Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Broken dreams

Done a new problem on the board last night. Will update the Wiki in a min - but understand those who have registered might not be able to edit pages? which is presumably why you havent done? I'll have a look at this today. Anyway, new problem is thus :

diagonal undercut rail to side
Wooden finger jug in middle
opposite wooden jug with pocket in (we really need a picture of the board)
three finger resin pocket right on edge
little dowel rail - this might be called flash.
big wooden pinchy block
three finger pocket in the middle of the board
top.

Its good. did it right hand side only. Nearly did left, but it will have to wait until wednesday.

The flake which the stand to Dreamtime starts off has falled off I read.



Oh, and in the latest climb magazine, the back pages are keith (genius), and theres a two page spread with a topless Ned, and Dan's girlfriend. I have a great idea for an article. I shall have to find out how one would go about speaking to Neil about it.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Frustratalog

Still havent managed to climb outside. I have been out several times, but on all occasions things didnt work out. Dave THE CALIFORNIAN and I went to BBg South quarries on wednesday to look at leotard legend and Zorev. Both look good and doable. Both were also wet. Where does Captn Invincible go? The cioch is an inspiring block. Ended up at the works on the board with steely fingered 7b+ legend Jon Welford.

The next installment of this fascinating tour of indoor climbing venues happened on Thursday with Britain's best bum doctor (folog) and Britain's best pinch doctor (edlog) at Awesome walls stockport. Previous I had been once and it had been about a thousand degrees. Since then they have opened a new section, but its still a thousand degrees. The new section feels blummin high - jesus, you could clip three bolts and not be laughed at! The board is good - its massive, and there feel like a lot of quite big holds. I think screw on foot jibs will help, and at the moment you can stand on wood - soft wood, so those holds will be mashed before long. Its good to climb on a board which allows hands for feet though, as it does make a change to your style. Edlog looked beastly. Me and Folog did not.

By now, we had been the proud owners of a wood burner for all of four days, so with us both at home all day friday, and her laid up with a hangover, this was its day of reckoning. Its brilliant. I love it. The heating was off all day and the stove belted out heat for us - for free! Friday night we went to see Where the wild things are. Its visually lovely, but lacking in moral fibre. But then, as I remember it, the book was too. More about giving you the pictures to dream with than sending a message I suppose. About 60%.

Saturday looked hopeful. The sky dawned with sun about although the floors and roads were all wet. It actually started raining by the time I arrived in the plantation car park, and in digust I sacked it back to the works (and because i needed a shit) again. With Tom Slater in tow for company we bimbled round 1-20 of the white circuit and then got involved with the comp wall/board. I had a splitting headache so didnt feel very hardcore. Meanwhile outside it got better and better. I had to go home and sort the house for our xmas visitors so I couldnt do anything about it. Texted Edlog - mint conditions apparently. Spent next hour in a mildly black mood wishing to have gone out.

Talking of tom slater and edlog :

Fontainebleau Escalade from stom on Vimeo.



Saturday night was our friends xmas do. 41 of us had rented the entire Milestone in Kelham island. Lovely meal, quite a lot of drinks. Ended up in the Forum - my god, it is really shit in there now. I thought it was a credible venue, but it was chav heaven. Awful. Saw Pete Whitaker (not to insinuate hes a chav by the way, he seems a thoroughly charming young man, perhaps he was on someone elses xmas do or something).

Sunday was all about the stove. We fired it at about 11am and it didnt go out until 10pm. No heating on all day, toasty. So, this week. Tonight at the climbing log board, wednesday night at the climbing log board. Thursday afternoon I am hoping to be out. I will be in leeds, so it will be either the cliff or caley.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Right on Dave

More time passes and still noone (other than Adam Lincoln) has managed to go 'outside'. Apparently, somewhere beyond the Climbing Works there's these majestic brown rocks and some crazy cats actually climb up them? I mean - whoa! is this like free solo rock boulderizing or something? Whatever, this writers incarceration in the countries climbing walls continues.

I remember when BoulderUK opened. It was the first to forge the bouldering only format, and at the hand of Vickers it hosted some of the best problems around. I remember when a trip there was exciting, so when the opportunity to visit with Britain's best bum doctor came up this weekend I didn't mind so much that another weekend would pass without actual rock climbing. Well, didn't mind isnt quite right, more a case of resigned to my fate. Anyway, once the combined fannying around power of the Morton/Foley climbing machine had wasted plenty of climbing time we arrived and paid in. What I remember was clearly tinted by the rose spectacles. The wall was crowded and very dirty. I remember it being much bigger. Anyway, that was that - we had a nice afternoon although I didnt feel it was one of the more stellar climbing experiences of my life.

Yesterday was wood burning stove day. Partly an effort to reduce our dependancy on fossil fuels, partly to make life cheaper (gas going up 60% this year) and partly to indulge the hunter gatherer instinct we have had a wood stove fitted. The cost of so doing is made expensive by the need to have the chimney lined (£1200), and thats not including the cost of the stove itself. Anyway, its in now. So I get to buy an axe.

This tale of intrigue finishes with a board session yesterday. Harry Pennells is really using his incarceration to build up a massive advantage - he looks well strong. MC hammer continues to swing and flick around the board like a wood elf and Mr Tom Slater even eschewed orbiting the entrance board in favour of some real action with some real heroes. Oh, and strong Geordie man whose name I dont know. Hello strong Geordie man pet.

Joe seems to have taken offense at the rapidly out of control Dave 'the racist' thing. Firstly, it was actually Dylan's idea after Dave referred to the boulder problem "Trigger Cut" as something else. Fix the problem, not the blame. Dave isn't actually a racist, although he was once a postman. Dave is a very nice mild mannered chap with rakish cheekbones, balanced views and strong moral fibre. So, how about Right on Dave the hobo homo? The problem is that DtheR has something of a ring to it.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Dobbie Burns

I havent told you about Edinburgh. It was good. By far the most beautiful city in the UK. I love the Georgian buildings - just being there makes you feel christmassy - which, now that it is December is officially 'allowed'. Its a bit of a shame they are digging up Princes st, and that george st is covered in buses and cones and shit, but I understand they cleared out on Sunday (just after we left) to allow for xmas.

We had a lovely basement flat in one of the amazing Georgian Terraces just out in the New town, walkable back to the action, and run by a really nice man. I am never staying in a hotel again. getting a holiday rental is such a better use of your money. So, friday night we went round the xmas market - drinking gluhwein and eating aberdeen angus burgers. Saturday we shopped, whisky toured (this is really good!) and went for lovely French meal at little bistro place called Cafe St Honore. Which we agreed was very nice. About £90 for the two of us, with wine. Considering it was a french restaurant, they could have gone either contemporary twist, or scottish twist - and they went Scottish - which seems a bit paradoxical. Are you a French or a scottish restaurant? They can cook though, so style elements aside - definately recommend. Sunday we pretty much got up, got the train and went home.

I then sold the decks on eBay. I got £265 for the pair, which initially I was a bit disappointed with, but Sam reckons that this is a good price. He bought his on eBay for £350 5 years ago. Felt a bit better after that.

The mood of the climbing world has been hugely affected by that progression film. Rarely do you see anyone without a weight belt on these days. And you see them all the time - thousands of moves, thousands of days on is the current vibe. I suppose also that sightings will be condensed as everyone in the world is locked in the Climbing Works. Or at least, thats how it feels. I am at the end of three days on myself. I went to the Works on monday and trained with MC hammer. Got a few new probs which have been updated onto the wiki : http://motherboard.wikispaces.com. Tuesday I went to get pumped in the depot roof, and yesterday I met Dylog and Dave the Racist (who isnt actually a racist by the way, I just thought it would be funny to dub him an offensive nickname, which seems to be sticking) and climbed on the board. Felt a bit fat, or tired, or both.

The reason for the tiredness is the fault of 'Wood-burning-stove-man', who was late/non existent. We are having a woodburning stove installed. I am massively psyched, but cannot be done with workmen who stretch themselves too thin and forget to tell you they are not going to be able to make it. However, like the consumer champion I am, the same man is still coming on monday (I hope), and has not been bollocked for his tardiness. I think he is a nice man, just trying to take too much on. Hopefully monday we are his only job.

Finally, I was going to go secret training at the depot again at lunchtime. But I dont think I will get the chance now.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

So whats so good about Sheffield?

Proximity to the crags is one thing, but when its always raining you could be forgiven for asking yourself - whats so good about blummin Sheffield? Its the people, and its the climbing walls. Today, I tried to go actual rock climbing. You know, outside - as in, actually on the rocks themselves. It does feel a bit as though I have been locked in that corner of the climbing works for about three weeks, so when today started sunny I was excited. Dave the racist, Dylog, Garry, Sam and Lu all met for a warm up at the works. To say we were frothing would be an understatement. The car park was dry, the sky was clear - all signs were good.

As Dave and I crested Dore Moor the sky didnt look so perky. We parked up and could see Sam and Lu and persons unknown over at the nose. We started out towards North, but quickly turned back when some light rain started gusting in. As we reached them at the Nose the heavens opened. "The jobs fcuked", and so it was - back to the Climbing works. Proud new dad Cofield is greets us as we arrive, flexing his guns in the doorway, I hasten to congratulate him before Dylog, Garry and I set about some of the yellow problems. To my delight I seem to be climbing well (its all relative!) better than monday anyway, and I manage to flail up a couple I'd dropped then.

If ever I become a publican (not likely), the public house I run will be named "The Flailing man".

Adam, Worm and Sam phase in and out and its like actually having a team session outdoors. Thats what I like so much about climbing. Those days when everyone is out and you are climbing with a team. And thats what you get so perfectly in Sheffield. There are always people about to go climbing with, your options sometimes feel limitless, but sometimes you'll miss the trend or others will be out when your not. Its not that people in Sheff try particularly hard, but that its easy to be motivated when there are so many people around you going well.

I've had a good day today, and I didnt even go on the board! to cap it all, as I was winding down I got to climb with Rob Smith, Andy Reeve and even the mighty Bogginator.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Motherboard Wiki

I have created one. Please add your problems, and a picture and so on:

Motherboard Wiki

Wiki Wiki Wah Wah

I am under pressure to use up my accrued flexi hours, so a week ago I booked a flexi day off. Only I didnt end up taking it because the weather was so bad there was no point. I split it into two half days and had one last wednesday and the next one this wednesday. However, its likely to be raining again, so I will be at the climbing works most likely. Which is also where I was yesterday. From 2pm. Sounds early? I started work at 0600. My hours were done and I was off at 12. In spite of the rain all reports suggest best ever conditions at the Tor on Sunday, and so I started driving out, reaching Ringinglow road before reasoning that an actual river running down the road wasnt the best indicator of great conditions. I headed home and did some housework before going to the wall. Dull, but necessary.

Dont worry, this isnt going to be a blow by blow account of a circuit at the climbing wall, just a generalised statement in which I will tell you that Dylog, Percy and I had a good time flailing on some of the new yellows. Its interesting climbing on things other than the board, as it highlights the value in so doing. Stubbs and I were talking about this last night on the Twatter. If you over do any one board or crag you become a specialist, and too much specialism gets you up only things at that specific venue. This was particularly evident at the Mill where the rule is that its hands for feet except where the hands are wood, and you dont stand on wood. This is a good rule and allows both rules to exist side by side. Stubbs argument is that because its harder on small foot jibs, so it makes you stronger for when you have bigger feet - and I sort of agree, but I also think theres a stylistic difference in how you climb with hands for feet. Perhaps its something about the way in which you move?

So, it is with this in mind I propose a new ideal board configuration. Maintain the same density of bad wooden footholds, but also allow feet on resins (and perhaps a few more resins to make this possible)?

Dylog left and was replaced by Keith. Been far too long and it was nice to see him. He claims to be weak, but is strong. Climbed some good problems on the board, and invented/got shown a few other new ones. For those who might go and try, write these down :

This first one is one I set myself last night, although is so obvious I would be suprised if it hasnt been done already. Essentially climbing the original easy problem :

Start matched on undercut bar
Right to good square pinch (using the top of it)
Left into good undercut above Monkey shot
Right all way to good Beastmaker pinch
Ninja stab to Beastmaker crimp
Top.

This one from Ned, dunbar pinching (pinky and thumb around either side) allowed :

Fat legs ucut pinches
Big dowel
13f
14k
17h
Top.

Which reminds me - i need to investigate wiki pages.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Mills and Doyle

As the week wears on, interest in the weather forecast increases, to a point on Thursday or friday where its almost every other thing I do - refresh the weather page. No amount of refreshing changed what was to be a complete wash out in weather terms this weekend. The honey monster was Chester bound to go see a friend, so I was continuing into Wales to the Cave - which was in the worst condition I have ever seen!

Doyle had warned me, but I still wasnt prepared - the whole cave was completely the wrong colour - condensation saturating almost every hold. There were people in the very back pulling on clammy holds, but I was warned that sudden dismounts were of the order of things. My boots remained in the car. Doyle had offered a backup tour of the Mill, so it was there we headed. Before we talk about that, whilst on the subject of the cave, I think there was ed Robinson's mate Dave there - who I thought had gone away somewhere? and also Richie Crouch - who I think I have met before. Richie looked pretty strong and was doing what I think a reasonable link through the dirt at the back towards the wobbly jug. I have tried these moves, and I dont think I could even pull on!

The rain continues to fall in stair rods. The car steams up, theres standing water on the road and no sign of the sun. We drive towards the mountains and pull up outside a large stone mill building. My enthusiasm (which would usually have been at fever pitch by now) is dampened by the river running down the road, and the rain scratching at my face. Doyle fumbles with a heavy padlock - inside, I'm met by a scene I imagined from Jerry's youth! Wow. What a great space. Its a two storey working building which is partially rented out to the board collective. The board is upstairs. Climbing the aforementioned stairs is terrifying - its dark, theres sharp looking tools strewn across the floor and the magnified sound of the wind and rain frustrated by the roof of the building. Just like the school theres some grimness required before the fun begins, and when he manages to plug the lights in I am greeted by a behemoth of a board in an incredible spacious layout. This is an awesome facility!

The mats are covered with the detritus of climbing wall manufacture, which is why its a bit unloved at the moment. Unjustly so in my eyes - a really good climbing wall quality board with proper mats and everything. Granted it could use some homely touches, but it is also a working building - so what do you expect. I get a good tour from Doyle and although we only have a two hour session, when we leave I am ready to do so. Do some good problems and leave one of my own. I have a pic, and will upload it in a bit.

Spoke to Edlog yesterday (the scarlet pimpernel! will our paths ever cross again?!) and he reckons the tor was mint on saturday. I had a big change to do (network integration) early this morning, so my 7hrs will be done by lunchtime, and I wonder about heading torwards. Rubicon will surely be flooded? I would be suprised if the Tor is allright to be honest - I mean friday was ok, so perhaps thats why it was alright on sat...

Thursday, 19 November 2009

12 stone of sinew

It feels like ages since I wrote, and that's because it is. There is good reason for this abstinence - there's been nothing to tell. I've imposed a "not-writing-about-the-board" ban, which is about to be broken. Mostly it is quite dull, but occasionally something other than ninja hand movements occurs in that dark corner of the climbing works, and a blog is formed.

Yesterday was something of a mammoth session, although I sadly missed the beefiest mammoths who arrived just after I left. But as one of them (keith) has threatened to break my arm, leaving 'bone sticking out', this does not seem entirely unwise. Would have been nice to see Edlog, but he only would have burnt me off, thats fine too. The third mammoth - Ned, will have been gutted to miss out on the masterclass Foley and I hosted yesterday - 'Bitching and Procrastination 1'.

I have been climbing with the junior Hammertime kid, who is off to Kranj to teach Adam Ondra a thing or two. He is strong (hammertime) and light. I hope he does well. Toby overbite broke or dislocated his ankle, and Dave 'cheekbones'/the racist Mason showed us the not so prominent cheeks which rather put me off my third expresso.

Other sightings included trad uberWad James McHaffie and..... THE COPLEY BROTHERS! doing a one armer and chatting up birds beneath the campus board. I'd like to say they looked weak, but they didn't (the copleys rather than the bird - she did look weak) - although I don't think I saw either of them doing a whole problem, and I dont think the mammoths I left in my wake will have gotten burnt off. I need to get my finger out! on the subject of which, I did problems last night which I couldnt do pre wedding, so I fear I can no longer hand out the 'oh, I'm all fat and weak excuses', which is a problem - because I am fat - tipping the scales at nearly 12stone! Adam Lincoln is now apparently a stone and half lighter than me - no wonder he's bustin out the big numbers every other day!

Which leads me to another pointlet - if I am climbing well, does it matter what the scales say? clearly not. I love food and beer too much to miss out on, and whilst I know I could get a bit more out of myself by shedding a few pounds - its all about compromise - I dont want to live a monk like existence, climbing its something I do rather than the reason I am, so I will eat healthy and try not to drink been every night, but if I want one - I'm having it.

Anyway, to finish off this post of most crushing banality - here is a picture of my desk. I always think its quite interesting to see where people work. Am just a nosey bastard really :

Friday, 13 November 2009

Between the sheets with Keith

I watched Keith's new film this morning. His last one, 'L'Entranger' was nicely shot, made Font look good, but ultimately (I felt) lacked a human element. It became (in my eyes) a beta film - useful to see how things got done, but it was just clips of problems with nothing to join them together. Of course, it was a climbing film, and what is a climbing film if not a series of clips of people climbing? well, thats the thing - what separates the good ones from the pack is some form of narrative, a thread to bind the clips together, a story - the aforementioned human element. Summing up what I thought of L'Entranger, I thought it was ok, but do I want to see it again? no. If I was planning a trip I might make myself sit through it, but ultimately I'm glad I didnt pay for it.

As Between the Trees starts you could be forgiven for thinking you had tuned in to a music video. The opening sequence is nothing short of awesome. Its artistic, witty, clever and beautifully executed. Keith clearly has a real eye for cinematography, talent at the technical aspects of film making, and not to mention attention to detail. This film looks slick from the outset. Another criticism I had of L'Entranger was that I hated the titles. They were garish and in some cases partially obscured the action. He's certainly taken that on board - perhaps too much. In places I had to search the screen to see what was being climbed, but there were also some very clever bits - the partage titles for instance.

One of my favorite films is StoneLove - which is all about the dynamics of the group, the young guns coming through, and of Moffats last swansong. This I think separates it from the rest. In Between the Trees, the story is partly about the relationship of Keith and Tyler. Both of whom are really seriously good climbers, but Tyler... Oh my god. This guy is on the next level. He's like Malc in StoneLove. He has incredible movement skills and is a very pleasing climber to watch. Just how good comes into perspective when you see Keith (who has climbed 8b) humanly struggle on things which Tyler seems to dispatch effortlessly.

This is a good film. I started watching it from the default position of thinking that it would just be another selection of clips, and flicked through - it is. But watched end to end, its a journey, a story about Tyler and Keith, and a study of cutting edge kinaesthetic awareness. Keith has filmed beautifully. The lighting, the angles - all wonderful. The editing is supreme - I loved the transitions, the sync to the music - awesome. As I have said before - beautifully executed. But.... I still think that theres room for even more of the human. This is a pure climbing film. You couldnt show it to a non climber -well, you could, but they would be bored. What films could you show them? Would you want to? I dont know.

Go buy it. Well worth the money.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Glasshouses

"People in Glasshouses shouldn't throw stones", reminded the Stubbsinator as I arrived at Almscliff yesterday afternoon. The problem with venting in a public place is that your statements come back to haunt you. This blog started as a replacement for a circular email that harris and the like used to send on a Monday talking about the weekend's endeavours - people's work email administrators dont like lots of personal mail traffic and the blog seemed an easy access format, and its been good, but I do forget that other people read it, so my flip statements return to haunt me from time to time.

As soon as I tweeted that I was going to flex the afternoon and swan off climbing I started getting abuse that I had joined the ranks of the not working - as per a couple of blogs ago. Yeah well, I dont do so bad I suppose. A benefit of flexi time innit.

On the subject of Yorkshire's second nicest man (Tim Stubbs)(first position still held by Tom Peckitt), theres a chap with fine crag style. Whilst most of my friends rock the Crag Urchin look, theres a fly looking mofo. Yesterday he had on what I would describe as a golfing jumper and I think a hat. Now, in my head since yesterday I have made it into a corduroy flat cap, but I think that might just be my guilty fantasy. Also milling around when I arrived were Jordan 'fiend2' Buys (he was wearing socks with climbing shoes (and eating McDonalds)*second part is a lie), Dave Barrans, Ellie Howard, Vicky Barrett and then Jenny and baby Woodward.

I didnt have to cope with these punters for long however, as within half an hour Big Jim and Britains best bum doctor arrived with baby Jim in tow. Time now 2pm, and the sun was alarmingly low in the sky. Jim has gone to warm up on the Keel (!), so once warm I show Follicle the TC traverse. Only I cant remember how to do it. Ever the gent, Jim steams over, hurls his baby amongst the mats and demos the problem, only, like a floundering sea bass he fluffs the the end and rejoins his offspring on the pads. Conditions are interesting. It must be about 5 or 6 degrees, but the weekends rain is evident - it feels as though there is a bit of condensation about - things arent super grippy. Foley minces through the hard bit of TC only to fluff the easy, but fluffable top section. We move to Underlog.

Now this is a problem with a story (tells Vicky B), Anne Murray first found it and was working towards doing over a couple of sessions - it was her project, the object of her desires. Unable to wait for his future wife and baby mother to finish the project Tim Clifford has a go, but promises that if he does it he will jump off the end, only when he got there he didnt! hence the name 'Underhand'. Jim does it again, Dave barrans styles it, Foley fails, I have a thousand goes but eventually finish it, and in the mounting gloom we walk down to the Keel for jim to finish the day with a classic. Only by now baby Ellie is squawking as she is teething. Jim takes her down to the car and Foley and I do Cherry falls a few times. Yes, thats right - when everyone else had gone, and it was dark we do the hardest problem there. Multiple times. Pretty steady I thought. Managed to even do a chalk blow on 'the move'.

Finally, I would like to ask you whether Liam and Brandon Copley could be the Jedward of the climbing world :

Monday, 9 November 2009

The power of the interweb

The peril of heaving ones carcass out of bed at 0545 every morning means that we're always tired on Friday. This week especially so, by 2130 we were falling asleep on each other on the sofa. 10.5hrs sleep later we were raring to go. This is a lie. But, by the time I had crossed the Pennines and met Dyldog in Cheadle Royal, I had not only recruited steely fingered legal representation, but I had woken up.
 
We continue on in the van of which I am the temporary pilot (so as to save Dylogs beans for Adam Beyer). The rain bounces down as we aquaplane our way across Wales. On arrival we're waved through the toll house without paying. I interpret this as meaning we are recognised and accepted as climbers and therefore do not have to pay. I am very proud and in my head consider that the gatehouse man now thinks me a cave local. On reflection it may have been because it was raining. Or that it was winter. Anyway, the cave is busy. This is not what we need for the first session here since June. I dont mind it being busy if I am going to be awesome, but if I'm going to be shit, I'd rather minimise the amount of people who will bear witness. Perhaps I shall have Ru slap them with some LAW.
 
On friday I had sent the eyes at the back of the cave (doylo), to the back of the cave to investigate the seepage situation. And, it was exactly as he said it would be. Wet in places. Trigger Cut was dry, but Trigger Cut is also hard - too hard to be ticked on the first session back. Got on usual warm ups (end of LWT, LWT, Clever Beaver) and then young Tom (ex Foundry, now Manc) shows us a problem by the name of Clever Cleaver which involves climbing Clever Beaver and then moving left along the lip using the most mingingest of crimps. I'm ambivalent until told its 7b+, whence I engage the crimping finger and dispatch. Fingers feel a bit tender as a result of such overzealous exertion so soon in the day (remember, I am an old man now), and Trigger Cut is still a step too far.
 
Last june, when I was something of a regular - i could consistently lock the first move. In fact, i had sessions where I would be hitting the shot hole on every go. This time I could hardly pull on. Very disappointing. I dont honestly know what I am doing wrong. Rupert makes me feel better by not being able to do it either, but then finds a way. A way I cannot make work either! dammit! Dyldog on the other hand does the move every time, but cant do any of the rest of it. Team big guns are not performing well today.
 
If cutting edge crimping is not on the menu, then perhaps PE could be? Back in june I nearly did Broken Heart (affectionately titled Broken Log), so I move my pads beneath that. At first I cant do the first move, then I can, but not the second. A bit later and I do moves one and two, but not three and it all feels desperate. A bit deflated, I realise that LWT and Clever Beaver are about my limit for the day and so do a few laps on the traverse. The Dawes turns up. He's not there to climb.
 
When darkness falls and we crawl back to the van, I dont even feel that broken - not being able to do any moves has prevented me from exhausting myself. Accompanied by pouring rain we hightail it back to Cheadle, drop Ru off and find somewhere for tea. Dylog and I have a mediocre meal in a pub in Bramhall called the Millington. I drop him back at the van and disappear back over the pennines to a house full of cackling women on the way out. I stop in and say hello, chat for a half an hour and go to the pub with my laptop for some peace and quiet. Two pints later I return home, but they're still there, and the volume has increased.
 
On Sunday it rains and I cook things. This is a standard format for a Sunday. Today, the rain has stopped and the temperature dropped. During last week I had been arranging with Follicle to meet over here (in Leeds) to climb this afternoon. Well, with such perfect weather it could only be out. So I am going to flex the afternoon and head over to the cliff. On that note, a nod in the direction of Twitter and Faceache - thanks to my bleating that I might be going this afternoon Tim Stubbs and Vicky Barrett have been in touch and are on their way now! So, with Foley, Jim and possibly Ru (his faceache says he's either got Pesto poisoning or has bad fingas, hence the uncertain status) we have a mid week full team!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Kung Fu Finger

I have a strange injury at the moment, I wonder if you have ever suffered such an ailment? If you were stupid enough to forcibly prod a hard surface you could either bruise the end of your finger, or as I have done you can actually separate the nailbed from the finger, which leaves you with a finger which hurts to apply pressure. And as climbing requires exerting pressure through your fingers, so it is holding me back. I am pretty sure I did this at the board on Monday.
 
Yesterday was an interesting day in climbing terms. Well, it should have been. I had an exam in Wakefield, so, like a couple of weeks ago, I was going to go there, do that (passed! yyfy!) then go to the cliff. I'd lined up Dyldog and Lulog to join me and arranged to meet them there at projected exam finish time + 1hr. The roads were dry in wakey so inspite of the large amounts of rain that have fallen recently I headed north when I finished. The roads around Pool were wetter than in wakey, and the crag looked wet on top, but there were people climbing and so I had a walk up to have a look. Whole place was soaked, water pooling in the chip on the keel. I shouldered my pads and walked back to the car, diverting Dyldog on the way. They went to Stanage and met worm. It was raining, we all met at the Climbing Works where there was a men with guns competition.
 
So, its still very wet out there. My plans for the weekend have to be honest, come unstuck. Basically its raining everywhere and has been all week. Talking to County locals its been v.wet up there and its a long way to drive when you're not sure whether its going to be worth it. SO, I might not go. Dylog wants to go to the cave, and I am pretty keen. Especially as I should be going again (to the cave) on wednesday the 11th, so this would be my remembering how to climb in the cave session. But, it would be nice to go to the county. HMm. Better check the weather.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The power of the product

I had an insight last night whilst pushing my fingers until they creaked. This insight concerned the use of weight belts and vanity. I have to be completely honest, it wasn't an insight i was directly blessed with, rather the proxy of Le Sage gifted it, having first denounced my expert weight belt advice dished out to Roddy on UKB. I'd advised that wearing a weight belt changed your centre of gravity, and thus the way you moved and so discounted them as valid movement training. Joe points out that whilst i have trained with a weight belt on, i have never done so for more than about 10 seconds, because I hate to look crap. I put it on, try something hard - fail, want to look good and burn you/whomever off and ditch the belt as fast as it was put on.
 
Which leads to a secondary insight - the power of products. Joachim Foldy makes me laugh. He is (like me) a marketing mans dream. We persuade ourselves that our need for a specific item is life threatening, and we will move hell and high water to get it, becoming completely obsessed until it is in our possession. Take for example his Digital SLR - desperate to have it, obsessing about lenses, ISO ratings and what have you, yet how often does he use it? never. Just before he went to Font he decided he had to have a camcorder - and that will be the next thing that doesnt get used. And hilariously, last night on the text, the latest thing is a weight vest! I am as bad though. I clicked through to eBay to look at Adam Lincoln's Patxi esque weight vest. But, thankfully for me (!) I am skint, so I managed to talk myself back from the brink. The problem is, we want to be where the party is. If you are doing it, so must we. I think its because we dont get to climb as much as we would like thanks to jobs, non-climbing wives/girlfriends, being a shameless consumer (delete as appropos).
 
Talking of which - they have all just been (are still in) to Font. Dyldog, Lulog and Edlog are still there. Cnuts. Char has made a little video which has a great oompa soundtrack and has the unfortunate side affect of making Adam out to be a hero. Can only assume this is clever editing : http://www.vimeo.com/7246614
Finally, I went to Rubbercon last night. By the time I got there it was dusky, but far from the hour of power it was 14 degrees and breathless. I tried, I failed, I gave up and went to the works. It is now fully dark at 1715. There really is no point trying after work. Well, there is, but only if you finish at 1400.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Trustafarian

I am finding the blogosphere particularly depressing at the moment. The field is not level - noone else seems to have a job and so they're all out climbing all the blummin time. How are they doing it? surely not everyone has a massive trust fund? Adam bloody Lincoln's got a TT yet he manages to nip up 8b's in the week, in between 'snippets' of work. What is this job that comes in snippets and why dont I have one? Adam, if you are reading this - I'm only jealous. You cock ;-)
 
Rupert and I once consoled ourselves on the walk out of Cheedale that at least when we were 45 we would have nice houses and lives outside of climbing, but none of these guys seem to have any such concerns. And, the current 80's revisited thin trend is pissing me off too. It feels like cheating. Ah well, the skeletor approach may yield dividends in the short term but now its winter, flu is on the way, and no amount of down jackets will keep you warm bonio!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Swine On

According to the symptoms calculator thing which exists online, I very well could have had swine flu. That last post was pre the last session I ever had. Which was log. Knew indoors would be too much like hard work, and outdoors was sunny, so to Burbage I went - with designs on Velvet Crab. That indoors would have been hard work gives you an insight into what I was furiously attempting to deny. I was feeling run down. I harbour the belief (mistakenly) that if I dont admit it, then I wont get it. Well, I didnt, but I did. Can only have contracted it at that wedding I suppose. So anyway, that was last Monday - the 12th. I finally managed to climb again last night, and besides sweating profusely as soon as my carcass was hefted from the mats it went ok. At least, thanks to my ailments I am quite light. Most of my friends are either in Font or going, so I didnt expect to have any company, yet was pleasantly suprised. When I arrived I joined Worm for some of a white circuit, then had a half hour with Harry Pennells before hooking up with Ed Robinson right at the end. Ed goes to Font on Friday/Saturday to join the party. I hope he can bring home the bacon. Its about time this underachieving mild mannered strong man lived up to his potential. I also saw the Goosemaster general, Jerry Moffat and Britain's most promising female campus board hero - Vicky 'yam yam yam' Barrett. Thats it. I know no more.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Fat stuff

This will be a short post. Thursday I climbed on the board, Friday I managed an hour on West Side Log. Its hard. The problem isnt that i cant pull on the holds, its that I cant use them in the right order, or with my feet in the right place, so I cant do the problem. Am pretty keen though, and its pretty roadside, so is a good one when I have limited time.
 
This weekend we had another wedding, which was for our friends Rick and Robyn, and in Bramhall. As is de rigeur at these things, I consumed in excess of everything, and tip the scales at 11st10 last night. Jesus. I wonder if I can book a winch to meet me at the Climbing works?
 
This week I'm at the board tonight, wednesday and then Friday we go to Hastings for another boozy weekend. Its a festival of fire (or something), so expect me back with singed eyebrows and smoke taint. One day I will get back to full strength. But not perhaps one day soon.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Dobby Mansell

This weekends climbing highlight (!) Was a snatched 10 minutes at hobby moor on saturday, in the rain. I was on the way to atherton where I was going karting for my friend Rick's stag do. Karting was ace. Absolutely ace. I was better at it this time and managed to finish second overall. This meant a gruelling 20 lap superfinal which I was last through most of, but drove out of my skin to catch up before diving up the inside on the second to last bend to finish second. Back into manchester after that to drop the rest of them off, then she and I headed back to sheff for julian's 40th.

Sunday was a well nice day but we were tired and whilst I managed an hour on my bike, that was it.

So, this week - today I am on a course in wakefield, when that finishes I'll be heading to the board. Wednesday climbing probably at the board again - course is all week, so I'll not get time to get outside this week. And, at the coming weekend we've the wedding that the stag was from! So opportunities look scarce!

Friday, 2 October 2009

I want to do a poo...

Child : "Muuuum, I want to do a poo"

Mum : "Come on then..."

Child : "But I want to do a poo at Paul's house"



You gotta love marketeers. Imagine them pitching that to Glade... Yesterday, whilst enjoying the last rays of sun at Almscliff it sprung into my head, and as Jim tussled with Dreamland I chose my moment, "muuuum" I said, "I want to do a poo", pause, "but I want to do a poo at Paul's house", Jim's taut like a coiled spring body started to shake with laughter and he was back on the pads. No longer will Ken and Kes grace the crags, now its all about Paul.

I had a big day yesterday. I got up with the monster and did some revision, then set out for Wakefield for the first of my Cisco exams. I'd been feeling pretty cool about it, but caught myself jittering and not thinking straight as I tried to collect my belongings and exit the car. That was all I needed to start the mental process of calming down and so I checked in and got established ready for the grilling.

I've not been on the certification gravy trail since I completed my MCSE (microsoft certified systems engineer), and that must have been about 2004? anyway, its a while since I have sat an exam. Its debatable whether they benefit you, as its all about relevant experience rather than qualifications, or at least - it is with the Microsoft exams. This is in part because they are quite straightforward (the exams that is), and because windows administrators are ten a penny, and any home enthusiast can get pretty advanced these days, so diluting the value of the qualification. Additionally, I have had the pleasure of working with 'paper MCSE' engineers over the years, and they are dangerous. They think they know what they're doing but they don't. I remember one such chap managing to delete all the Steve's one Friday afternoon. The cisco certification track is a bit different. Its not as easy to obtain for a start, its less product specific, more about interconnecting networks and making the internet work. So, I started on that yesterday by passing the first of several exams. When that finished I headed to Otley cafe for egg and chips (how can they make any money? this cost less than £2 for egg and chips and a cup of tea. Amazing).

By the time I got to the cliff it was gone 2. Met up with Middlesborough Martin, the man with the whitest skin and the biggest guns. We dick around the Morel's wall area until Jim and Ste (zods beard) arrive. After a bit more bimbling we all move up to Underhand. Martin crushes it, and then does it again into the extension, the rest of us fail. I manage to back flop onto a boulder (still hurts today) and not do the problem. Its a actually should have done it one, so am not too worried, its in the bank of problems to finish off without requiring loads of work I think.

Next up, top cat traverse. Ages ago I was out with Busby and Rob Smith when Rob dispatched the Sewer rat connection. I thought it looked brilliant and have always wanted to do it. Well, I still do. Martin shows us TC trav, and me and Jim both manage to shake along it. Next we look at Stretch Armstrong. When Tom did this, he went out to the lip with his right hand (a long way), and we went left to a sloper before finishing up the same holds, so I'm not sure if this is allowed (this is almscliff after all), but we had fun. Again, me and Jim get the problem done. Where I landed on my back it hurts to pull hard with my right arm. Cheers.

Martin goes home, Jim takes us to Patta's arete. Its such a lovely day, the sky is just starting to go golden and its a beautiful view out over wharfedale. Phrases like 'chocolate box countryside' and 'cuntstubble' drift through my concious, then its back to wobbling up the classics. You get so much more out of somewhere by having a team to climb with. Anyway, Jimlog throws laps on Patta's arete in his trainers, I manage to flash it and persuade them to come with me to Matt's roof.

Its now freezing out of the sun, and I wish I had brought my down jacket with me. Dodgy landing Matts roof, and you definately want a spotter. None of us do it, but I actually think that one could go next time too. Hit the top hold a couple of times, just never stuck it.

Heading in a demon wall log direction to finish off, Jim starts wittering about Dreamland. Some poor holds in the middle of a black streak just over the wall. We drift over and Jim eventually manages to do it. Its thin, tenuous and brilliant. I go from go to go thinking i can and I cant before ultimately giving up as it physically hurts to touch the holds. Again, one to go back for. I am all for going, but they suggest Syrett's roof which I do and something on the arete to the right, which I dont. Beautiful evening (time now half 6), and as the sun sets, I jog back to the car with glowing red finger tips, to jet back into leeds.

My day finishes meeting colleagues in town for a curry. I get home at 11. The end.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Fat Blog

Just a quick log to drop this morning, but it is a log of the richest type. It contains gossip, big numbers and philosophical musings. And board angst.

Stu Littlefair writes well. His latest dropping ponders the current fad to 'get rich quick' by dropping the pounds, concluding that it is unsustainable but that it works. Having tried this over the years, I can confirm it certainly does work, and it is easier than putting the time in on the board. Of course, if you do both then surely your gains will be massive? well yes, but you run an increased risk of injury and you get sick. Train when sick and you're even more likely to injure yourself. I think its a false horizon too, because you cant maintain that weight for extended periods without impacting your immune system. I have never lost extra weight in order to do something, rather tried to maintain a sustainable healthy weight - which is now at about 11.5st. I can be 11st, but I get poorly. Plus, lifes too short and food too nice!

Gossip : Keith writes that Dirty Dave Mason (now being dubbed "the californian" - presumably because of his shaven fangita) has climbed an 8b in Austria within a week of being there! he does then go on to downgrade it, but lets not dwell on the negatives, very good effort cheekbones, and only took 40 minutes. That was your big numbers too.

I had a very interesting session last night on the board. Basically I was a bit log and things were taking an all too familiar path when Toby and another chap whose name i dont know, but have seen down there a fair bit (big guns) arrive and join me. Then I started trying and really got into it. As we well know, success breeds success and failure dampens the flame of desire, what I observed last night was that it is possible to train on your own and try hard, but you have to be wanting it badly. And why would you want it badly? because you have seen a glimpse of what you could be/have if you tried. Since I have been languishing in my 'I am rubbish' box, so i have become a slave to my pigeon hole, and accustomed to thinking I won't perform well. You get what you want if you want it enough, and i havent wanted it.

I know that I need a project. I need something tangible to get my teeth into, but i've been holding off for fear of failure. I need to remember the wise teachings of sensei Mosely, and pick some easy plums to give me back the burning desire to succeed.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Now is the time

Friday night - inglorious basterds. Hmm. Ok. Not brilliant, quite watchable, grotesque in places and Brad was rubbish. Very tired.
 
Saturday - should have been going climbing, but knowing that noone else was doing (except Jim log going to somewhere I had never heard of), kinda dulled my enthusiasm. I had only the morning, so anything longer or more day consuming was off the menu. Had busy day with the monster doing stuff, including wandering around the wood fair which was camped out in the park. Never seen this before, but apparently its been there the previous two years. Pretty cool, but then i like that kind of stuff.
 
Team Log reconvened at Rubicon on Sunday morning. Almost aborted the mission on the way because as I hurtled up ringinglow choad towards a peakside bank of grease fog, I could see nothing in my minds eye besides shit conditions. But no, push on I thought. Valour was not rewarded on this occasion and the most log of conditions were encountered. The rocks were slippy and slightly green in colour, but in the hope of the mythical sticky damp, i pushed on whilst waiting for the others. They turned up and confirmed the logness. Log.
 
We move to Kudos and its less log, but log still. Noone does anything. Dylog fires off horizontally and lands flat on his back in the mud. Caringly, we fall about laughing. Pulling on v.sharp holds with v.soft fingers on a v.humid day causes bruising and hurtiness. We take our shoes off and drive to the climbing works. Where we are still log, but at least doing some moves.
 
I climb again tonight, then thats it until Thursday. I wish I had gotten on and done Beluga this summer. But I am reminded of the time of year when I always seem to get these things done, and its not summer, its now! I do think I need it to be a bit cooler though.

Friday, 25 September 2009

science friction

The wind was cold but the rocks were warm. Jacket choice is always an important decision when heading out the house, and due to the sunshine I went light and fast - alpine style. I came to regret this later, but strangely, the rocks weren't as cold as the air. Met Rich and Folog on the way down to the Plantation cark. Claimed good nic in the pit of Brad and whilst I only wanted a potter, the possibilities started to churn in my mind. I love the Plantation. Its close to home, has a great circuit and a pleasant aspect with a wonderful view of the sunset. Perfect for a reintroduction to the grit.

I start my education with a fairly standard sequence of problems. The pebble aretes, that thing that faces the green boulder, the ramp line above Boston Mess. Of note, i find the original Pebble arete desperate on my first go, I wobble, it feels desperate and I have no faith in science friction (orbital ref). I make myself keep doing it until I climb it with some semblance of style, and begin to trust the rubber on my feet again. But, I can't even get on deliverance. It feels slippy and polished. I go and do the green traverse, dope on a slope, ron's reach and then that mantle from the crimps. I move to captain log, but it hurts my leg and I push on to the easy arete/prow thing next to it. Adam turns up, we chat, he does the problem in his trainers, and then, unnoticed by me, he torques his foot into the crack in such a way as to be able to take his hands off and do a ninja hand movement. Actually, when you have seen those holds, and considered the trainers he was wearing, its not that impressive, but when you'd not seen the jessery involved, I appeared to be bearing witness to a matrix-a-like climbing moment. My faith was restored when seconds later, sans feet, I witnessed a sweeping pad dab. Dab'em Log.

We go to the hourglass, and I am glad of Dab'em's instruction as I wobble through the brilliant problems. If only he could have turned up earlier and I could have done Delifrance. We walk down occupied with talk of the coming winter and aspirations of greatness. Then race our wheeled oil burners back to the city. He goes home, I go to the climbing works. I'd not realised how beasted I was, and basically stand around gabbing for an hour without doing a move (or at least, an impressive one).

For the first week for a while, I have no big climbing impacting engagement this weekend. I think the forecast is ok, and i hope to get out on Saturday at the least. It might be time to head to Log Rider, and Green Room Log. Lee (!) is keen. Ed Log is going to yorkshire, Follog is team Sunday, and Dylog wont get up early.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

In a strange twist of fate, we went from baby sitting to going out raving last night. The couple for whom we were supposed to be sitting's baby was sick, so they sold us their tickets, and off we went.

I haven't been to what is now the o2 carling academy since it was roxys disco, and then probably not since about 1996! Its not undergone a massive refurb inside, and i have never been so stuck to the carpet. Forgetting that I was so adhered caused several hilarious nearly falling on face moments. But enough about that.

The support act were good, they were called Delphic and from Manchester. The lead singer was the spit of Chris Wheeldon. I enjoyed them, kinda underworld influenced Techno indie cross over. Interesting. Made me want to be a drummer.

Then, on came the headtorches and orbital took their place on the stage. They had a great sound, animated knob twiddlers entertaining the crowd pogoing behind their equipment and reminding me just why they are so special. I havent listened to an orbital record in years, but they have so many which are huge tunes. Not that busy in there though, which is a bit of a shame for them, but most striking was the average age of the crowd, which must have been at least 35! Saw Bob Smith, Mia and Andy J in there which was nice for a chat before things started and they disappeared off into the mix to dance.

Pic from Neil cos my camera phone ones were so bad.

Tired this morning though. I climbed with Harry on Tuesday night. Felt not too bad. Wouldnt say I was going well, but didnt feel too bad. Folog is at Rubicon now, talking about Stanage later, and Edlog is going to the works for 630. Weather looks reasonable, so I might head out at 4 for a quick circuit, then meet ed at the wall.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

excuses

Tonight I will go climbing. I am looking forwards to it. I think that my current continuing crap form is related to the infrequency with which I have been training since the wedding, so this week I am changing my usual schedule to up the ante. Here ends mediocrity!

Loosely this links into the tail end of last week, as the last time I climbed was weds. I spent Thursday and Friday in London. Walked everywhere, which was brilliant. Great to get a sense of where things are in relation to each other. And, so many cool buildings. Reckon I totalled 15 miles over the two days, which doesn't sound like much but concrete is hard and my feet and hips felt it when I came home. My hotel-to-course walk was right through the middle of the city at rush hr. To say I felt conspicuous in civvies would be an understatement. The grey/black stream of humanity left a wide berth around the non believer dressed in jeans and trainers as they scuttled to their offices. Met up with my best man James in the evening and had a few beers.

Saturday we had to prepare for a big wedding on Sunday. I was cooking and she was dressing the venues. Spent 5 hrs in the kitchen, but everyone loved what I made which was good. In the evening guests who were staying with us arrived (best man james again) and we ate (more cooking) before getting a cab into town to go to the Leopold (fancy new boutique hotel) to meet the wedding party for pre match beers.

Sunday was Chris and Vic's big day, and what weather! the three weddings which have been this summer have all been blessed with the same weather pattern - mint on the nuptual day, minky the day after. So, their wedding - it was in the botanical gardens, which was great as the weather was great, then we went to the cricket inn, then back to the grooms parents for a rave/reception/hog roast. I ate so much that I thought I was going to have to be sick or at least lie in a darkened room until it went down. Little pig did better on the eating front, but the combined effect of a cocktail of different drinks she'd consumed took their toll and by 1130 we went home. The rest werent far behind and that was that.

Could have climbed yesterday in theory, but we felt emotional, so stayed in and watched rubbish on the telly. Climbing tonight and thursday I reckon.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

fat barrister(d)

I thought it was cold yesterday, but when I stepped out of the house it was far from it. My jumper and down jacket and aspirations of log rider suddenly seemed daft. I went to the Tor.

Had the crag to myself for half an hour or so. Did a few laps on Hubble and then a circuit starting up Boot Boys and back down the houligan. Needless to say, I was pretty warmed up after that little lot. So I did Mutation as a rest problem before reclining on my pad in the sun. Brian and Andy Reeve turn up. We discuss the future, more specifically whether I will want to keep going once the tide has turned, once the infinitesimal improvements I still think I feel have become getting worse rather than getting better. Clifford always said big things started for him when he got to 34. So I have until next August to climb 8b!

The thing I have realised is that Climbing is a personal journey, as long as you are getting something from it then its worth doing. And as long as you keep your aspirations within reach, there's still goals to acheive. Realistic goal setting. I know I will never be world class, but I don't care - its not about me relative to you, its about me! I hope to still be going out with a team when I am 40. Everyone jockeying for position to be next, fighting for the chance to get it first. I love that.

I still can't do undercuts to crimp or edge. Go and try the powerband. Get to the end and fall off. Edlog turns up looking very smart. We chat, he goes to Rubicon. I have another two laps, each time failing at the end, then I head round to Rubbercon to meet him and survey the reported foothold damage.

Yes my friends, sad news indeed, the foothold I use on Tsunami and Low Left has gone. Its the foothold I stand on with my right foot at the end of the walk through - the one I am on when I match the sloper. Here is a pic :



However. Theres a wee spike left behind and I manage (even with current bulk and skin poorness) to climb through it and do all the moves I used to have to do with the remains. I dont think its any harder. Ed and I bimble around and whilst some individual moves get done, nothing notable - unless it happened after I left ed?

Rupert turns up. Whomever told me he was now fat was wrong. As he has just repeated the harris horror show (Barracuda), I think this is the sort of fat I need. He was on Zeke, as was Simon (dark hair, nice chap, climbs a lot) didnt see how either were getting on. Crag is drier than I have seen in years. DT turns up in running shorts (living in the 80's) and asserts the traverse is harder than zeke because of having to deal with the monotony. Well, either dont bother with it then, or tape a picture of something you do like inside your glasses to make it more interesting. Folog once told me that he had a conversation with DT where he was told that climbing was in fact a call to impress our mothers. Amazing.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Northumberland : the quiet county

Living in or near the Peak district which I understand is the second most visited national park in the world (the first being Mount Fuji in Japan), one of the first things that strikes you as a visitor to 'the County' is the lack of other people. Even at Bowden doors and Kylog in the log, the most well known and therefore popular of crags - there's just noone there. Awesome! noone to witness my/our floundering.

The plan went well and was executed smoothly. Dylog and I drove from Sheffield to my work (near the depot in pudsey) and met Folog there, continuing on in his car. Not driving, and not being late on friday night meant it didn't feel as far (in my head) as it is, although that drive does seem to get longer each time. We make Belford by 1400, and check in to our lodgings. We have elected to stay at the bluebell farm caravan site where there is a bunkbarn. The last time I went, we stayed here also, and our companions in the bunkbarn included a fat gay french man and his malnourished Geordie lover. They really liked us and talked almost constantly. Later we were joined by a surfing couple and their dog who all hated us (because I had dysentary and was up and down all night). Anyway, that was then, and this time the Bunkbarn was full. So we stayed in 'the Ark'. Picture two sheets of wood propped against each other so as to make a wooden tent, inside a raised platform is covered with suspicious wipe clean bedding. This was our home. It appeared that the birds (of which there are many) had also at some point made it their home too. Basically we were staying in an aviary with a load of turkeys.

All the way there we had vowed to be disciplined, we would walk to Kylog and chill our boots until the temps dropped (as it still said 22 in the car). However, when we arrived, we ran to the rocks, rammed our swollen red feet into down turned too tight shoes and headed for the sharpest holds in the direct sun. Nice one. Kylog (and the county in general) has some beautiful shapes and rock features, and some implausibly thin but apparently robust flakes to pull on. The rock is just amazing. Having exfoliated the first few layers of dermis I decide its time for heavy weight crush action. Cubby's lip. Girls have done this I think - lets have it! Strong girls with thin fingers and talent it turns out. In the words of Liam Copley - "i'll cut it straight, we didnt do owt". More accurately - not even a move. My fingers felt big and fat and didnt fit in the holes, when I forced them, it hurt, and my left hamstring was alarmed by the efforts to make it relieve the pressure on my hands. Given that the last time I was here, I zipped to the end three or four times, only to fall from the 'easy' match (must've had feet in wrong place), this was disappointing. But, it was hot and I am not fit or strong at the moment.

We move to the Yorkshireman, which has bigger holds. But is more physical. But brilliant. Both James and I were taking the undercut and slipping back down it, and Dylog couldn't get it at all. Once again, punterdom beckoned, so we moved further right still - HitchHikers. Fiend has done this I thought... So we all flashed it in our trainers. Ok, so thats not quite how it happened. Perhaps a thousand goes, maybe more, some more layers of skin shed but both Dylog and I manage to shake our way to the top. Thank god.

We drive back to Belford and go to the chippy for tea. The chippy smells bad - of excess grease. I dont have a good feeling about it, and a man in the queue reckons the pub (any pub) would be better. We end up in the Salmon, where we are amused to see that 'traditianal grill garnishes' and 'Chicken Beast' are on the menu. In a fit of stupidity, we order burgers instead of Chicken beast, and that was the writing on the wall for this trip. There were no beasts anywhere in our vicinity.



We get drunk, head home, fall asleep. Its really hot in the bird house and we all wake up feeling rotten. I drop my arse and the wooden hell hole is filled with the sort of sulphorous gas you can only imagine coming from a toxic dump. We scramble for air and whilst the fug clears, go for a quite repugnant breakfast in the Purdy lodge (a service station on the a1). Which sets us up for Bowden doors. My good friend Dan Constant Variable is disgusted that we should go there, but as noone has been more than once before, we want to. We are more rubbish than the day before. Our hands hurt, our muscles dont work and we feel sick. A man called Martin with translucent skin and massive guns meets us. We expect to be burnt off, but noone is climbing well. A few hours pass in the roof just right of sprung and between us we manage to look like some sort of adult improvers class. One with a crap teacher.

And so that was it to be honest. It drizzled a bit, we set off home at about 1400 and I am tired now. Three is a good number for a mini trip. Theres not so many people that the banter is never ending, and you can all fit in one car. Noone climbed well, so noone felt too bad that they didnt. Its worse if one of you is on it and everyone else is crap. I remembered just how much I love Northumberland. It is so beautiful, and so quiet. Folog and I are talking about a week there in November, so if that happens then we will be sure to explore other areas. Culinary wise it is something of a deadzone. Or so I have found thus far.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Stoney

Been lovely over our way this week, and the niceness is set to continue over the weekend (i understand), which is good because I am going to the County...
 
She's been on a course to learn how to give a building its 'Display energy' certificate, which if I understand (not sure I do) is something to do with those energy ratings you now see for houses. This ran until Wednesday. Now Wednesday is normally a day when I would be out in the evening climbing, but I anticipated the last day of a course rules - always finish early, which she did and so got to be treated to the inimitable stoney  experience. The secret to her happy attendance on such missions is the purchase of tat magazines. With 'Closer' magazine tucked in my pad, we set out for Stoney.
 
Minus Ten is the sort of place that I like, but in limited doses. I would usually visit perhaps only once a year, I could probably stretch to twice or even three times, but I'd be suprised if it becomes somewhere I get excited about. It is however, perfect when pushed for time, when everywhere else is wet, or when you are on your own. Oh, and when its hot. Which it was. Some local hero with a squint turned up and burned me off - on his warm up traverse, followed soon after by the hamer bros. Was good to be out, skin was shit, I was shit. Doesn't bode well for the weekend, but all money in the bank.
 
Yesterday I made a schoolboy error. I ate tea before the board. Granted, it was an hour before, but still. I was sluggish and weak. Still, if you learn from these things...
 
Northumberland! I dont think Jim is now coming at all, although we have heard that a load of scousers and Mick Adams will be there.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Green Room Sloth

Although dry on saturday morning, there was rain about, and clearly, the rocks had seen some action through the night. Things felt damp and scrittly, although a fair breeze whipping past High Neb certainly suggested conditions might have been better than they were. I was appalling. The wife and I headed out at breakfast time to find Beauty and the Beast, and to do the Green Room Slap. We found Beauty and the Beast and failed on both. Beauty is about 8c. I did a move on the Beast, but it was the very easy first move, then I fell off. I am blaming conditions for my complete and total failure - after all it cannot just be that I am crap.
 
In the distance we could see a massive rain cloud over Win Hill. As it moved in our direction the grey morning yielded drizzle, and with an rapidly bottoming psyche we scuttled back down the hill to the car. Popped her home and continued on to the works to campus for an hour.
 
The one success from the morning was my new Moon Saturn pad - brilliant. Firstly, the design - it makes so much sense to have the dirt side on the inside when you carry it. And, because of the flap at the bottom, you can stuff it with your stuff and its all nice and safe. Having spent years slogging up hills with two pads on and a rucksac on the front, this is a big improvement. Carry straps feel good and comfy and the foam is firm too - I am happy. Will be interesting to see how it pans out now that its bouldering season.
 
On the subject of which, its time to get my teeth back into something, ready for winter. Cave season is imminent, I have Trigger Cut to finish, Broken heart to do and I think that's probably enough goals for a crag three hours from home. I feel excited about the grit, Lowrider time is now and onwards, there's the ace, but thats a big ask - and I think I need to get dedicated if I am to get close. Would really like to do Full Power, but you need it to be much colder. Looking through Roy's list, the other stand out ambitions are Westside story, the Sphinx (i know, i know), Brutal Arete and the Silk sitter.
 
Went to the works again last night, where I felt almost to be moving well - even managing to get to the top of the motherboard... By the end of the session my fingers felt like they were creaking a bit - but this is the shock load of returning from a break, and to be expected. Ned, Dave and Lee all there to chat to, and later on Toby and Sam muddling around whilst I finish myself off (!). Sam looks super ripped at the moment.
 
So, I will climb again tomorrow - weather looks bright, and perhaps a bit hot, so I know not where I will go, just that I will. Thursday, Friday off and resting for the County at the weekend. Tried to recruit Char last night, and he might yet come. Jim still unsure.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

I fought the board and the board won

Returning to climbing is always difficult. One strives to appear effortless in ones exertions but instead huffs and puffs, turning puce on all but the easiest routes. The trick is in recognising ones ineptitude and checking lofty aspirations. Modesty leads to success, a feeling of accomplishment - a reminder of why you liked it. It should only take a bit of coaxing before you can start to obsess about the board again. The weather appears to agree that I could use some time indoors.
 
Don't ever stop all you training obsessives. As soon as you do your power plug is pulled, your fast twitch fibres drain out and you are left flailing beneath problems you could/should have done. Part of loving the game is loving yourself. The feeling of moving well - being 'on it, leads to feeling good - climbing better - feeling good about yourself.
 
I know I have had three weeks off (more or less) but it feels like the current non performance is a deeper trough. I have to admit though, it was warm at the wall last night, warm and humid. My hands went red, it hurt to pull - and I dont know about you, but i struggle to find the motivation to suffer on through skin pain, so I stopped.
 
Joe and Vics will be in Squamish with Anne and Tim. Follicle and I continue to plot our County raid, Dylog and Jimlog may now be on board. Next installment - Saturday morning club. I actually am really looking forwards to the grit. If weather is ok, I might go and try the Green Room slap. Ed says its not super conditions dependant, and I have never seen it. Otherwise it will be indoors action.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Crack of Ed

So, another minor blogging hiatus. The weight gain seems to have been slightly delayed, or perhaps not, perhaps its that we have been troughing since we got back. And drinking every night (mmm drinking). Feels like the road back is long and steeply uphill. Ah well, the sooner you start...
 
On Tuesday night after a pretty normal working day, I was in the shower. She was bimbling around on the landing, and then I heard a crash and a lot of yelping. Like a naked streak of lightning I flashed (!) down the stairs to find my lovely wife the source - she had fallen down the stairs. The face was as white as a ghost and no sense was being uttered, but she was at least upright with all her limbs attached and facing the right direction. When I managed to calm her down and pad her out with ice packs she got to sleep. By morning some lovely crimson bruises had arrived on her bum, and her hand and wrist hurt and were stiff. I diagnosed a sprain and dosed her up with ibruprofens, and iced it 15 mins every 2 hrs. She felt knackered and dozed all day. As all fingers moved and after a consultation over the phone with Britain's best bum doctor there was no big breakage, so I didn't ship her out to A&E... Until Thursday, when her parents had been on at us to get her to go. So go we did, and again with advice from the good doc we went first thing in the morning, which was a great time as we were in and out in 40 mins, having had an xray and being proven right. Which is nice. So the rest of the week and weekend was spent nursing.
 
I climbed once on wednesday evening (at the climbing works) and by god I was dreadful. Granted, it was hot and my skin started hurting, but still. Yee gads, if this is what one has to look forward to after a rest period... Thursday and Friday I was at home and around and about. Friday night we got drunk. Saturday I should have climbed but was so hungover I stayed in bed until about 1300. Sunday we went to the spa which was nice, and Monday I met Edlog and Folog at the Foundry.
 
Edlog treated himself to a solo county trip this weekend. Summing up a trip you werent on isnt something I have tried to do before, but here goes : imagine driving all that way to fail four times at the last move on cubbys on your first day. I imagine as he walked back down the forest track with hurty skin he must have thought 'fuck this, I'll drive home tonight', but no, the prospect of an empty flat in Buxton was enough of a deterrent and our intrepid warrior stayed on. He spent the next day at Bowden Doors with Pritch, Katz, Robbins and Dave Buchanan. Robbins sounds amazing, and is establishing his place as a complete hero. I shall cut to the chase now, as I need to do some work - Ed did the Crack! Super hard old school problem - certainly used to be 8a as far as I know, although some mutter its a bit easier these days due to foothold erosion, but I dont know. Katz said 8a. Whatever - good effort EdLog.
 
As if that wasn't enough, he then managed to be beastly on his third day on and burn Folog and I off on the wave yesterday. Which to be honest, is a bit like saying 'yeah, so I turned up and managed to out kick the one legged men in the arse kicking championships', so lets not ladle too much kudos on the lad. What a complete tool.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The intervening weeks

In the last two weeks I have gotten married, been on honeymoon and climbed once.
 
It all started with the wedding. What an amazing experience! I felt pretty nervous, although I dont know why - there was no need, the thing with spending so much time thinking about and planning something is that objectively it becomes bigger in your head than it needs to be. The key being not to intellectualize everything - just be, live for the moment! If it feels good - do it. Our big day flashed past so quickly, and it was amazing, but I would like to go and do it again - just to be able to talk to everyone, and see it all knowing what I know - that there was nothing to be worried about!
 
We woke up on August the 10th a married couple. Miraculously a pipe and slippers had not appeared at the end of the bed, and she didnt have a rolling pin with which to batter me. Nothing had changed, we were still us and we still liked what we liked before. If you do get married, the best advice I can offer is that you should go on your honeymoon straight away. I reckon theres a crash coming if you just go back to work or something (perhaps only if you are as neurotic as I am), so thats what we did. Went on holiday. Excepting a near no passports/tickets mess at the start this was brilliant. We'd chosen Santorini, which is a greek island in the Cyclades chain.
 
Greece is quite poor, so they love the tourists. They are also immensely proud of their cuisine which is good because they do it well, want you to enjoy it and its actually quite healthy. One of my favorite things about Santorini is that whilst it has been touristified, its all couples - there are no marauding groups of unruly football shirted brits on a quest for 'clunge'. All nice restaurants, little villages, galleries and stuff. Island is tiny and of v.interesting geography. Formed by a collapsed caldera, its essentially a crescent shaped cliff with villages along the ridge top. Lovely views, nice walks and almost no need to hire a car. We ate like kings, slept like logs and drank wine like water. IT WAS GREAT! realised just how much I had missed going on summer holidays, and also why we wanted to get married.
 
I should also doff my cap to our incredible hotel. To pick it we'd gone on tripadvisor.com and gone with the number one for santorini - the Anastasis Apartments, and by god - it was amazing. Expensive but worth it. I have always held the belief that you get what you pay for. It wasnt that it was particularly opulent or that we had 12 trouser presses or anything, it was made amazing by the people who run it. A family thing, the lady of the house is the brains behind the success, she's a really honest woman who loves where she lives and wants you to get what she likes it for. They manage to really look after you, and do everything they can to make your stay better but without mithering or making you feel like they are on top of you. You know like you get a better experience at a new crag with an experienced local? well the same equivalent here. Awesome.
 
I thought that I would be grotesquely fat when I got home, and whilst I have put on pounds, its not too bad (11st9lbs). I climbed on Friday at the tor with a fair cast of heroes and i managed nothing, felt weak but it was nice to catch up. Put a rope on Dianetics which has some of the smallest holds I have every tried to use! Didnt even do all the moves, but quite keen to drop a bit of weight, get a bit of strength back and go back out. Ok, for now thats it. Climbing weds if anyone keen? forecast dreadful.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Last rites

Couldnt muster support in advance of last nights indoors action session. I had seen Rab Carrington at Hunters bar in the day, and he had said the tor was gopping on Tues eve. I couldnt be bothered driving to find it rubbish, and kind of wanted to keep things in a safe boundary, it would not do to be limping down the aisle with a sprained ankle or something (not that it is impossible to do that indoors, of course). Plus, I just wanted to go on the board again. Am really getting into it.

So I took my little laptop with me, planning to do some revision whilst i was there. That didnt happen. Joe and Vic were warming up as I arrived, and then Stu Littlefair bounded across midway through some crazy intensity training program. I was delighted. People to talk to! We all set about the motherboard. I rinsed out Rabbis and bagels one side and thought great - its gonna be the night, but never managed it the other way - due to weak left arm. Did some other good problems and marvelled at Stu's power and Joes weightbelt.

Richdraws met us for the last half an hour or so and isnt Richie Crouch. Which just goes to remind one as to not be presumptuous. I drive home, eat monkfish and watch a bit of Terminator 2 (great film)

Today is the last day at work until Monday the 24th. Tomorrow I am getting a shaving courtesy of Cheekbones mason, my hair cut and some other jobs and stuff. Saturday we will try our best to be calm! Sunday we get married! Am really excited and slightly nervous about it all, but less so than I was now that more of the background stuff has been done. We go on Honeymoon (santorini) on tuesday for a week. Then we are back at home for a few days before returning to work. This may be a blog quiet time. I plan not to update or do anything to do with computers whilst away. Cold Turkey!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Smotherboard

Good scene again last night. Dr Pinch couldn't make it, but Dr B.Hind could, and he had with him P.in Head, Cheekbones Mason, Dylog and LuLog. Conditions were inideal. It felt humid, and dry firing was of the order of things. Dan Constant Variable turned up with tanned thin pretty girl in tow. Quite who she was is unclear. He also brought with him a glum freewilly and political instigator from the North East, gangle. No appreciable progress was made on any of my various projects, and in fact, I would go so far as to say I went backwards. But, am happy to write this down to conditions and remind myself that the project bank is now brimming with potential. Yes, these are indoor board projects, but see not a return to the days of old, rather a necessary means to an end in order to acheive my goals this winter (the Ace!)(lowrider)(full power).
 
Its been a funny summer in terms of climbing. Usually, I would assert that summer is about strolling amongst the rhubarb looking for bolts to clip, but this year I have barely started. I've not had time, and then came BlueBand. And the rain. Perhaps I can snatch some glory from the later summer months when we are back from the honeymoon? Found myself daydreaming about Lowrider, and wondering when it will be time to head back up there again. Then there's trigger cut. Come september, bets in the cave are back on again, and I have my sights set.
 
With only days to go, the fear has subsided back into excitement, as I have explored all the terrifying edifices Sunday might hold and realised that it will all be allright. Am so looking forwards to being able to talk about something else, and for us two to be back to normal. We are both really looking forwards to the Honeymoon!
 
Turns out Running hill pits are in Uppermill, which is where that Scoop de Grace thing is. I never knew this, and as the outlaws are less than 2 miles away I shall be investigating. Not, however, pre wedding! highballing the day before would surely be folly. Thats enough for now pig. Wednesday is next installment of the incredible fortification of Morton, so Thursday there might be something to say.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Mini Goose

Oh, and I forgot to say - congratulations to the Fullwood's who have a bun in the oven!
 
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSE!

NachoNada

Nacho 'Chorizo el Chupacabra Paella' Sanchez is no more (until October). I shall miss his boufont demi wave flouncing around the Climbing works, and no doubt so shall many others. Fare thee well young Spaniard chum - how we are supposed to decipher Percy's sequences now? who shall we watch agape as you swing ape like between the volumes, dispensing with your lower limbs altogether?  
 
I didn't make it to the Pub last night - too late, and too early a morning, so I ducked out of the wall at 2100. Spent the session on the Beastie board, and feel like some progress is being made. I have thoughts of making an Ace simulator, as my pitifully weak left hand will need strengthening before I can entertain notions of success. Still in love with the board - just such hard work to get up it. Now managing to work my way through the easiest of problems such that I have a repetoire (of easy problems to showboat on - have we been here before?).
 
I think with all boards you need a circuit you can do, for maintenance sessions. Then the difficulty is in knowing when you are languishing in your comfort zone, and when you should be pushing on. If you're not failing, you're not trying.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

BackBlog

People usually resume after a blogging hiatus with some sort of pitiful apology. Not me. I have been in wedding preparation land (9th August is big day), and weather hasn't been amazing, so there's not been loads to write.
 
The weekend of the 18th, she and I went down to Exmoor for a weekend camping (this is too far for a weekend). We stayed at the marvellous Cloud Farm, which nestles in the Doone Valley - one of rural England's last tranquil spaces (apparently). It was very nice, I can vouch for that. The weather, however, had other ideas. It wasn't fully minky, but it certainly wasn't glorious. Nice area though, the wild ponies on Exmoor are quite incredible. Related to prehistoric horses, they just roam around free to do whatever they want - we nearly mowed one down in the Astra on the way to Lynmouth. Devon for me is all about hedgerows bounding a narrow lane to a whitewashed cottage. Its lovely, and I will always be very fond of it, its just a long way. We went and looked at Ilfracoombe - what a dump. Woolacoombe is quite nice though.
 
Anyway, since then I have been to the climbing works, rediscovered the genius that is the motherboard and failed on BlueBand again. There's nothing earth shattering here, so you can presumably see why theres been a 'bloggage' in the U Bend.
 
BlueBand is brilliant. The moves are amazing. Its just so hard! i keep inching a little bit closer with each visit, but although the holds are quite big, they are all slots and pockets (almost), and my fatty sausage fingers will not fit in when they are hot and swollen. Its a great choice of pre-wedding project as the chances of hurting yourself falling off it are almost non-existent.
 
The other thing I wanted to talk about which has been swimming around in my head is the motherboard. When it first went in I got quite excited about it, but then I hurt a pulley so I gave it a wide berth. Well, that took ages to heal but feels fine now, yet I dismissed the motherboard as being folly in this heat. Not so! in fact its less rapey on the skin than resin, so is probably a good choice in this weather. And also, having to try really hard in bad nic is not so bad from a training point of view. I am keen. Mondays are motherboard.
 
As I haven't any gossip of my own, so I shall impart what titbits I do know. Spain's ambassador to Sheffield leaves on Thursday. I am quite sad about this because I have come to love him (Nacho). But, I feel sure our paths will cross again. If you are interested we are going to send him off in a raft of Ketamine on Wednesday night. Text someone to find out where. Its not hard to guess.
 
Supposed to shit it down with rain on Weds. Dave and I hatched a plan to go Rotherwards then back to the pub for Nacho, but if its bad weather I shall make this the first double motherboard session week. Thursday is wedding rehearsal! eek!
 
Folog is in Font with Lauren. He came over and we did the Rising Sun pub quiz on Sunday. Me and the monster were worried about work so got pissed. Which takes the Sunday night fear away and replaces it with Monday lethargy. Well done Morton.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Pigeon hanger

He takes a mean snap does that pigeon. Here's a link to his full set. But, this one made me laugh, so I thought I would highlight it for my amusement :

Eeeeh, What's up Doc?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Gimphanger

My favourite thing to do in the world on a Friday night is to have a walk down to Broomhill (about half an hour), eat at Thyme café, have a beer or two and then walk back and have an early night. Honestly, I love it. It makes me so happy. We are always so tired on Friday night that we need it too. So we did that. Have a nice chat, couple of beers, some nice food, home by 8pm!

Saturday we lay in, and then she was up and off to her hen do in Manchester. Her plan was to start at our friend Liza's, have a barbecue and then into town for cocktails before back to liza's for kareoke. They all sound to have enjoyed it and I got back a tired, but not that dishevelled honey monster yesterday, which to be honest, was a welcome surprise.

I meanwhile, had arranged to go to the Tor with Spain's second ambassador to Sheffield - the mighty Nacho. There was a nice little scene, Vicky, Dale and nacho were in the roof of Ben, Kristian was working on the Mecca repair, Stone was bimbling about jovially and there were some scottish dudes on Sardine. It was oppressively hot. Humidity through the roof. As I finished warming up the crabmaster Haggis arrived, followed soon after by that most deviant of welshmen Doyle.

Relocated to maximise the shade and any chance of breeze, I move camp to the right hand side. Basically, it all feels damp. In spite of what he proclaims as rubbish conditions, Harris manages to do BlueBand, Staminaband and powerband. I shuffle about and try quite hard but ultimately only acheive brusing of the flesh. Nevertheless, i have had a nice afternoon. I head home to an empty house. I wonder about going to the cinema, but given that Dave Parry is going to the beer festival which is literally 200 m from my house, I realise that is the sensible option and wander around at about 2100. Cofe I owe you £2. Some nice beers, some less nice music and some seriously heavy rain. Doyle, Nige, Adam and Keith turn up. We chat, I go to tescos to buy a pie, home to cook it and to watch the end of sniper 2 - (dog5h1t - seriously one of the worst films i have ever seen).

By sunday morning the previous evenings downpour has been forgotten, so I bimble around the house until my tired fiance gets home. We go to Spoilt for Choice on Eccy road. Its a sandwich shop, but a cut above your bacon heavy standard affair. Sit in the botanical gardens to eat, then put her in bed for an hour so she can get up in time for Gimphanger. I wake her up and bundle her in the car. It costs £5 to get in, but its worth it to see the final. Dylog and Lucy, and Dr Pinch are already in situ. I have taken beers in, concealed in my coat as theres no beer festival again. Well missing a trick there Heasonator - I know its something to do with a single person on the committee, but perhaps they could have an 'accident' before next year?!

So, Keith is disappointed, having missed the cut by one point. Dave and Ned are both through. Ned qualified first so will be out last. Dave is out first. He tries valiantly but doesnt get on with a sloping feature. Next out might be Roddy? cant really remember, so lets just cut to the chase - its all about Dave Barrans, Gaz and Ned. Both flash the first two problems, bish bash wallop. Then it gets harder. Here's dave on problem two :

Dave on choad roof


Ned interprets it another way :



So with those two on level points the gear stepped up one, and at this point Gaz dropped out of the running, leaving it up to Barrans and Ned to thrash it out for the title. It was all about the last two problems. Problem 4 - Barrans ruined it - anhiliated the thing - "Get em boys!". Ned steps up, I am sure he is going to do the business, but no, he tries a wack method, fails and has to try again but is struggling, I fear its over for Ned, but he manages to scuttle to the last move - everyone is baying for him to do it but he misses a foot move and falls. Gutted. Doesnt manage to get back there. As Barrans comes out to do the last problem, Ned sits down. If Ned is to win, then Dave cannot do this problem - and he can't! In a world where you want everyone to do well, then you certainly want your friends to do better. I know Dave, climbed with him a few times and I like him and he is straaaang, but Ned is one of my closest climbing friends, and so I want him to do better. Ned comes out. I feel anxious for him - come on Ned - drop the clutch!

Like a torque steering, slightly over powered souped up Astra Ned sets off, completely misses the first hold and is deposited on the mats. Oh no! my dreams are shattered - does this mean Barrans has won? no! Ned presses the Sport button and like Monica Seles he growls and powers his way through the first move - boom! he switches into overdrive and breezes past Barrans high point - now he is on it, there isnt force in the world which could detach the ginger ninja from the wall at this point, the next moves are dispatched with casual aplomb and ned matches the top jug spins around and lets out a war cry! yeaaaahahhahaha! we all go wild - Ned does it! Champ for another year! Here he is on the final problem :



Battle over, we arent completely sure who has won - both have done the same number of problems, but Dave didnt hold the bonus on this last one, whilst Ned did on the one before, so its Ned's - but by a whisker. Dave rushes in to congratulate Nedward :



And finally, here they are accepting their prizes



The rest of the pics are on my FlickR. Went to the tor this morning (at 0730!), it was cool, but still no wind, so didnt make much progress.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Blueband

Its great to have a project. I like having something on the go, something to absorb those contemplatative moments when your mind wanders. And so the next one is the mighty Blueband. Some will scoff, as this is powerband backwards missing out some of the holds, but the moves are actually really good. Its butch, kind on the skin and close to the ground so can be tried on ones own. I have previously tried it, but always dismissed it as being slightly too hard and my not being able to do any of the moves. Well, last night I went from zero to a bit better than zero. I have a sequence, I did all the moves, and to be honest, it looked like I could move it up to the being doable category fairly soon. I also went on the Bear Claw, which is another tor classic I havent done. This I have to admit is pretty uninspiring, and so I never put the time in. Well, with a bit of Ned psyche I did all the moves last night and I think that one is on too. Delightfully, another one I dont need an army of spotters, pads or even a belayer for. Being so absorbed in wedding planning of late I have missed having a project to get my teeth into. Now I have two.
 
The Tor was in a fine state last night, and I am delighted to have to retract my 'will Liam leave litter?' question - no is the answer, there were no signs of the Red end boys, so well done Liam for keeping a low profile. I collected Ned from the Works where he had been training and we nattered on the way to the crag. I really felt I enjoyed last nights session there, have been a bit ambivalent of late, but last night my faith was restored. She really is the crag which even after so many visits, still has gems to offer. Actually, this says more that I am a punter and should have tied up these loose ends years ago. Folog joined us later which was nice and that was it.