Friday, 19 December 2008

T-t-t-t-tiger stripes

Last night at the Foundry I had the eye of the tiger. There's nothing more cheering than climbing well when there's others there to see it. Dylan, Ned, Dave Mason, JonBoy, Ed Rob, Busby, Dan Walker and Rob Napier all tearing it up on the wave. Noone even ventured to the board.
The Beastmaker distribution centre is poised ready to swing into action, and there is still some chance of a pre xmas shipment.
I break up today for two lovely weeks off, and I cannot wait!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Foundry comp round 2 on Monday. I was exhausted when I got there and it didnt go well. Only 2 hard problems, probably 4 droppers in total (i.e. of 20 problems, 4 were droppable/5 if you missed a trick on another, but am not including it as once you knew what to do it was very easy). Polish Dave, Stu and Roy Muesli will have been the contenders for winning this round. One hard problem on the board, I flashed to the penultimate hold, matched it and fell off - about 10 times. Feel certain Ned would have flashed this one. The hard problem on the wave was tricky up to the last two moves, then it was evil brick hard. It wasnt that I didnt do it because I didnt climb well, I didnt do it because i dont know if I would ever do it!

With such a poor performance as a backdrop, expectations for Tuesday's big day out were low. I collected Ned and Dave from their house in Crookes and set sail for Yorkshire, starting at Caley. Given that the roads into the area were wet, it seemed doubtful that Caley would be in good condition and it wasnt. Got a tour from Dave of the crag area which I have actually never been to. Understand now why people are so suprised I'd never been up there now - its really good. Banked lots of things I would like to do for when it is dry.

We'd always thought that in heading to Yorkshire we would at least be able to fail back to Almscliffe. This was our next stop and I can honestly say I have never seen the cliff in such a state of disrepair. Almost everything was wet. Went up to Demon Wall roof and that was about as good as it got, but it really wasnt good. Did a new thing (for me) called Pebble wall, then Ned did something which isnt Hot Dog Fromage, but is dolphin belly slap without the arete. Jon turned up. We tried to go to Matt's roof - soaked. Continued back to the Virgin to look at Dick Hymen. It too was wet. Had a look at Gypless - I dismissed the top at as nearly certain death and bottled it, whilst Dave, Ned and Jon all rinsed it out. They then turned their attention to something which wasnt called Magnum PI but much hilarity was had describing it as such. Some to'ing and fro'ing was required before Ned took out his balls and went for it. It looked gripping, and led to the same slimy E27 top out they had waiting for them at the top of gypless. I was glad I wasnt pretending to be brave and had my trainers on. Dave was next to succeed, seemingly scrittling his way over the top in a moment that was both inspiring and terrifying for those of us left on the ground.

Next it was my turn to shine and the four of us wedged ourselves in the cleft of Jess' roof. It was unclimbably wet. We went back to demon wall roof to finish the afternoon off, then drove home and went to the climbing works, which was almost unclimbably busy. And, I was useless. To say it didnt feel like I'd done any climbing I was knackered and left soon after starting.

Monday, 15 December 2008

ticking over

Ed says the blog has gone off the boil. I feel a bit like I have gone off the boil too though, and its only reflective of mood so what can I do about it? get back on the boil! get involved in something new and exciting. I have known this for a few weeks, and I have thought its me not having something to focus on, but its also that although its looked brilliant outside its actually been quite damp. Or, perhaps with better choices of venue and project it hasn't, but I haven't made these.

Last Thursday I took her to her xmas do over in New Mills. This was at lunchtime, I had the afternoon off, so I headed to the Tor to see whether it was dry. It wasn't - very wasn't. Chatted to Zippy for a bit and high tailed it round to Rubicon, which was dry. Sticky underfoot but climbable. Warmed up and realised that without anyone to show off to I wasn't motivated to repeat problems I'd previously done and decided to go do Soft on the G at Gardoms, however, that looked wet (from the road) so I went to my next choice - Burbage South for Electric Storm. The 'hard' bit was dry, but the 'easy' top bit wasn't. Finished the day at the Foundry with Ed Robinson and a cast of strong people. Which was good.

Friday we were off work and I got to trawl around Meadowhall. Brilliant. Went to the cinema in the evening - Madagascar - escape to africa. Dont bother. It rained a lot. Given that everything would be wet I didnt even bother setting an alarm to get up early to try climbing outside, I just plumped for the climbing works - which had new comp problems to do. Met Ed again, and Dylan and Lee and loads of people. What the climbing works does really well is providing a social experience. The comp problems were good and I left tired. Saturday night was the CW birthday party. I didnt go, but did meet Dylan in the Lescar for a drink first.

Yesterday she and I walked into town and had lunch on the way back. I didn't sleep well and feel knackered today. This is a problem because tonight is the Foundry comp. Tomorrow I'm off and I'm going climbing.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The Witchhunter meets the witch

On paper, climbing can be a solitary activity. It is possible to go out, buy a guidebook and then go climbing on your own, and to choose good problems. The problems you may try/do might be good ones, you might find the sequence before fatigue sets in and you might therefore, return home happy. There are also a lot of shit problems in the world, and a lot of conditions dependant/esoteric/downright rubbish crags. If time is of the essence, then you can do no better than enlist the help of a local hero. The point of all of this is the reason why I never built a board of my own. I obviously lack imagination and get so much more out of being shown the way. I think I am more motivated towards repeating other peoples problems than establishing ones of my own.
When the Foundry board was first opened I was a bit ambivalent towards it. When Dylan opened his I was mega psyched, and the reason it was different was because there was a big team sessioning it and creating problems. I did have a session on the Foundry board with Leo ages ago, but the disparity between our ability is so great that the projects I was left with I really knew I would never do. In short, I left it looking for a more pleasing experience, i.e. one I came away from feeling good, which means having done some climbing. Its important to climb with people better than you, but I mean people in the same ball park, me climbing with Moger on the Foundry board is like Dave Graham going out with Fiendy pops!
Last night was the first night I've been up to Dylan's for a few weeks and I think we have learnt some important board building lessons. The foundry board is good because of three things, the featured footholds - better than dan and ned's slick abominations but worse than dylan's screw on foot jibs, the rail at the top (means you cant get half way up the board and just launch), and the variety of holds (at dylans the small holds are all quite incut (or so it feels), which means if you tag the hold you will hold it). At Dan and Ned's all three exist, but the base level is higher. And its small. In short we are going to reset Dylan's board apres Xmas.
Dylan had a split tip, so after trying valiantly he sacked it, and so that he could call it quits we went to the Foundry. And there was Scott McLellan. Unfortunately he was there to do rowtes so I didnt get to be startled by the strength, pulverised by the power or terrified of the tension, but we did have a chat and I got his number.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Jerry passes the magic on

Monday nights performance is inversely proportional to how much sleep I had on Saturday night. If I did nothing on Saturday night then I slept well, which means that on Sunday, I struggle to get to sleep early enough to cope with Monday morning, which in turn means that by Monday night I am tired. As we went out and I was in a strange bed this Sat, so I slept like a log on Sunday and felt on it last night at the Foundry. 
Anyone waiting (like me) for a Beastmaker should note that they are still awaiting parts from America (the testicles of a water buffalo apparently), although Nedwyn did say there is light at the end of the tunnel. Yes Ned, but that's a train.
As I was packing up Jerry arrived. He was there to coach kiddies for the Foundry Academy. I want to know if there is an upper age limit for pupils cos I want Jerry to coach me. But tonight, hopefully - Dylan's board.

Friday, 5 December 2008


I opened the curtains to find some snow, but nowhere near the astronomical proportions predicted. Figured it would be busy on the roads and was right. Pic from our road at 0630.

Took me an hour to get to Chesterfield, but when I did there was no snow. Just heavy rain. Further hold ups due to a horse on the motorway, then a long day in Slough.

When I got home there was a CD on the door mat. On it were some nice pics from Ed Brown :

The crag of the summer :

Andy Hutch on tribes:

Me on Zeke le Freke

Dan Cheatham on the Sissy (nice light) :

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Grumpy bitch

I wasn't supposed to be working from home today, but my windscreen wipers have died (or rather, had died) so I kinda had to. Turns out they hadn't really died, but needed a bit of love. The other way of looking at that is that the faulty part has been freed off and oiled. It might stick again. Ah well, I'm sure you care less than I do about the windscreen wipers on my car, so I shall move on.

Paul B - your new attitude is great. You are still a pessimistic chap in nature (perhaps it is the engineer in you - always seeing that which can go wrong), but no longer is the world shrouded in darkness. It is a pleasure to get burnt off by you.

Andrew Asquith - you suprised me too. I think you try to hard to be matey with people and come across as false and insincere. Relax, dont push it - let friendship come naturally. I came away from our encounter tonight thinking - oh, he's not so bad!

Andy, Shiv and Fi - all lovely to see you all.

Sports nutrition is something I would like to understand more about. Schoolboy errors were made this evening. I ate too much too soon before climbing and as a result felt bilious through the first hour. As I had climbed like a donkey due to this I did a James Foley - have a thousand bad goes on something in the hope of getting one good one. Then I managed a really big fart, the tension released and climbed well for about 30 minutes before fatigue set in. Which was quite annoying. I want always to be brilliant.

Didnt even go on the board, sticking instead to a schooling from the crabmaster on the wave. Its just brilliant that wall. The hold density, the smears - its brilliant. A joy to climb on.

So, from here - I am supposed to be going to Slough tomorrow, but its supposed to snow really heavily, so I may be about. Depending on the weather I might do something during the day. Next climbing will be Saturday morning, which is forecast to be ok, but if this motherlode of snow materialises will anything be climbable? I realise I'm not adrift without a project, just feeling the lack of opportunity to get out.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Scotland the baltic

How was your weekend? I would have guessed at another super saturday, as far as the weather reports seemed to suggest it would have been cold, dry and bright. Me and the Honey Monster went to Stirling in Scotland to see a friend. Its ok Stirling but I wouldnt rush back, nothing specifically to complain about, and a great castle, but nothing amazing to rave about either - just another not especially pretty small town with all the things that un special small towns have. Very very cold. Ate and drank loads and did no physical exercise which was nice but yesterday back at the Foundry I felt heavy. We bought our xmas tree yesterday. I love xmas - whats not to like? I dont get people who get mardy about it.