca in the next few days. Bloody hell. He is turning into a full beast! his performance against time curve was flat until this year when it has suddenly taken off - this year he has done two 8a blocs and is about to do an 8b+. Amazing. Good effort Ted. Am more than the least bit jealous. (I havent actually plotted a graph of Ted's performance over time, so this might be wrong, but thats how it appears).

School t-shirts are out. Perhaps I should go and pick mine up tonight instead of trying to climb when I shouldnt.

Finally, on a humorous note; Tony Musselbrook has a blog : its very entertaining reading - more blogs should aim to make statements such as these, here are my five favorites (so far)

i think that session [was] like the second coming of jesus will be if jesus was surrounded by hot babes and ninjas busting facemeltingly awesome guitar solos 24/7

that man has the endurance of a seal. (is this good or bad I wonder?)

i hope one day to become a mountain hermit, soloing really hard things regularly just because i cant be bothered to walk round, chasing down sheep and killing and eating them with my bare hands, and that sort of thing..yes, that would be bitchin'

still couldnt do jerry's traverse. still couldnt do the ace. and thats all i really learned today.

you dressed like a loser, you climb like a loser.

Ill - again.

I feel frustrated. On the plane on the way back there were loads of people coughing and spluttering. Planes recirculate the air around the cabin, so your chances of catching other peoples lurgy is high. Anyway, I have and I feel rubbish, hence I haven't blogged happy joyous blogs. Its so frustrating. On top of two, nearly three weeks away with only three climbing sessions I am now wasting evening tickets (or will be tonight) when I should be catching up. However, I am back at 11st1lb which means actually lighter than before canada (11st3).
The pics from the trip are on my FlickR stream. Been meaning to link some of them here, but I usually post via email and you cant include HTML in emails to blogger, which means I have to post via the webpage, and its barred from work (which is where I am). But perhaps will get to it today. 
I tried to climb last night, but it was hopeless. I went to the Foundry, where I have signed up for another month. This will take me into the start of june, and by then hopefully I should be both fit and climbing outside more, so wont need it afterwards. Bumped into Dan Varian, who is loosing weight!!!! from where? anyway, its for his rubicon project which i have no doubt will be tres hard.