Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Coat of Alms

I went to Almscliffe yesterday. Is it Almscliff or Almscliffe? the signs in Huby have the 'e', but all climbing reference omits it. I had a cracking headache on arrival and it didnt depart until I got back in the car on the way home. And, it was freezing! as I arrived a big storm cloud loomed over the stainburn forest, but delightfully it missed the Cliff and all remained dry, and windy - so windy! The car said 3.5 degrees, so with windchill must have been around 0. Struggled to warm up at Morrells wall, but there were people at Underhand so I took my time. The crag seemed busy, and there was almost nowhere to park, but thinking about it, this must have been because it is half term.

I moved to Underhand and could immeadiately see my dreams of flashing it were not going to come to fruition. Its not that its not flashable, certainly, if you knew what to do then yes, it could go down, and I had watched a video of Adam Lincoln doing it on YG, but I couldnt remember what he did, so I did the following (not to success) : both hands in the cleft at the back, right out to undercut, left foot heel toe cam, then left hand to rubbish undercut, bump right hand to better seam, left out to edge in roof, scum right foot and left hand go again to good pocket in roof, now release heel toe and swap feet, left foot out on nubbin in roof and then right heel on ramp below the seam - not very helpful, now slap and hump up to pinchy undercut on the corner of the roof (I got here), and then presumably go again to edge above. Now from here I didnt do this bit, but I kinda guessed you'd want to go right hand a third time to a better edge in the seam, and indeed this is what Adam does in the vid, and what James Foley recommended. Then its easy. I flailed about a bit and then gave up to go look at Jess' roof.

Previously when I've tried this on my own, its been with two pads, which means you can make a slide out of pads so you dont bounce into the crevasse on your back. Its too scary on your own with one small pad. Gave up and had a walk around by Matt's roof, ending up at the Matterhorn boulder. I'd never climbed on it before so had a bimble on the arete, which was nice.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

No time for lime

Outwardly you might hear people exclaiming that its been a rubbish summer, and certainly there were spells when I would tend to agree, but actually, I've been out loads. Its been allright - there's been opportunity if you've been looking.

The routes and the lime started early in Buoux for Crab master Harris' stag do (I'm still smarting that I missed climbing at Volx due to hangover), then I got pumped having fun at Kilnsey. I did some good routes and was a bit scared, but happy.

Me and Ted went down Two Tier and he busted out Entree. Dylan took me to Turkey Dip rocks, and I even did new routes at Raven Tor (although I have a suspicion I've done them before). I tried to get into the Cornice (WCJ), but as soon as it dried out it was wet again and I along with everyone else gave it up. The bulk of this years action has been at Rubicon. I absolutely love it to bits. I get to feel like a good climber at Rubicon. Its nice and short, the holds are small and the routes are hard. On that subject Andy is on the front of this months Climber on Barracuda.

I've left a couple of gems for next year. To start the season I've got to finish Tribes, then Beluga, then I have only Barracuda and the Bastard to do! Would love to do the Bastard, but there dont actually look to be any holds. Closer inspection required. And besides, Char and I have hatched a plan to focus on Mecca...

I did think to myself I wouldnt ramble on today, but once again I have failed that objective.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The end of the LIME

So thats it then, the end of the lime for this year... or is it!? well no. As long as I can find someone to go with, I'm still keen. The problem now is that very soon its too cold and staying warm between redpoints becomes a mission. Plus, whilst i would love to do Beluga, I feel like I've been missing out on the grit action and I want to focus my attention elsewhere. We will see. If someone wants to go I'll be there, but I am happy to swerve for a week or so!

Today was the day. I knew it was on Wednesday when I didnt do it. And I suppose that was why I was happy to 'fail' then, I knew that the next time it would go down, and that day wasnt even really failure - I had issues before - I'd never been to the top (through the 'easy' top bit) and I was still trying to justify doing it with the 5th in. None of that today. Today it was all about the execution. I think wednesday skin stopped play, and its taken until now to recover. Not splits as such, but excrutiating bruised flesh under the skin. All gone today and I knew that and I knew it would go down. But knowing it will and doing are different. I get more nervous when I know I can do something than when I think I wont. I suppose its the worry of thinking 'will I fuck it up', 'will i have to text my friends and tell them i failed again?'. The secret to success if you are plagued by such thoughts is to empty your head and execute.

There was nowhere to warm up really. Certainly, it wasnt possible to do any crimping before getting actually on the route. Char put the draws in, which I would usually have been delighted about, because it would have meant I could start redpointing without wasting energy, but today, with nowhere to warm up, I wouldnt have minded bimbling up the start. I have my first go and my fingers are cold and despite doing the crux I cant really feel how I have the dish and shout take. Char has his first go, looks to struggle a bit with the feet but sticks the crux dish - for a second but thats that. My next go I know before I set off its 'the' go and I feel terrified on the lower easy wall. I wobble into the start of the hard section and delightfully, here it comes together. First pinch, second pinch into the gaston, my feet are perfect and I feel good. I think it must be good conditions today or something, I roll through off the shoulder press and snatch the dish. I cant believe it, I have three and half fingers right on the sharp lip of the dish - perfect, I look down and try to put my foot on the hold I've been using, but it feels off balance, so I step up high on something I've not been able to use when I've been struggling, but today it allows me to miss out a hold! with the thought that I should've saved enough for the top now I shuffle my feet and body upward. I stuff as many fingertips as I can in the undercut, and thanks to the practice I have the last move dialled. I may be out from the bolt but I know its easy and step up, roll over and I'm on the jugs. I can hear my shallow gasped breathing. I try to make myself take a minute but I sort of know its now or never. I think I had nightmares of getting to this point and fluffing the easy top bit, so I commit and give it everything. My right hand goes up and I've remembered how to hold the hold, I rock up right and my left darts out to a high edge - its an ok hold, but its not as good as you'd hope for at this point. I dont allow myself the luxury of a pause, BANG I've got the top! I dont feel as though I have had to fight as hard as I thought I would. I clip the belay and feel a muted sense of success. Part of this is because I dont want to be gloating when Char hasnt finished, and part of it I cant explain. I think I felt more pleased when I did the Sissy. Perhaps it will be a slow burning happiness that I will buzz off all week.

Char says his congrats, I clean the holds and lower off. His next go looks fantastic. He is all over it, and I totally think its on, but after a second on the dish he's off. I dont believe it. He lowers down and gets the redpoint willies. I dick around and talk shite. His next go looks good to the crux, his body seems tight in to the rock and I know he's not coming off. He reaches past the crux and steps up, then he really seems to struggle taking the undercut, I brace ready to hold his fall, but he's still on and rolls over into the break! whooo hooo! I shout something. He carries on, but really looks to be having to try on the top wall I am terrified that I have projected my failure onto him, but thank goodness he punches through and clips the belay. Nice one! phewweee! a good day out.

We pack our stuff and I head to BBG north to meet Dylan and Scouse on the Terrace. Its lovely in the burbage valley. I realise how much I have been longing for a different view!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Bloody rubicon

Bloody Rubicon! Bloody super conditions dependant sharp bastard crag! AAA* super perfect gritstone afternoon - 9 degrees, breeze, totally clear and fully baking down the con. Grrrreat. Me, Dylan and Paul headed down for about 1400 and clipped up our respective projects. It was no shirt weather over at Kudos wall. Paul had no rope, which meant one of either Dylan or I had to do the deed fast to donate the string. It all looked like me - I had been on the route on the Saturday and nearly done it then, and I felt pretty good warming up, so it certainly seemed to be on.

I pulled on the draws to place them all and gave the holds a scrub. Lowered back to the break to wait for a cloud. As soon as the sun was covered conditions got better and I started climbing. Felt shaky on the bottom two pinches, but not shaky enough to fall off. Felt well strong on the snatch up to the dish, held it well, moved through to the undercut and bam - done. I was on the jugs. Clipped, cleaned, lowered back off again. Now, at this point I should explain that people do Zeke with the 4th clipped. The first three are all really easy to clip, and I've climbed up and placed/clipped them from the ground so thats all ok - i.e. you could climb back down from here with no problem. Apparently everyone does it with the 4th clipped, the reason being it is where the old second was and this is seen as acceptable. You dont clip the 5th - its for dogging the moves, so with Morton logic I figured I could do it off the 5th as you'd not be missing a clip. But, this is gay. I forgot to tow down the rope and had to pull it all the way before my next go. But first, Dylan - Caviar.

Previously, he'd all but done it as I remember, but today seemed to have real problems with his feet, and it was a bit epic squirming about in the mud, so he literally had two goes and sacked it as a bad job. The first time he thought he might just have cooled down waiting for me, so he tried again, but it didnt get any better and he stripped it on the next go. Paul was still waiting for a rope.

Helen turned up and worked Kudos. We laughed and talked shit. Back to another redpoint, and this time no clips were in. Clipping up from the ground as I have said makes no difference to clip 3, but I dont really have a strategy for clip 4 and so stopped there. Now this was good because it gave me an opportunity to do the crux and up without clip5 in place. Which I did and was pleased because its ok. Pushed on to the top on this go and its no push over up there which is a bit of a worry. I mean, comparitively the holds are big but I will be tired and I think I could drop it from up there. Took a big lob off the top and came down to rest up.

All other goes ended at the crux move to the dish. I either stuffed my feet up a bit, or missed the fucking thing. I had one go were everything was perfect except I tried to go a bit too quickly and missed again. I need to calm down, slow it down and get it done!

D and P move to HFC. Paul hasnt climbed in over an hour, but plans to warm up on kudos - the hard way! he nearly does it as well. Has a minute and does do it, then continues with a fumble clip to the break. Its looking quite good as he sets up to make the big rock to the first of the edges, but theres cobwebs all over the left foot pocket and he skidadles off. Dylan has a go at the top wall and seems to climb it really easily, but has the boulder problem to do. Paul's last go - all others have failed, its all on him to make it count and he steps up to the challenge. He gets the wrong bit of the flake, has to adjust, comes in with his right, but thats not right either and he has to fight to stay attached, but fight he does and attached he is. He thrutches up in to the undercut by the 2nd bolt and clips - phew! He puts the next clip in and hangs out for a few minutes to get something back. Moving past the break is a move Paul struggles with - presumably because he is a pygmy not because of finger strength. He lunges but misses and thats it - we've all failed!

Or at least, we have on paper, but I'm happy as I have made progress in a couple of areas : 1 ) I have for the first time done the whole of the difficult section in a oner. 2 ) I have done the top of the crux above the bolt a couple of times. And 3) I have a sequence on the top wall. But as I said above, I'm a bit afraid of that. Not cause of the fall, but because its not that easy and I might fluff it!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Just a little bit more

In the space of a week autumn's really started. Last Sunday I drove down Froggatt pass and the leaves were green and on the branches, this week they were orange and swirling around the car. It was cold and there was a fair breeze - good redpointing weather? possibly too cold first thing. Met Char and Ed at Rubicon and set about warming up. The rock felt cold and I think I might have traversed too much on my first pull on. I'm very specific about what does and doesn't work for me as a warm up. Too much and I get a bit too pumped and dont manage to shake it off for ages (if at all), too little and I risk getting the flash pump when I first try something hard.

Char and I put the clips in Zeke and I set off for a bimble. I fall off at the crux move, which is a shoulder press to a dish. I'm not holding the press hold right and I dont feel amazing on the moves leading into it which is a bit of a disappointment, but with hindsight its probably just that I'm not warmed up enough. Char has his working out a sequence/remembering the holds go and its back to me. I think I fail again at the shoulder press and this time take a bit of time to work out what to do and how to hold that hold. We switch to redpointing - i.e. when you fall - no working the moves, just lower down and have a rest. Char steps up and climbs it much better, stabs at the dish but doesnt hold it. Ed Robinson goes off to RHS. Its my go again - feel nervous. Take a second to try and clear my head but rush starting and jitter through the easy lower wall. I fluff holding the first pinch of the hard section, and I know its all wrong so reverse down for a rest - should have just lowered off here to be honest - this is a route I cant afford anything to go wrong on, I need it all in my favour if I am to succeed. I think its within my capability to do it, but there's little or no margin for error. Anyway, that go goes from bad to worse and its Char again. He styles to the crux but falls. Back to me. I feel a bit wobbly but press on regardless, moving through to the shoulder press and snatching the edge of the dish, suprise myself by holding it! but I have only just held it, I bunch my fingers into a crimp and rock onto my left foot, but the rock out left now looks a long way so I snatch into a side hold by my face as an intemediate - which allows me to shuffle upward, my body now in the right position my left hand darts to the next hold but I cant quite set it up right and although I hold the position I know I cant move and let go. Dammit! thought if I got there that would be it.

Char and I both thought it was done and although it was close I didnt feel like i had anything left to make the last move which is a worry, but perhaps if the crux move goes a bit smoother I will be ok on the top too. I cant help but noticing that the sun is now on our bit of the wall and its noticeably warmer. He ties on and as he sets off I think this is it, he's gonna do it - and I want him to do, but I also want to be first. This is his best go. This is the one when he should have done it. The sequence looks refined, he climbs well but again is off at the crux. He cleans all the holds and returns to the ground. I feel fatigued as I set off, and I know this is my last go of any worth. I feel a bit more composed up to the crux, and I do slap to the dish a bit better... again I rock left and this time I widdle into the hold a bit better, enough that I can take the undercut - I step up and all I need to do is backfoot and bam - its done but I feel boxed and fall off again. On an easy move. Dammit! Char has another go and strips the route. I'm leaving the crag empty handed but I feel positive about my chances. I really think it should go down the next time I'm on it. And thats something to be excited about!

Doyle turns up and Char heads back to Sheff. I cant resist the allure of showing off to Doyle on the Kudos wall. He wants the beta so our objectives are compatible. The sloper doesnt feel that good and I cant do Tsunami or Low Left again - but think this is because I've been crimping all day so far and have a big nail bed split which I opens and hurts every time I crimp. I manage to wobble up low right, and feel quite fruity on the press move which is good. Doyle gets stuck in but cannot make his lanky frame fit and objects to the hold on the rail. Its good to catch up and after imparting all sequence knowledge I leave him in peace and go home to be normal.

Friday, 17 October 2008

I love you Dave

Dave waits for no man... Dave wont stand for lateness..... Thoughts rushing through my mind waiting to be picked up. But in the end, Dave wasn't even there! I'd babbled excitedly to my friends, who scrambled into their cars from opposite ends of the country and raced to Raven Tor, all in the hope of seeing an ascent of Hubble. I vowed that if Dave did Hubble I would nosh him off in the car park. My knees stayed clean and Dave stayed in bed. Well, he might have done, I don't know. Every car that was heard on the lane my heart leapt - is it Dave? but it wasn't.
Good nic torside last night! phewweeee no excuses there. Attendees on arrival were Zippy belaying Matt (no sirname, sorry) on Chimes, and Steve Mac and Rab on indecent direct and what looked like Mecca extn. Oh, and a lone man swearing at the Powerband. Warmed up and I was desperate to show off in front of the sweary man so we headed down there to do Kristian's direct on Wild in Me. I eventually did it - its good. At least 8c. We go back up to the roof of Ben, and I climb out to the headwall (the undercut hard way) but haven't breathed in minutes and am pumped. With my hand on the penultimate hold I wilt. Dylan and Keith busy themselves with moves, sequences, foot changes etc, I eat flapjack and wait. Still no Dave Graham. Oh well, no reason to save any beans - better have another go on BR. This time I get my hand to the finishing jug but absolutely cannot match. I spend what feels like a minute with my left on the jug, trying to find a position I can flick my right hand to the jug comfortably, but all I actually do is get more pumped. Some would give me that, but I'm not taking it. Easy to be virtuous when you've done things before.
Keith and I kit up for Revelations and Hubble. Yes, if Dave isnt going to put in an appearance then responsibility falls to Keith. I go on Rev and get nowhere. Nacho and Vicky turn up, Nacho gives me Jon's foot beta, but its about 9d and I can't do it. Keith goes to warm up for the flash on Hubble and I do a quick powerband lap. Well, a lap of getting to the end and then stepping off without trying. Back to Hubble. The Shirehorse steps up and pulls on to the first overlap, but there arent actually any grips and we cant see how you get to the blocky pinch. He pulls up and has a bit of a work of the next bit - the crux photogenic bit. It looks bloody desperate. And, this guy is not weak. The famous right hand crimp causes an exclamation as its so wank. Perhaps a cellar model is required! A minor stripping the route epic follows and then a drive home.
Conditions and weather bode well for the weekend. Its cold and bright. I hope the Rubicon lake goes down a bit, as I think I have talked Char and Dylan into coming on Zeke with me.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Sat at the bottom of the commercial climbing wall of life

Went to the Climbing Works last night with Dylan and Lucy. I tend to avoid the place on the main because whenever I go in I get mithered to fix the latest IT disaster. Did some circuit problems which I found hard to be honest. Feel like I'm good at pulling on small holds but yarding between ok ones on a long steep board is alien. Got shut down by the comp wall, managing a couple of 7a's, but needing more than one go on both and flashing a 7b - which had crimps on it. Blimey. I'm not too worried to be honest, I feel like I'm doing allright outside and I'd rather have the bias that way round.

As always, after tea time the place fills up, and this is another reason I'm not a regular - its lovely to see people but I cant help myself gabbing and end up standing round for hours on end talking shite - and thus, not climbing. Good to catch up with some folk though, and I suppose were I more regular I would see them more often and have less to catch up on. OOOOOh its a hard life.

How psyched would you be to hear that Dave Graham had done Hubble? I would be psyched out of my mind. In fact, i might drive to the tor, jug up Rev and wait in case he decides to pop by. You never know who might turn up....

Finally, the weather looks much better this afternoon, and I am going climbing! I would have loved to have gone on Zeke, but I suspect I shall struggle to muster enthusiasm from any quarter, such is the problem with having projects to do, no quality control and being a devotee of a particular venue when everyone else has sense/moved on.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Staring at the finishing hold on the mystical board of life!

So much of climbing is linked to energy levels. Monday is a funny day because you are tired after the shock of going back to work after two days off, but rested because the sleep deficit hasnt built up yet. Which almost always means I start strong but wilt after about an hour.
It's a treat to be back on a good board again - I've missed it. Boards are the answer. Well, not completely the answer, but a board is a better training medium than a climbing wall. But for Dylan's board I think I would have to look at building one. But, so much of climbing well on a board depends on the combined energy of the people in the room. Its tough to get yourself going on your own sometimes.
I would so love some frame of reference to be honest. I feel like we are doing some hard moves on that board, but without anything to compare to I'm not sure. Talking to Paul, the place the school boards now live is some sort of dumping ground in which they plan to clear a space for us to use for a few months, but I guess people will be reticient to spend time, energy and money putting it back up if its only temporary. I would love to pull back on that board to know where I'm at.
So, a good session - Dylan, Garry, Paul Bennett and Joe Brown. Feel positive about my chances on Wednesday - remember, approach with confidence but show humility. 

Monday, 13 October 2008

Heed young punk!

I would like to warn against making false judgements on your relative standing within the climbing community. Its demoralising when you think you are at a certain level to realise that actually, where you thought you were is further down than you realised because you discluded a whole breadth of people. So really, what it is you are realising is that you aint as good as you thought you were. Remember, the people you know are not all the people.

However, irrespective of your abilities I should also like to use this platform to extol the virtues of social ettiquete. This is the imprecise science which should be applied in your dealings with others, and yet all too often is ignored. You may be an 8b uber wad (and if so well done), but a little humility goes a long way. Although you should approach the crag with inner feelings of confidence, outwardly visible over confidence leads others to think you a cock. Even if you arrive at the crag, announce you are gonna do the hardest problem and then do actually do it, spraying about it first leaves other people with the impression that you are a cock. Theres self assured-ness and arrogance - the two are different.

Additionally, stating the grade of every problem you've ever done after describing it suggests your motivations for pulling on holds are kudos rather than joy. This is a shame and stamps another nail in the you are a cock coffin. ANYWAY. On to happier things :

There is a good scene of strong young punks at the moment. Its quite something to behold. I went climbing with some of these spunking young cocks on Saturday. We went to Anston Stones, which is one of these worksop area crags Mick 'The daddy of striking cheekbones' Adams has developed. On first impressions it looks quite good - a wavelet of limestone tucked besides a train track, but there are few holds in the roof and only a couple of lines that actually cross it, those that do require a fair span to make the distance. We start the festivities on a 7c to the far right. The climbing isnt great to be honest - a sort of slightly unpleasant slap required to gain a jug at the top. Its the only hard move but requires lunging nastily out over a spikey boulder. I have the willies and dont seal the deal. Team big numbers set up camp under a hard problem next to the entrance gully, starting in good undercuts a long reach back left leads to a pinchy edge and then a hard tension match into an undercut beside it, I dont manage this move at all, although I do only have one go, I dont think its a move I would do easily so I dont even bother. Ned, Tom Newman and Dave Mason all look pretty fruity on this problem - I am impressed by their strength, tenacity and body tension, but then in comes Dan Varian! A.N.O.T.H.E.R L.E.V.E.L! I've never actually seen him try hard and try hard he did - with a bit of scuttling he dispatches. It looks desperate. The midges come out and it goes dark and so we sack it off.

I start Sunday with a quick pootle down Stoney. I would have loved to have gone on the grit, but it had obviously leathered it down overnight and I didnt think anything would be dry. At stoney I managed to do Sean's problem which is good. Popped up to Tom's roof and didnt really do anything.

This week, tonight at the board, wednesday out - dont know where. Thursday lunchtime stealth session, then it looks like Saturday morning becomes saturday daytime club! only have to be home mid afternoon.

Friday, 10 October 2008

So Solid

Well its been a horrible week for me. From Monday to Wednesday I was basically flat out with hideous stomach cramps and the shits. That got better through weds and by Thurs I could spend extended periods upright, which may not sound great but certainly felt it. I had a solid poo last night - albeit a very small one, and now I think I am constipated! Sigh.
Cinema tonight, lie in tomorrow - climb tomorrow aft/sunday AM.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Queens crag itis

So, when I last wrote everything was allright. I was lying on a sofa watching telly and excited about the prospect of going to Queens crag the next day. Although, with hindsight, I think I was starting to feel a bit more achey and tired then than I should have done by rights. By tea time I was starting to be very gaseous and getting stomach cramps, which evolved into the shits through the night - bad but made worse by the toilet block being a walk away, and requiring one to be dressed. Anyway, I felt rubbish. Sunday started out fine. Not a cloud to be seen and really cold. Got some immodium and felt pretty normal again. We drove to Queens :

and, as you can see, it was gorgeous. Everything felt different from last time, it felt closer, although I suppose a lot of that is knowing where you are headed, but, i think I must have been iller than I thought last time.

I managed to bring them to the edge atop queen kong, which is the most impressive thing there, and adds to the wow factor on arrival. We checked out some other stuff but started the day on the power is on block just down from the edge. Again, here highlighting just how bad I must have been then - this felt steady away. I got to the crimp before the second boulder but the holds up there were wet and the easy top bit was impossible.

We moved to Worldline. I romp along it and again - it all feels easy. Ed and Dylan are clearly nervous about the flash but I try to impart as much beta as possible and ensure all the holds are clean. Ed dispatches :

Dylan also flashes the problem and concious of time we move beneath queen kong. I didnt even try it last time, this time between us we do fairly well working a sequence but noone completes the deal.

I'll hurry up typing now as I feel sick. We quest along the edge to the Magician's nephew, which I will remind the forgetful reader, I actually failed on last time I was here. Theres a committing move I wouldnt commit to, but actually its pretty steady. We all romp up it and then head back out to the car.

at which point I begin to feel really sick. I hold it all back until getting home and then just crash. Feeling utterly utterly rubbish. Took yesterday and today off work.

Full photoset here

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Lip liner

We knew it was going to rain today, so we made sure we were up and out early. Record in fact, 9am. Drove to kyloe and walked up to the crag in growing drizzle. Forgotten just how good a crag kyloe is, although sharp is certainly a word I could use to describe the holds. I should come here more, it really is great. After a warm up we move to Cubbys lip, and still the crag belongs to us. After a lot of general flailing we've seen the way and its on. Twice I get established in the finishing crack but am unable to move down to the jugs! Dammit! Work that but but skin is too sore and have to admit defeat.

A load of people turn up and we chat and exchange beta. Two sound lads from the climb Newcastle thing show us how it goes down - if only they could have arrived earlier! They pronounce less than ideal conditions which makes us feel better about the situation. We walk back out and slump at the Bunkhouse. I don't know what happened then as it hasn't happened yet. I love the county, its brilliant. Shame its so far away.

Queens tomorrow.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Another Rubicon hopeful

Climbing as an activity lends itself to fabricated ascents. You may be on your own, there may be no witnesses and so you ask to be taken at your word. The idealist reading this will bristle at this statement - why can we not give everyone the benefit of the doubt? because people lie!

In theory it totally doesnt matter what other people say and do. If they're not talking about you or hurting anyone, then why should you care? you shouldn't of course. So why does it matter if someone embellishes their own acheivements? again, it shouldnt - they're only kidding themselves, so dont sweat it. But it does matter. When you put a lot of time and love into an activity its more than just an arbitary pastime - you've become more involved, and so if you think someone's making stuff up then it irks - why should I bother training and trying and failing and being honest about my failure when i could just say I did it too? Its a hollow victory saying you did summat you didn't - you know you didnt really do it. Although I do wonder if some people convince themselves...

The benefit of the doubt is afforded people based on what you've seen them doing. For instance, having climbed with Paul Bennett and having seen him do some very hard problems at the board (sometimes with weight on), its reasonable to assume that at the very least he is extremely strong and I have no trouble believing he is capable of doing some very hard routes/problems. I've never had the pleasure of climbing with Paul on a slab, so I dont know that he is an equally skilled technician, but - he is a good climber. If he said he'd done a new 8b somewhere (for instance) I wouldnt struggle with that.

People have bad days, go through rubbish patches - may even be particularly good at one facet and not another, which is why a value judgement about someone else's abilities should not be formed on a single experience. As another example, I can remember Rupert Davies and Rocket man Rob Smith actually rolling about laughing at my laybacking technique. If you saw Adam on the Kudos wall you would still see a very talented climber at work but you wouldnt get the best impression of his skills.

Dont be reading this thinking I am talking about Scott Mclellan - I'm being general, although that is what got me thinking about it. I shouldn't have said he didn't based on climbing with him once, and the internet is no place to debate these things, plus, he's said he's several witnesses - even mentioned one of their names, it sounds awful to be needing to know who someones witnesses were, but when you've come from behind to the very very front people are gonna want to know how you got there and that you actually did. Anyway, thats enough of that - don't tell fibs kids.

It rained and rained and rained yesterday. I drove to the Tor to meet Ed and Dan. The rocks were pretty much dry, but the floor was v.wet. Staminaband undercuts dry, pocket 4 in powerband a bit spoogy but climbable. Junior Fred Nicole was camped out there, Debbie birch traversing about, Stone, Jon Cook, Sharples and Simon of the unknown sirname. It was really cold - dare I say baltic? I dare - it was. Ed wanted to go on Dangerous Brothers and I on Beluga so without even putting my boots on we zipped around to the mighty Con. Remember the wellies? thankfully still in the car. The crag is completely flooded again and they were necessary to make an approach. When I walked in it was about 4 or 5 inches deep, when we walked out about 8!

Who would ever have thought that two essential items for climbing at Rubicon would be wellies and pallets? Ed and I create a platform just out of the water for him to start from and I come on belay in wellies. He climbs up to the crux and looks to be a bit uncertain, but takes the holds and pulls them down, he's got the jug! amazing! he clips and rumbles up to the top but hasnt got a krab for the belay so jumps off in celebration. THis is not like us - we dont just get on and do stuff, usually theres at least three hours of fannying about before such things happen. We head back to the Rubicon island beneath the Sissy and Zeke. I dont feel massively excited about getting on Zeke - the last time I tried I couldnt hold any of the holds or positions and thought it was fully desperate. I knew I could do beluga and wanted the success rather than a working out the moves session. But, in the final analysis I had more than that on Zeke and have lit a new fire of desire. So, this time after some of the aforementioned fannying I basically did it in two sections. Its gone from being totally implausible to being on. I dont know where I will clip from but I'll work something out.

We leave and I pop to the climbing works to see Ed Robinson. Its rammed.