Tuesday, 31 March 2009
Predictably, there was noone at my choice of destination. Having seen the Tor so dry yesterday I felt certain there would no be wetness, and therefore I was suprised that it was actually wetter than Saturday, which is quite interesting - as it hasn't rained since saturday, so it must be about a 2 day delay from when it rains to when the crag gets wet. As an example, on Saturday Cherokee lane was totally bone, yesterday the right handhold was soaked. I wonder if the rate of seepage is constant? Conditions didnt feel amazing. It was very still and about 11degrees. There were midges out (which I have never seen at the place in question), and yet again - the old skin was keen to show its face in spite of a patina of liquid chalk.
I worked through my warm ups feeling pretty fruity, but saving the judgement of my performance until I had tried my objective. I could barely pull on. My heart sank. I fumbled a bit more and it wasnt going anywhere. I had a coffee. Maybe I should try the Thing? I do, its hideous. I remonstrate with myself for being so weak willed - we dont get anywhere without trying - are you going to just roll over and die? give up without giving it your best? I remember Dave Mason's comment from last week - 'you did this last time, couldnt pull on for ages and then suddenly were at the top'. I refocus my efforts. Its such a funny move that first one. The left hand is on a wee pinchy edge thing which forces your fingers to stack onto your little finger which is handily wedged in a groove - and it hurts. After a bit more fannying about, I hold the hold totally different (higher up and away from this sharp skin pinching notch) and I can do the move everytime (numbnuts). From zero to hero, suddenly I am hitting the sloper on every go.
Hitting, but not holding it. Shit. It felt better than this last week, then, every time I hit it, I held it. Not today. Risking life and limb I teeter up the ladder and scrub the shit off the sloper. It still doesnt feel great, but I am getting the right hand pinch better and better each time, which gives me more control of how I hit the sloper. From sliding straight off it I am holding it, my feet flap uselessly beneath me, I kick back in and bring my right hand up - YESSSS! I move my left like Jasper said, crimping the ripple thing, put my heel on, look back at the ground to see I am now directly over my bag and loads of ankle breaking detritus - brilliant. I drop off without trying and move the pads into the right place.
The next go is even better, the holds are in the right place, I can pull on them and again, I am on the top holds, scuttling into postion. For much of this my feet arent on anything, but somehow I remain attached. This time I am not giving up! I wack my heel across to the moffatrocity hold and rock onto it, it comes into balance when you commit and I casually reach the crimp. I feel a bit uncertain, but have a video of Tim doing Superman2, he flicks the heel to a toe and pushes back left into the edge, I do, the confidence returns and presto - it's done! I feel like doing a pullup, kissing the wall and then dropping off - but I dont, I dont want a mouthful of dirt.
Thats it - ticked! brilliant. I feel a bit like I should really have done it some time ago, but its ok. I'm in no rush (only I am, but I dont know why). I pop to the tor and bump into Jordan and Naomi Buys. Jordan is on Boot boys, Andy Pollitt's rarely repeated 8a+. I once held Zippy's rope on it, and he made it look desperate. Jordan has applied comp technique/style to pass the mono, and is having redpoints - it looks feasible. I get quite excited about having a go (in the future). Powerband has wet footholds, and I fire out of the slots a couple of times, but ultimately get to the end after a bit of drying (with my long johns). Someone has left their pants at the end of PB. I can only imagine they were so happy to get there, they removed their underwear in delight.
Monday, 30 March 2009
Thursday, 26 March 2009
I have two irons in two fires at the moment. Lanny Bassham says never allow yourself to have only one goal, as when you complete it you'll be left empty, wondering what to do. So, some degree of 'directed' channel surfing is allowed. The first goal is the infamous low rider, which has taken its fair share of skin and should really have gone down ages ago and the second is the Hulk. I have tried the hulk on and off for years, and its always been too hard for me. A couple of years ago I was shown a way I can sometimes static the first move, although it felt desperado to anything else. This year I can static the first move go after go after go, so when Dave showed me how to do the rest of it I had no excuses. I was delighted to make progress and be hitting the sloper in the wet, so kind of expected to do it the next time i went and it was dry. That time was saturday and I was there with a busted finger and weeping skin, needless to say - it didnt happen. So having rested tues I had a glimmer of expectation that I might actually do a problem.
I shouldnt have gotten excited though because it didn't happen. But, we don't dwell on the negatives - what I didn't do, I reinforce that yesterday I was closer than ever before, and what's more, I felt I climbed well and didn't have too much trouble with the finger - psyched! I still find that first move so wierd, I have ten goes and on 6 of them I will static through it, then the other 4 I wont be able to move at all. I feel that the holds are so poor that I must take them just so, but that with poor skin I cant weedle my fingers into the right place, I must just grab them and pull on. Still, its all learning and I reduce the amount of mistakes its possible for me to make so that success edges closer. 4 times I got matched up on the sloper. I even managed to get my heel out right but in the wrong place. Its fully on next time.
The most exciting problem there is the mighty Superman. Dave was trying the original, and Ned was on Superman2. Both actually looked like they were going to hit the pinch. I didnt even try, but I wouldnt be suprised to learn that either had acheived their goal, and what a goal!
Repeated goes on the same sharp holds started to take their toll so we trundled down the road for the hour of power at the Kudos wall. As we arrive steely fingered mountain wad Dave Hesleden is crimping his way through the classics. We chat, his solitude removed, he takes his leave - sorry Dave! Dave M doesnt put his boots on, but Ned and I destroy a few of the classics. Most exciting, Ned does pinch to press jug which actually looks a pretty awesome move. I prove I cant moan too much about the finger by doing low right and low left presses, and even getting to the top of Tsunami. I try in vain to traverse back left after low left press (to do the simpson link), but its chuffin desperate. I think I need to get the trav wired.
On the way home we hear from Dan Constant Variable who reports that strong Aussie monster Sharik (sp?) has done the Staminaband/PUTP link. This is incredible! For two reasons - it means its climbable, and secondly - its 8c+! WADDAGE!
So now the big question is - Saturday. Where to go? I have two problems I want to do, and I guess I am equally close to either. On one hand, my skin is still thin (but concievably will be better by then) so maybe Hulk is better whilst it recovers? on the other, I am very aware I have limited time to get the rider before its too warm. I think the weather shall decide for me anyway!
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Monday, 23 March 2009
2) You didn't warm up
3) You were ill
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Fred Nicole is such an understated hero. He's amazing. I met him once underneath Dreamtime, only I didnt actually meet him - he was just there talking to someone TC knew. I got someone to stand between me and him and pretended to take a picture so i could capture big Frank in all his glory. I dont still have the picture, and besides - it was terrible.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Thursday, 5 March 2009
All pretty dry, undercut on tsunami a bit slippy wet and the back of the low left start pocket wet at the back but totally climbable. Timed it perfect too. Arrived at about 1600, and the sun was still on the wall, but only minutes from dropping behind the hill. Warmed up in a t shirt and it was a balmy 12 degrees. As soon as the sun went down the temps dropped to 8 degrees, and I got stuck in :
On my first try I got to the press crimp, but I didnt have it right and hit but didnt hold the finishing jug. There were a couple more abortive goes between then and that, and even on that go I really had to throw for the jug. I think with a little bit more composure I could do it real smooth.
I tried to visualise like Jerry - 'it would be just like me to do this now' was what I told myself, but actually - 'it would be just like me to shake all the way to the top like a shitting dog and fall off the jugs' was what I actually believed. Its all very well this mental management stuff, but you have to convince yourself, and I am a big sceptic. My past, experience is weighted too heavily. This I have to deal with. I know what I'm like, and so I expect to live up to what I think I will do. What I need to do is to convince myself that I WILL do it. I monitored my arousal throughout (!) last night too. On my first go, I was chilled and I climbed smoothly and cooly, but didnt quite have the last hold right. On the next goes I was over excited (too aroused!) because I knew I was going to be able to do it. I had to take a moment to try to calm myself down before setting off.
Anyway, I went back on Tsunami and got to the undercut but slipped off and got the fear. Finished the evening on the motherboard with Miles, Mini Pickles and Dr Pinch.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
There's a chapter in Jerry's book about him and Kurt 'Big Guts' Albert going to Borrowdale to do some hard routes, only they discover the Bowderstone and never get onto the crag proper. These days its quite normal to drive all the way to the Lakes with no intention of going anywhere else. If you've not been, the Bowderstone is an awe inspiring sight. A square column, sitting on its long edge in the valley bottom, creates two overhanging faces which climb like steep boards. Brilliant. The rock type lends itself to shattering and pinchy edgey types of holds, but as the hold surfaces are shear planes, they can be smooth.
I think the best way to approach the stone is with a team and padS. I had a honey monster a pad, which shouldnt have been prohibitive, but what you must consider is that the climbing on the stone is hard, and the holds are often a bit slippy. Twice I thought I was locked into a position and was dramatically spat off, once recovering before the ground and the other time, landing on my arse. The ground is hard, and i missed the pads.
I'd set my sights on doing Jerry's Impropa Opera which is what I landed on my arse off. Whilst she watched, I tried and tried again before eventually sticking the hold I'd been aiming for, I shouted 'Got it!' and swung out, back in and then schlipp! I was groundward, my arse my cushion. Ouch. I dusted myself off and got it done. The bruising would never really appear but I spent the next day hobbling. Finished the day off doing Ears of Perception which I had nearly done on a previous visit.
We were staying just above Keswick at a nice hotel called the 'Cottage in the wood'. Ate and drank too much, did some walking, back on Sunday. Nice little break. Went and had a quick go on Full Power yesterday, but i dont think it was great nic and I didnt do very well.
This weekend its the CWIM comp. Ed Robinson, Rob Napier, Diane Merrick and I are team Foundry. I am even planning to mend the Jazz pants ready to show Kilian Fishburger a thing or two. That is, unless its good conditions outside, and then a massive list of projects awaits!