Monday, 30 June 2008

Hot hands disease

I was the first in to saturday morning club (now an institution!), doors opened at 0915. I had the crag to myself. Thought I felt pretty sparky. Joe and Gav (that was his name!) arrive next, followed by Dylan and Lucy, and then Char. As I am preparing to move my bits to the Kudos wall Sharples and Rob Napier swing past on their way to the Cornice. But finally, and most suprisingly - Adam Long. I wonder if he finds it tiresome being labelled as a gritstone hero - being greeted with 'Stanage is that way' on his arrival at Rubicon, and being watched for his legendary abundance of technique?

I'm sure in summers past I have pretty much always been able to do the press in even the hottest of conditions. In fact, I think I remember so doing with direct sun and >20 degrees temps. This was not the case on saturday - and I did have a few goes. Just didn't feel as solid as I would usually. Am going to blame humidity - soft wet fingers and small sharp crimpers are not a happy combination. Joe and Gav set up camp beneath Caviar - what a great route. I snaffle a belay off Char and clip up Let the tribe increase. Suprised myself by crimping through the first section and falling off at the broken hold section. After a brief rest push on to the top of the wall comfortably. Lower down as it looks like it could be on! Char has a go but doesnt get on with my wierd flag on your hip beta and is back on the ground soon after. I tie on again, ready to crush, but this time what felt solid and possible before feels scratchy and desperate now. Bugger. Although my skin doesnt feel terrible I cant hold the holds, so conclude that must be all thats wrong. Adam has a burn, but is blinded by the unfamiliar white rocks and doesnt manage to find any useful holds either. I go home.

Saturday morning club is a great thing. For those of us with non climbing other halves, you get back at 1230 and then have an afternoon of doing 'normal' stuff, which keeps the other one happy that you haven't swanned off all weekend. Talking of which, Saturday morning club is going to be sunday morning club this week. The monster is in Manchester on Saturday night, so I was thinking about trying to rustle some folks Wales wards. Potentially, my plan is to take her to manchester on saturday night, then continue on to Wales. Sleep in the cave (or camp somewhere) and then crank in the morning, making my way homeward in the afternoon.

Got a text from James Foley last night. He has really damaged his finger. Doesnt know exactly what/how, but is not a happy bunny. Will be interesting to see how it feels today I guess. Poor James. You would think he too had made a bargain with the devil (a la Paul B)!

Thursday, 26 June 2008


Far from finding the antipathy disease that rests over Sheffield had set in again, I am delighted to report I felt quite sparky when I got warmed up yesterday. It was by no means a great day, and certainly, nothing went down, but it was good to be out and climbing. Paul, Ed and I arrived at Kilnsey at 2pm and the weather looked bad. Low cloud, persistent drizzle and a school group climbing rubble off round the left. Dalvinder and Aaron (?)  warming up on sideshow, met Chris Sowden and got stuck into Face Value. Followed that with Directissima (even scary on a topper) and moved to find out what else was dry. Ed wanted to do Soft Option, which looked at first glance as if it might have some wet holds, but he reckoned otherwise and set off getting really high but not closing the deal. Paul went on Yorkshire Ripper, which may (or may not) have had a repeat. It looked hard. I opened an account on Subculture, which starts off with a few big moves between big holds into a thin groove. Apparently the grade is contentious, and when you weigh up the different potential methods you can pass this short difficult section you can understand why. One method rumbles left into a massive sidepull, then lurches back right to a reasonable edge, and the other involves nailing micro edges in the groove to reach the same point. I manage to cross the section using both methods but am pumped and dont do owt else. Home via the chippy in Skipton.

Got home to find a N95 8GB I had on eBay had sold for £280! as this was a free upgrade, I was delighted. I was less than delighted then to recieve scam mails from Nigeria pretending to have paid via paypal. Its frustrating that this can happen, as my selling policy is that noone with less than 1 feedback can bid on my items and I will not ship overseas. But despite neither of these conditions being met eBay accepted their bid on my item.

Jim Hillyard has dispatched Rock Attrocity in Parisellas cave, which is a fine effort. Particularly when you factor in that its basically crimping edges in a roof, and Jim is not waif like. I would love to do this problem, and may go for a day when the monster goes on that hen do. As I remember it, I flashed to the last move but never completed the problem. Idiot.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Hot bolted fun

Had a terrible session at the Foundry on Monday, so rather than harping on about it here I decided not to say owt. Really tired this week - god knows why, have had plenty of sleep etc etc. Mildly concerned its the return of the flesh eating disease, but shall block it out and continue regardless.
I'd like to do Hot Fun Closing - a route at Rubicon. I think either it was the first 8a at the crag, or perhaps the Peak, or even Ben Moon's first at the Crag. Or something. Anyway, it climbs a boulder problem start which I've done many times, then a thin wall to an undercut flake and stuck wire. I think the thin wall is supposed to be tough but ok. Had a look above a pad but got scared and backed off. Leaving the undercut flake (which is covered in cobwebs) gains a break, and a peg which has been the subject of discussion on the t'interweb. I mentioned my aspirations to Paul B who could be described as a pessimist (although with his luck you can't blame him) who launched into horror stories of people snapping pegs and hurting themselves, and with reports of the wall above being fall-offable, recommended placing a bolt to replace the peg. We decided I should seek the approval of the first ascentionist. BEN MOON!
I got to text Ben Moon! I've had Ben's number for years (on the pretence of school business) but its still a complete novelty for me - that I even have his number! Ben Moon! When I first became a school member I had to go round his house (which was easy, as I'd been camping outside for years) to pick up a key, he was watching the football (dammit, why don't I know more about football?), it was the middle of one of those big tournaments and he asked whether I had been following it, and I hadn't, and I didn't have anything intelligent to say, so I just sat mute on Ben Moon's sofa with my Moon climbing t-shirt on. Ooh the heady heights! Anyway, Ben texted back and said to go for it, but to make sure a good job was done. So, now I have to enlist the help of the Peak's finest reequippers.
This afternoon its Kilnsey time. I don't mind what I get on, just looking forwards to going climbing. Bennett and Brown are getting the train up at lunchtime and there looks to be a fair wind, so the midges should be kept at bay.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Torpid nonsense

I made a lot of fuss on Saturday morning, although to be fair, it was one of those 'very hard to get going' mornings. If you're on it, drizzle makes no difference, the tor is entertainment in itself and you can push on regardless. Its not that it was actually wet on the rocks or anything - conditions were reasonable to be honest. I was weak.
A risk of climbing problems you have wired is you reference yourself on them. If you climb them well your spirits are lifted. If you struggle, you can write off the session thinking their no point. I used to do this to myself at the school, I'd start a session, drop something I would usually be able to do, and then climb like a donkey for the rest of the time. Can't help but partly blame the weather. Damp miserable days lead to damp miserable psyche.
You can pull yourself out of the doldrums if you are in the right headspace (I obviously wasn't). The malaise did seem to be fairly set in amongst most people at the tor. Nice to chat and hang out a bit though. Stone conspicuous by his absence. SuperTed arrived later on (perils of having a job), Joe and Vic (in a fab black vest looking super lean - Joe I mean), Joe Brown and man I know but whose name I always forget and some folks from Leeds wall. Kristian back on Make it Funky, and belaying that other chap I know but dont know - Simon I think, and he was on Weedkiller Chimes (which I have always fancied).
Made Paul drive me to the Climbing Works to meet Ed Robinson and James Foley, and at this point the session recovered a lot. I didn't mind trying at the wall. It wasn't too busy and I felt like bothering (probably showing off). Had a good catch up with James Foley, and discovered that what the works does really well - better than the Foundry even, is provide an indoor cragging/social experience. We often lament that its not the world's best training venue, and I stand by that - it isn't. What it does do is mimic a day out with friends sessioning problems. The atmosphere is of a social event, wheras the Foundry feels more like a board - you go there to bear down rather than to mill around chatting, which is certainly what I needed. Anything else would have resulted in lots of sitting on the mats and sighing. The style of climbing and the angles presented that make this the case. The climbing at the foundry is brutal, basic and a factor of strength, whereas the works problems almost all have some hidden trickery that must be unlocked in order to succeed. Limestone climbing seems to be more of a factor of strength than it is technical (clearly, there will be exceptions), and I dont feel its poor technique thats stopping me - its fitness.
So, this week I am officially excited because team Kilnsey has been reformed and the Wednesday afternoon raid arranged. Tonight I will be at the Foundry, Wednesday Kilnsey. Thursday something, but I dont know what, Friday off, Saturday morning club again! 

Friday, 20 June 2008

A Doylesque Sermon

Climbing hold manufacturers (because of course, they will all read this), step up to this challenge. Climbing holds wear at a different rate to rocks. When you make your holds you have to make them more grippy than the rock would ever be, which you do because you know that the hold will wear into good condition, and in time, back out the other side again - and at this time your business model is that the hold should be replaced - repurchased from you, presuming you didnt go out of business in the meantime. Climbing holds are so over grippy when they are brand new, the hold doesn't allow for natural slippage, it mechanically sticks into the skin and prevents movement. The human attached to the skin still moves around the hold leading to extreme soreness of the paws, delamination of the skin surface - referred to in the trade as 'plastic rash'.

So, climbing hold manufacturers, dont make your holds so grippy. They hurt and lead to enforced resting through skin soreness. You've spent time and effort getting the shapes nice and comfy - and you're doing well, but stop making them so grippy. See here, evidence of an over grippy hold (on a circuit at the works).

My challenge then is for you to make holds with a material that is neither too grippy, too slippy, lasts well and is inexpensive. What are you waiting for? get to WORK!

Weekend plans? She's out most of tomorrow, so unusually, I have more time. I will get on the text and hopefully get on it!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Normal service resumed.

The MetOffice had been forecasting bad weather on Wednesday since the weekend, and sure enough, there was rain. Not perhaps as much as indicated, but rain and wind nonetheless. Paul and I had arranged to go out, and as it was only showers it certainly appeared to be worth a look. I'd flexed the afternoon, and the Honey Monster was out for a birthday dinner with the girls in the evening, so for once, time was on my side.

It wasn't actually raining when we parked up at Rubicon, but it clearly had been. The skies were fast changing, patches of blue in the same view as dark clouds, changing fast in the wind. Air temp pretty warm. Kudos wall looked dry (in as much as I can see from the other side of the river), but on arrival at the Cornice there were big wet patches on the half height rooves dripping onto the bottom slab. Free monster looked like it might be ok, so I clipped up Brachiation dance to warm up. Felt pretty shaky - first time outside since the 7th, but got it done. Took enormous fall from the finishing jug, which was a positive experience - I need to fall to realise I wont die. Paul nips up BD and we move to Free Monster.

Although I've been on this (and very nearly did it) years ago, I totally couldnt remember what to do. Bolts 1 and 2 are easy to clip, then, passing bolt 2 there's a high rock over off an undercut which isnt hard when you remember how to do it, but is quite a uncertain wobble. The break you reach to was dry, but the hold you clip off wasnt. Push on to the next hole thing (which feels more positive than I remember) but its fully soaked too. Its not a redpointing day clearly. Strip the pitch, and with the rain now actually blowing in to the crag, we sack it back to Sheffield to meet James Foley and Nat who are supposed to be at the works. Quite disappointed.

Everyone and their dog was at the works. A full compliment of cheeses (sam, perc, graeme) and the mighty Ed Brown - orbiting the training board like a trad climbing moon on a collision course with stamina. We got stuck in. Paul crushed. I felt good but got pumped. Nat turned up, James didnt, Ed never stopped climbing and we arranged to destroy Kilnsey next weds. Dave Barrans was in. Chatted to him about Yorkshire. He's another one who thinks the Peak is shit. I dont know why some hate the other area - theres loads of fantastic climbing to be had in either. Perhaps I have an undiscerning eye or am easily pleased or something, or perhaps I just enjoy climbing so much that I can make fun whereever I lay my pad/rope bag. It's like Julian Cope said, 'why cut out half the fun you can have', only he was talking about being bisexual.

I have, for years now, attached a stopwatch to my chalk bag, so as to time my rest intervals. Almost always people misconstrue the purpose of this device. Most seem to think that its to tell me to start climbing again when it goes off. Its not. Its a minimum rest timer. Left to my own devices I would burn myself out like James Foley on a bad day - i.e. quickly. Having a thousand goes in 10 minutes on progressively harder problems, so, I set a timer which is the minimum I must rest before I can jump on again, this is especially useful if you're on your own. Anyway, the point being - the stopwatch has conked out and I've found a freebie java applet for my phone to replace it. Its an egg timer, and you can set whatever time you want before it goes off. You can get it for any java based phone by navigating your phone's browser to and following the quick download link - the code is 17468. Completely for free. As an aside, the works have stolen my genius and now offer stopwatches to people doing circuits. Perhaps I could demand a royalty!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Holyhead's got talent

On Friday we and a big group headed to Holyhead on Anglesey to celebrate the Honey Monster's 30th birthday. She and I had a lazy start before setting off via the Climbing works who supplied some Pale Rider, which may now have overtaken Easy Rider in the beer stakes. Holyhead looks a bit rough. I guess its a port town which offers little other than fighting in the way of entertainment for the locals. Thankfully, the campsite was out of town on the way to Trearddur bay. From our pitch I could both see the sea and the mountains of snowdonia. There's something about Wales (perhaps its proximity to the sea) that makes me feel like I am on holiday when I go. We were really lucky with the weather which was amazing the entire three days - most people came away with a little sunburn. Friday was all about people arriving gradually, catching up and barbecue.

A problem with camping in the summer is that the sun rises at about 430am which super heats your tent, wakes you up and intensifies your hangover. Additionally, the wildlife gets up with the sun, and all manner of screeching begins. Saturday started off in this way, but there was no time for hanging about, it was all about the activities! we hired bikes and most set off on the coastal footpath around the 'mountain'. Taking our time over some fairly rough terrain, we stopped in Holyhead for food before heading back to the campsite with mild sunstroke and definate sunburn. A game of rounders ensued with much hilarity, before heading in to the on site Paddlers return bar for Karaoke. I was quite drunk by then and open to suggestions. One of the best nights out I have ever had followed, featuring me and friend James singing the Proclaimers 500 miles, and me and Helen singing Gold by Spandau Ballet. You dont realise quite how many of the words you dont know until you attempt to sing Karaoke. Very funny though, and an awesome night out - all had a really good time. Realised was heading for disaster and took myself off for a litre of water. This may well have been my saving grace, as come morning I wasn't too bad. Packed up and headed home exhausted.

Pics from the weekend here

To the works last night, to circuit on the training wall. Felt good to be moving again after 10 days off. Next out will be Weds with Paul to WCJ Cornice, then Thurs may pop to the Foundry on the way home, or go to Leeds in the day.

Finally, whilst dismally attempting to circuit I enjoyed a mix being played on the sound system. Enquired as to its origin, and it turned out to be Si Moore! He has obviously learnt how to mix records and is churning out some pleasurable techno mixes. They are free to download here, the web design needs work.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

not dying after all...

Good news! (depends on your point of view I suppose) I am not dying! I do still have pins and needles in my left hand, and cannot yet do a pull up, but the general malaise has subsided since yesterday. Am convinced will survive the weekend, and may even become fit again. Must have just been some wierd virus thing.
Other news - James Foley is going to the Cave today with Jim. He is going to try Rockattrocity. Its quite sickening that all these people get to go climbing and I am confined to Barracks. Senor Fullwood is going to do Caviar tonight.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Muscle eating disease

This week has been most unpleasant. On sunday morning I woke feeling rough, but we had been drinking, and I am legendarily bad at that, so just figured the two were related and didnt think too much more about it. But when Monday came I still felt rubbish. So much so I forwent Monday nights ticket and didnt climb. Tuesday I felt achey to my core. Not done any exercise since saturday though, so no idea what happened there, and then today I should have been out with Paul this afternoon, but I cant grip anything. My forearms feel like they are going to explode when I try. It feels like I've been run over but I didnt notice... Or perhaps years of over training has caught up? Gutted to be missing this nice weather. Keep telling myself that it would be too hot anyway, when in fact its quite a nice temp. ARRRRGH!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Wild man

I've felt increasingly tired through the latter half of last week - culminating in being exhausted on Friday. We were in bed at 2130, and the alarm for Saturday morning breakfast club (0800) was all too soon. Read a text from the Baron - not coming, too tired. Contemplated sacking it mesen like, but pushed on and got a life giving cup of tea on the go. The Baron rang and announced he too was feeling more awake and would be joining me after all. Got to the Tor just after 9, and found a cast of regulars, and... the eastern europeans sleeping in a car again - keen. Warmed up with Sharples, chatted to Jules and Stu and laughed with Stone. Trundled off to the powerband and did the last move. Had a moment, and did the move again. Hmm. Went to the start, but for some reason found myself climbing PowerHumps instead. Crushed it and focussed attention on Staminaband. Felt altogether more composed than last year - a bit stronger and better able to do the moves perhaps? anyway, didn't feel I had the stamina to properly attempt it, which is quite interesting to say that I have been doing more routes and so on, but I suppose this isnt really a stamina issue, its a power endurance one. And that, clearly, I havent got. The Baron turns up and I clipstick up Wild in me in my flip flops. I have been on it before, and I did climb from the bottom to the top, but it was on a topper. I note the holds, place all the clips and lower off. He has a go, can't remember what to do and its me. I find a way and get up to the top of the face section, but I wimp out of doing the move and climb back down to the bolt. Why I'm being such a ponce I dont know. Definately having a shit house few weeks of being un brave. Anyway, get it on the next go and head home. No climbing throughout rest of weekend. Got drunk with the outlaws on Sat night, and felt achey and dreadful all day yesterday. Thought I must be hungover,  but still feel achey today.
So, this week. Not climbing over the coming weekend, as its the monsters birthday weekend. Planned to climb tonight, and as the day goes on I feel better and better, so perhaps I will, but otherwise, was planning to rest tomorrow and possibly work from home on weds, then head out peakwards mid afternoon. Perhaps to WCJ Cornice? Thursday will depend on what happened Weds, i.e. if I've been at home on Weds I'll come in on Thurs, and might go to leeds wall for a couple of hours at lunch...

Friday, 6 June 2008

Two Terrified to count

Have you ever gotten so pumped that you feel sick? no, not sure I have either. But I thought perhaps i was/had last night. On the way home I felt completely flat. I think I should have taken another power jack and pre placed it in the car for the return. I was walloped when we climbed back out of the valley at 2100 - we'd talked about going to meet Variable, Jon and Quizmaster Haggis down tordale, but it was late and I thought I might pass out. With hindsight, I have a terrible arse this morning, and suspect the sausage and pesto pasta is at fault.

Paul and I quested down into Cheedale last night. We went to Two Tier - and it was lovely. There's something quite wonderful about Cheedale. It feels like another world, although less than ten miles from Buxtonia, and not as far as I remember to walk, it seems somehow more remote than other places in the Peak. Perhaps its that you cant actually see any roads or buildings or something, but it feels more adventurous. As we walked to and from Two Tier we gazed across at the Spider on Plum Buttress. This just looks amazing. According to cockfax it gets climbed in a single push, but Paul thought a hanging belay on the slab made more sense. I've no experience in these matters so just nodded and worried whether I would be too terrified to go for it, but I suppose it would be a nice clean fall if nothing else. I must remember to question Kristian about it when I see him next.

Someone has built stepping stones to cross to Two Tier. One of them collapsed under the bulk of Bennett, so its perhaps fair to suggest that they need a bit more work. We mis read the guide and started on what we think is subterfuge. I lead and have to try but manage to succeed. Paul seconds. It turns out to be a 7a right of where we thought we were. We do subterfuge and move down to Entree. The rock down at this bit is amazing. Very compact, high quality limestone with little or no polish. Entree looks very good, and before long I am eyeballing a gaston by the second bolt at the end of a continuous push from the floor. The move feels totally improbable, and to be completely honest I dont feel I work out a good way of doing it all night (although I have since thought what it might be). I dog past the stopper move and race to the top. Its easy after bolt 2 so you would expect a hard low section, but it seems to all come down to one move. I'm pretty keen to get back there and have another go. Fresh skin, perhaps a bit cooler - could be on.
We finish our evening on Countdown, a 7a+ to the right of entree. My lead. First bolt is high, but the climbing isn't hard, then there's a hard move passing the first bolt that feels out of character with the rest of the difficulty. I wimp out and have a rest (beaten by a 7a+!). The move involves a vague left hand pinch, and then a teetering wobble over a bulge to a sharp crimp that looks better than it is. Then a bit more scratching before the biggest hold in the world. I come down, Paul goes up, gets there and wilts. I go again, get to the last rest in a continuous push but cannot pass the final groove. Actually, when I say I 'cannot', what I actually mean is my testicles have shrunk and I 'won't'. A dude I recognise comes over and starts shouting encouragement, but I just want him to fuck off so I can strip it and go home. As he points out, what's the worse that can happen? I know, I know, but I'm tired and being a gimp. Eventually he goes and despite a lacklustre final push I end up threading the bolt and lowering off. Phew.

Feels like I have been spoilt with tickets this week. Two full length outdoor sessions both of which have felt like a weekend day at the end of a week day! and now its the weekend! two actual days off. Brilliant. Anyway, I think saturday morning club is on. I am planning to depart Sheffers at 0830 to be somewhere by 9. Kinda thinking of the Tor/that secret place as will only be out in the morning, and that would suffice.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Philosophy power jacks

Is it a good thing I wonder to be mixing it up between routes and boulders? surely to excel at either you must specialise in it? well yes. You could argue that, but you should also realise that climbing different things (i.e. routes) for part of the year is fun. I'm never gonna be pushing the limits of either bouldering or route climbing, but I don't think thats what its all about to be honest - for me at least, it's about having fun. I love the change of style in the summer to climb routes, as I get scared, but I enjoy it immensely, and I think its good to get out of ones comfort zone once in a while. Plus, I think if you do routes that aren't massively long stamina fests then it can cross over. It gets you better at actual climbing - i.e. route finding, understanding how to move and stuff like resting and recovery.
Anecdotally - Ste Mac does almost nothing but routes, but has done some incredible bouldering because if he cant burl a move, he finds a better way to climb it. Climb should be highlighted there - my point being, it's great to be strong, but its not an end in itself.
Through the ages strong young punks arrive, get stronger, get injured and loose their way. This isn't to say that this is wrong - it doesn't matter if all you do is train, if thats what you want to do and it makes you happy then great - have fun! But a common theme amongst such people is that they recognise that success outside is worth more kudos than strength inside, and so begins the lying?
In the bigger scheme of things there is no 'greatest climber of them all' as the disciplines have become mutually exclusive, so there is no one who does it all and excels at the lot, just lots of good people each of whom do their own thing with brilliance. The ultimate winner is the person having the most fun. Part of this was the discussion in the car on the way home last night, and part of this was just a useless rant in my head.
Something useful thats also in my head is a recipe for granola bars. My years of deeply scientific research into sports nutrition deposited me squarely at the door of flapjack. Oats are a great source of slow release energy which is ideal for long days out at the crag. I find myself in service stations and climbing wall cafes loading up on squares of oaty goodness bound together with hydrogenated vegetable oil, and each for a pound for not much flapjack. Clearly, this is neither healthy nor economically viable! I had an epiphany! I should make my own! its dead simple, you know whats in 'em and it will cost less. Here is my recipe :
175g / 6oz / 12.1% butter
140g / 5oz / 9.8% clear honey
250g / 9oz / 12.4% demerara sugar
350g / 12oz / 24.4% porridge oats
1½ tsp ground cinnamon (can do without this)
520g / 36% of assorted nuts, seeds and so on : currently I use about 30% flaked coconut, 30% seeds, 30% brazil nuts and remainder raisins. 
Melt butter and honey, then stir in sugar. Cook over a low heat for 5 mins until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil for 1-2 minutes until thickened into a smooth caramel sauce. Mix remaining ingredients and stir in the sauce. Press into a greased and lined roasting or baking tin and bake for 25 mins at 180°C / 160°C (fan oven) / gas mark 4 until lightly browned. Leave to cool, then cut and turn out and feel the power!
This is version three of the recipe. I.e. I have made this up three times now, and I think its pretty good. I wondered about including Cyclone instead of sugar! I probably should look at reducing either the sugar or the butter, but dont you need those to bind it?

Panto Horse

Flexed yesterday afternoon off so as to go to Kilnsey with Paul B. Got to the crag at 1400 and found Ed Brown and Eric on Frankie goes to Kilnsey - so much for mountain trad! let the dark side into your life ed! admit it, you love the bolt! I felt a bit scared this time round. Last time I was psyched and fearless, this time I felt a bit jittery setting off, but perhaps I got a bit spooked by leading the diretissima - a first for me, I've always done it on a topper previously. Its fine really, the climbing is easy, but its pretty polished and the first bolt is well high - admittedly, at the top of some very easy climbing. But perhaps that set me off or something. Anyway, lowered down Face Value and Paul romped up - finding the top ledge covered in bird shit. I nip back up Face Value too - Paul led this years ago - I cant think how he had the balls to do so as there's nay gear (its a trad e5) amazing.

Move across to Pantomime and climb into the first hard section but decide am going to be a wet lettuce and flump back onto the rope rather than going for it. Have a moment and push on to the top. It feels much easier than last time, I should be able to do it pretty comfortably I think to myself. Paul waltzes up looking very casual. I have another go, crush the hard section and get right to the top, but the pull on to the face at the top involves a hidden crimp and high step which I get to but fail to rock over onto and feel like am going to lob. I reverse back to the last jug and shake out, trying my damndest to get enough back to finish the route, I wait, and wait and shake and then decide its do or die, I push on but again I'm unstable, I havent worked out where it is I should go to and after attempting to crimp a non hold I take the ride. Its fine, absolutely fine - and I dont know what it was/is I was bimbling about. I jug back up and do the top bit. Its pretty easy when you know where you are going and not pumped. Lower off and go and watch Ed on the Soft Option for bit before getting back on. The problem I have with Kilnsey is that although the holds are bigger, the angle is steeper and the routes longer - in other words I get pumped, but unfortunately, when I get pumped, I also seem to stay pumped - which is frustrating. So, feeling pretty boxed still, I set off and think I have a better sequence or something, as I sprint to the jugs before the final face section and have a bit of a shake. I dont know whether there is some trick I have yet to learn or something, but there seems to be a point at which resting starts to tire you out instead of helping, perhaps its that I still had too much weight on my arms or something, but I shook out changing hands at the top of that route for ages, and whilst am sure I got something back, I certainly couldnt have carried on much further. I dont think I am cut out for euro greatness. God forbid I should ever go to Ceuse! Anyway, I pull through onto the headwall and imeadiately am in balance and teetering towards the belay - rubbish! why didnt I do this straight away? nerves I reckon. Rubbish.

Strip the pitch and move over to a little route on the far right called smooth torquer, its a 7a+ that was bolted by Steve Dunning years ago. Paul crushes it and then I get involved and inspite of the never subsiding lactic acid I manage to flash it. Pack the stuff up and go and chat to Ed, Eric, James Ibbotson and Neil Dickson before blazing a trail back to sheffield. A good afternoon out - three new routes bagged.

I am out again this afternoon/evening. Jon boy will be out but probably hunting esoterica and already has a team assembled, Dylan was non commital about pretty much anywhere, Ed Robinson is keen for the blocs, Ned has an exam, Dave Mason was out last night and I guess James Foley must be working, and I thought that Paul and I had a pretty good time, so I suggested Cheedale - he is keen, so I might get on entree... anyway, 1530 departing sheffield.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Young boys and lying

I think I have discovered a problem with the Climbing works. I think that the windows are responsible for the building heating up and becoming unclimbable. If, as yesterday - the sun is out, the interior of the building heats up and no amount of fanning cools it down. Board the windows up. We're not there to sunbathe, we're there to crank.

Another problem with the climbing works is twerps. The Foundry doesn't get twerps (actually, the Foundry does have one prize twerp), so why does the Climbing Works? I know not. Previously on these here pages, this writer named names and got into trouble for so doing. I'm going to change the habit of a lifetime and learn from my mistakes. I want to make a general point about lying and false expectations of self and leave it at that.

Boys (I dont know girls that do this you see), why are you so desperate to show everyone how good you are? what do you gain from making shit up that you've not actually done? (kudos) it could be argued that I am just a miserable bitch and I dont want to believe anything anyone tells me, but last night someone made what I expect are false claims. The claimant has never been seen outside, or indeed, with a rope on, and is now claiming to have done a technical face 8a (the toilet) and a pumpy roof (albatrossity, 8a+). Thats not to say that I can definately prove that the person in question is lying, but I strongly expect that to be the case. Clearly, I'm not everywhere always and I could never say for sure - people do have good and bad days for instance, but from what I have seen of this person and their abilities I would be very suprised.

So, why does it matter whether or not said person is lying? it matters to me because I have spent a lot of time training to get to that level, put in much time and effort, and (as far as I know) they haven't - and it makes me cross! They're claiming to be at that level without having paid their dues. The right answer is not to let it bother me, I am where I say I am, I'm not lying - I don't claim things I haven't done - rise above it, keep plugging away, ultimately, the truth will out. Anyway, I could be completely wrong, but i feel pretty strongly that I'm not.

Another micro rant - false aspirations. If I saw you at the crag and announced I was going to get on Rainshadow and that I expected to do it by the end of the year, I would hope that you would laugh at me. If you didn't I would at least hope that you were just being polite, and that inwardly you were thinking - get a grip man! If you have climbed 7b route, then try 7b+, 7c and even 7c+ routes, don't go and get on an 8a+ and expect you will be able to do it by siege - I mean, ultimately you probably will but in the process you will have to spend ages polishing up a route that's out of your league. Its good to aim high, but be realistic. Someone asked about Revelations last night - I presumed they were at that level and enthused about the route, even imparted what little I knew of it, then it turned out that this chap had never even been to the tor and had not yet climbed 8a.

You could be reading this thinking - what a bitch! good for these keen young punks... and maybe I should be more tolerant, but from what I'd seen it appears that person a is lying, and person b is going to spend a lot of time dogging. Then again, the wall is very different to the crag, perhaps these guys have hidden depths? I shouldn't care, but it dents my psyche and certainly makes me consider taking out an annual membership at the foundry!

Twin tickets

According to Sharples (he man lion) the long range forecast is dire. Someone needs to have a word about this - if it proves to be true. I can only hope that it isn't.

Tor on saturday morning. Arrived to find a family of eastern europeans slept in an estate car under the RHS - this is very keen non? as a climbing westie with perhaps, girlfriend at a push - fine, but with two small (one baby) children in tow this is nigh on desperation! Says me! anyway, had taken my shunt and was wondering about going on Dialetics, thankfully, Stu and Jules Littlefair were there to warn me off - the holds are tres small and slopey, and it was anything but cool. I thought the RHS felt clammy, but Tom Pape crushed the powerband like he was on the green traverse. I gingerly climbed the weedkiller, but every hold felt terrifyingly damp and as though friction would break at any moment. Decided to try the alternative finish to Ben's Roof. Joe and Vics turn up - we talk shit. Vics busts out an impressive two halves of Ben's roof and I wouldnt be at all suprised to hear she gets that soon. Looking strong. Joe is reading the paper. Ste Mac is training. lapping Ben's roof into his and Ruperts training finish (it goes left up to the start of mecca), we agree its a bit clammy as he gets spat off in the middle of the roof. I too do some good links, and am delighted to find that the hard bit (out of the cave to the lip) feels steady away this year.

Get drunk in the Lescar on Saturday night and awake on Sunday in a state of desperation - I need alka seltzer! go to tescos but they've run out and I have to be sick in a bush (thankfully, its only 0830 so theres not too many people about). Manage to get back to sleep and wake up much later feeling considerably rejuvenated. The outlaws come over and we finish sunday in the cricket inn having dinner.

So, this week. Climbing today - probably at the works, but then it is a double ticket week! I have tickets on Wednesday (hoping to coerce Paul into yorkshire) and Thursday (feelers are out, but no confirmed plans yet)....