Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Monday, 27 April 2009
"Fashion and trends and crowd following and suddenly a once mystical area is swamped by hordes of braying Londoners and Brummies, gangs of students and beginners who can't resist the newly bolted 4+ slabs, girls who like crimpy bloody slabs, and vapid UKC sheep full of internet information and empty in soul and spirit, all queuing for routes and blethering on about their latest big ticks and big numbers"
And its this unwieldy sentence I wanted to bring to your attention. I see this more and more, and I dont like it. The people I see coming into climbing aren't climbers, they're consumers. They're not in it for the right reasons, they're doing it for misplaced reasons of kudos and in the particular example I'm thinking of, to garner sponsorship, in the mistaken belief (one presumes) that there is money to be made :
"Anway,(sic) if you are a company, i will attempt to onsight simbas pride, for a sponsership? Or just break my legs for you......Please..or snap some fingers? /....Anything!!"
It just all seems particularly avaricious. I grant you, I had delusions of grandeur as a youth but theres something quite distasteful about voicing such aims publically. Before I go and leave you in peace, I find people writing about climbs and including the grade after the problem name galling too. For instance "I went and did XXXX v27, then nearly flashed YYYY v15", its saying 'look at me, look at how good I am! this is the level I'm at - fuck you' and theres no need for it. IF you are writing a guidebook - put the grades in, if you're talking about your day out its not necessary.
Thanks to Stu and Jules for the offer of a lift torwards on Sat. I didn't take it as I had to be back for a family engagement, the consequences of being late were high. I cycled to the climbing works. Sharples and I agree that even when it is possible to climb outside constantly, there is value in having an indoors session once a week. Reeves butted in that this was only valid if you were campussing. To be honest, logic suggests they are right. Especially when it has been so hot over the last week, in sometimes seems a smart option, but it actually physically pulls at my heartstrings. Its just not right, being indoors when the weather is nice. I find myself gazing out the windows beneath the campus board like a dog in a hot car, and you all know what happens to dogs in hot cars.
Its going to be a funny week in climbing terms. Hopefully however the reduced volume will be compensated by success... I am firm believer that the cave has secrets which are learnt. If you go once a year you will always be rubbish, whereas if you make a few trips without leaving it so long between visits then you get into it. I am going tomorrow, and I am royally excited. My objective is Lou Ferrino. I've watched the various videos that exist of it on youtube whilst on a conference call this morning. It feels like I nearly did it two weeks ago, and I am being positive. I was riddled with man flu then, and I didnt know what I was doing. Kook sorted my sequence out but not before i had expended energy getting it wrong, so tomorrow is my time. Yes, tomorrow. I'm going to do some work, but have flex built up and at about 11 will be getting a lift (car still broken) with Pritch and Nacho to meet Jim in Denton. Then begins the send fest.
Wednesday I'm in London. Thursday will have been out two nights late, so no chance there. Friday she and I are going away to Wales (weather permitting)(not the cave!), back on Sunday.
Friday, 24 April 2009
Nic busts out Moffatrocity. I fall off jericho road. My accuracy feels impaired. Its like my balance is off. I start giving myself an internal kicking for my failures, then check myself - must still be ill. Neil Pearsons and Ed Robinson turn up, Nic and Katherine leave. I try the Hulk - cant pull on. I try Sean's - cant do a move! the holds feel BAAAAAD. My skin is for once good. I'm not sweating through the tips but its just not happening. I feel frustrated. I manage to do the Pinch, and start to feel a bit better about myself. Do the Hulk pull on, and think was I just warming up perhaps? Dan Walker arrives. We have a look at Pink Indians. Ed does it (flash? think so). I am scared. Foley goes to Rubicon. I have a look at the pinch sitter. Its awkward rather than hard. I think I could do it on a good day and will add it to the list of things to try. Ed does the Hulk again!!! I'm sure he wont mind my mentioning that it wasnt the most stylish of ascents (see above overdry and not using bad holds) but the style matters not, its done and we saw him.
Ed and Dan go home, I go to Rubicon to meet James. The air is tepid like bath water. My plan for the day/evening had been : meet james at cressbrook. Dazzle him by doing all the problems up to and including the Hulk really casually before heading down the to Rubicon, doing the 'Big Three', then trying the big link. Whereas in fact what actually happened was rather different (at least you should admire my positivity?). Failed on the press first go. Failed on kneeling first go. Whilst I did do both on subsequent goes, this hasnt happened in years. Failed on low right at all (but did only have one go). james and I walk out, I pop in at the tor with a view to the calling of the lime.
Andy Reeve and a chap who I recognise are on Sardine - with headtorches on! waddage! The crag looks bone. Theres still wetness round the right of Pinches wall, but the powerband footholds are dry. Staminaband undercuts dry. I pull on powerband and feel fucked. Have it so wired I get to the end, tap the pocket, drop off and walk away. On the way home I ring the Harris to discuss the lime, but he's busy changing nappies.
Last night I had further car problems, which now point back in turbowards direction.
Monday, 20 April 2009
The obligatory pier shot in 'dudno. Look at the sky. It was like this from when we arrived until we left, and probably still is now. Love the sunshine :
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Dylog, Dave Mason and I set out for Doyle's at tea time on Friday. The thinking wasnt to climb late Friday, rather to rest up and arrive in the cave fresh on saturday. The honey monster has had a cold all week, and I could feel myself starting with it on the way over. Mustering all the positive energy in my psyche I tried my best to focus on not getting it (which I'm not sure works, but what else could I do?). The weather was absolutely amazing. Wall to wall sunshine. Following advice from that Denizen of the cave Mr Doyle, we didnt even leave the house until 1200 on saturday am. The Cave gets the sun in the morning and it would be boiling. To be honest, conditions were ok through the day, but the true professionals choice would have been to arrive at about 1700. It was noticeably cooler then. Anyway, I expected it would be busy but it wasnt.
Various hopefuls and heros arrived and tried through the afternoon, but most notably Kook and Macho Nacho, conquistador of the cave. I havent seen Kook climbing for ages, but the last time I did he was far stronger than he was capable, and in response to a reported ambition of his to climb font 8a, I said it would never happen. What I meant was that font 8a's are hard and require more than just strength, and based on what I saw I didnt think his efforts were concentrated in the right area. Well, whether he knew anyway and focussed on other areas, or whether he continued doing what he was doing he was on fire in the cave yesterday! Impressive doesnt come close. Whilst I struggled with moves on 7c+'s, this guy put in valiant links on 8b's. Not only that, but is a very helpful nice chap who offered several titbits to help me on the problem I was on. Blimey, when he did Louie to get into the thing that crosses the roof leftwards he just yarded through it like he had his feet on the floor. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
Macho Nacho and dale both arrive, both wearing sunglasses as if they had been dropped off by Puff Daddy on his yacht. With no cristal in sight macho Nacho tears the cave to pieces over the next few hours. I mean, I knew he was good but in the cave he's on another level. Reminded me of when I saw the Katz there. Snappy power. Strongman the Higg arrives and is filming Nacho for what noone knows, but he has some expensive looking camera gear.
Dave and Dylog wanted to do Trigger Cut. They both casually do the first move. I am dismayed (I think its desperate). Dave doesnt seem weighed by gravity and levitates to the shot hole but fails there. On his next go he doesnt, listening to doylo's directions he levitates past it to the final jugs. The cave breathes a sigh of relief. He made it look really easy. This is another good thing in the cave. I think theres quite a good general feeling of wanting others to do well. When Dave did TC everyone was watching and willing him to do it. Everyone genuinely wanted him to succeed. Dave then tried halfway and got back to the shothole - we all thought he was just going to do it again! Amazing, but not to be.
Doylo makes Broken Heart look really bloody easy as well (I am fighting the urge to channel surf), and starts to attempt Mule's finish to Clever Beaver. He falls from the last move but again, I am inspired by my friends successes. Not enough to do anything myself though, but theres a good vibe and its easy to keep trying.
Dylog looks like he is going to do Broken heart as well, but struggles to make his left heel work. At about 1800 we leave and head back to Doyles to pick up Dave and head home. I am knackered and cold ridden. Although we could have stayed and climbed today, I think I would have been rubbish, and this cold is not helping. Hooray to doyle for hosting us, to dylog for driving and to Dave for psyche. I'll string any amusing footage together and post it up.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
So Ben I return from 10h at the Jessops maternity hospital and i have a few things on my mind. when will shiv pop? will the air to the harris fortune be aboy or a girl? and more pressingly who in god's name will call the lime.
I consulted "Ye old lime callers guide" and it is indeed true that the lock lines (they're like lay lines but more powerful) between the Tor and "the caller" can be impaired by the iminent delivery of the son of the lime caller (unless said delivery is happening at the Tor itself).
So Dobbin this year as I will be unable to open the season by crabbing my way along Staminaband & Rooster booster I abdicate the 2009 responsibility to your goodself. I can't tell you when it's right but I leave you with a few thoughts that may help you in making the right call.
- the tor is king of the lime and quite frankly other lime does not count in the calling
- the grit should be truly a thing of the past season (bear in mind it's still pretty windy)
- don't be bullied by the keenness of youth for the call (only you will know)
- the bit just to the right of the pinches wall does not need to be 100% dry (otherwise the lime would only have been called 5 times in the last century!)
- try to climb like a legend on the day of the call (lest others questions your calling)
- let it be known publicly & in a big way it's lime time
May the Fawcet be with you.
There it is folks. For this year only (unless he has another baby...), a great responsibility rests on my shoulders. Rest assured I shall not shirk, nor bow to populist pressure - the lime will be called when my waters are a twitchin.
Thursday, 9 April 2009
"momma cooked a breakfast with no hog"
Irrespective of Mr Cube's living arrangements, no AK use was mandated from my direction, and I amassed two new crag ticks and three new problems 'in the satch'. Which was nice.
The cast list fluctuated as the morning wore on but at 1400 three set out in a Rotherhamwards direction to investigate new and exotic rocks. Access is tricky so we will say no more about locations. The trickiness of access requires a quick and quiet exit from your vehicle and demeanour at the rocks, which leant an interesting muted quality to both the frustrations of failure and the celebrations of success. Additionally, because its not public knowledge, so the foilage is abundant, clearly illustrating the damage of a thousand feet, pads and other climbing detritus. This place is of limestone, and derived from magnesium rather than calcium I was informed yesterday - the rocks where compact and of high quality, if perhaps a little dusty and more crumbly than their calcified cousins. The access situation is both a shame and it isnt. I like that its not in the public domain - selfishly, but it's a shame that its not 'allowed but unknown' rather than 'not allowed' group.
Furtively, we set about warming up - and i felt rubbish. Slow, tired and heavy. I worked hard mentally to stop from thinking 'oh well, thats it then, might as well just take pictures' and to try to get on it. The flask of black gold was instrumental in achieving the desired mental state, added to the arrival of Sam and Harry although the battle wasnt won yet. Dave showed us a 7b+ on the far right with a tricky pull from a heel to some slopers, before a wild slap to the finishing jugs. He made it look so easy. All of us tried, Sam was quick, Harry was quicker and Dylan and I had to give up. For now.
Bizarrely, there's a fireplace in the middle of the crag. Everyone moved station beyond it, to where the hard stuff is. Sam, Dave and Dylan started trying an 8a called Riverman which Dave did before xmas - it looks totally improbable. Harry and I have more realistically set our sights on a 7c called Nazarene which starts a la trigger cut - in the middle of nowhere on two crimps, only here, these crimps are dreadful. Harry settles his hands and stands for 30 seconds staring at the foot holds, psyching himself up for this most unlikely of pull ons, his body tenses, his leg twitches and he jabs his toe rightwards to a head height foot jug, his left foot feels underneath and behind for a toe hook and he is locked in position. His focus changes back to the next hand move, and bam! he hits the next handhold, sinks into the bicycle clamp and reaches through - its on, he only has a move to do, but he falters and fails. I'm excited! the problem looks feasible! I pull on and dont get my foot right and am immeadiately back on the ground. Harry does the same and we ruminate how your first go can be brilliant but lead to a thousand rubbish goes, going backwards in progress until you either pull it out of the bag and do the problem, or get tired and go home.
Sam pulls on and flashes the problem! I notice a subtlety of toe hook that unlocks the sequence for me and Dave and I both do it too. I think Dave might have flashed it as well - strong bastards! Dylan and Harry get fully stuck in whilst I go and look at the filth which is Riverman. I have no idea how anyone ever has done it - its well hard. I take my boots and go back to the 7b+ I tried at the start. Delightfully, and with a completely different sequence, I manage to do it. Back round the fireplace to film the action on Nazarene, both Dylan and Harry are getting to the top, Harry seals the deal and Dylan tries valiantly but slips off and gives up to save skin.
One car goes home, and the other goes to the 'impossible roof' to look at Serenity/Serendipity and 'in t'black'. Serenity looks dead hard, nay impossible, but this in t'black looks ok.
We get stuck t'black. The roof was originally called impossible roof as the juggy edge which you need to do in t'black fell off. Mike glued it back and Ned flashed the FA (well good effort). He gave it 7c. I thought it was hard for 7c, but it was the end of the day, although it probably suited my strengths. As the sun set on Rotherham we made our way back home. I felt emaciated, having only eaten a coconut and sultana bar since 1300 - probably why I managed to pull in t'black out of the bag. Spoke to Ned that evening, and mine was the 4th ascent.
Andy Kirkpatrick talks about the rat of success in his book 'Psychovertical'. He describes how the thing that drives us on is like a rat gnawing away, constantly needing feeding. When its been fed its satiated for a while, but then the hunger returns. The length of time the hunger abates for is determined to some extent by the quality of the meal. Although sometimes, getting a few good snacks down is enough to keep the rat fed for weeks... lets hope so, as the future is uncertain! #end
Monday, 6 April 2009
On the way to the cave we get a text from Ed Robinson who has just done the Hulk. Blummin good effort Dr Pinch!
Parisella's cave is a grotty hole in the ground. There's poos in the bottom (of the cave), the holds are all bad and the problems are all hard. Its rubbish - you'll have much more fun doing mountain trad. Off you pop then, don't waste any more time reading this introverted drivel...
All of the above things ARE true. BUT I LOVE IT! I wish I lived closer. It really is the indoors outdoors. Its raw, brutal, unforgiving, technical, knacky, rewarding, scary and next to the road - perfect! Its the ultimate place to build up to something big. You do a few moves and then by simply adding a few moves more you've got something really hard. I think this is the reason the grades are all nonsense - if you had to walk up to and do one of these problems with no prior knowledge you'd get shut down, but because you can pull on at almost any point and work bits of it and then put it all together so when they get done they feel easy. Trigger cut is never 7c+, Rock attrocity is never 7c.
There are a few people there when we arrive, noone I know. We start climbing and I feel pretty good. Because the holds are more open and pinchy in the cave my bad crimping finger keeps quiet, I realise just how much it has been a hinderance. For the first time I do Beaver Cleaver, so already have a tick to be pleased with - sadly its the only one, but I'm focussed on progress rather than what I didn't do. James and I have a look at Broken heart (which finishes up Beaver Cleaver (if it doesnt, then I have the wrong name - the problem I did is that which is the end of Broken Heart), and I think it looks feasible. Everything in the cave seems to involve a trick - there's all sorts of clever heel toe faggotry and without knowing it for Broken Heart I only do the easy bit at the end. But this is why its so good, you do a problem, put a couple of moves on the start and you're only a sniff away from actually doing something quite hard. Its like you are on a promise, the big numbers wink slyly at you - 'come and get me big boy' they say. I scrabble towards them like my life depends on it, but they're shy little devils and they weeble into dark corners before I can close my hands. Once the problem has shown you a bit of itself you'll chase until truly beaten.
Follicle is in his element, chasing around showing me bits of stuff (that I cant do). I know the feeling - when you burn someone off you wouldnt usually burn off you keep going, pressing home the advantage - its a brilliant feeling and I dont begrudge him any of it! He breezes through Rock Atrocity, notably adding the sit start to get an extra notch for his bed post. Honestly, the ease with which he does Rock Atrocity is dismaying, and I have glimpsed what I can have if I put the time in.
Trigger cut is chuffin desperate. We don't even do the first move - although I feel like I'm not a million miles off it. I get James to push me through and then try the foot move that follows - poor James, I feel as if I am not supporting ANY of my own weight and that move is desperate. I give up and switch focus to Lou Ferrino. I've wanted to do this for years and my biggest problem is stupidity. I have my best go when I listen to the shouted instructions, but it doesnt feel natural and my body wants to move in a different way. I forget I have leeched a video of JLS doing it onto my ipod until we are on the way home, and at that point notice a different method that might work for me.
And now I cant wait go back! But seriously - its rubbish. I wouldn't bother.