Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sunshine on a rainy day

New Note 8

had a mental last week at work, so when I had stuff to report it didnt get said. Briefly then, as I am in font, and so more exciting things to follow :

went to the cave on wednesday. good scene. Robbins, Doyle, Dyer, Cattell + two lads from the interweb + me, jim and dylog. Nothing actually went down - except a flash of some 7a thing on the right. Tried to do Trigger cut - fail. Something didnt feel right. Interesting to watch doyle, dyer, robbins and cattell all do it, wildly different methods, one common factor - they try really hard. Its like I expect to be able to mince up it static. Not so. You have to try! Anyway, got on Broken heart and very nearly did it. 4 times all the way to the finishing hold - never to hold it. Good training - as pete says, from Fat to Fit! only this week its back to fat!

two more days at work - mental mental chicken oriental. Well busy. Drove to me mams on friday night (midlands), meal, wine etc, then on to ferry on saturday am. took three hrs to ferry, which was norfolkline to dunkirk. Dylog told us to book vip tickets which we did and they were well worth the money. not only do you get on and off first, but you also get the use of this vip lounge thing with free tea and coffee - and the best thing was that there was noone else in so we had the whole thing to ourselves. Amazing. And brilliant!

The drive down here was loooong, but relatively straightforward. Neil came out to meet us and show us around when we got here. dont know what I was expecting, but its nice. Granted, its not malmaison, but its functional, cheap and clean. So, we get in get established and are desperately hungry and in need of a beer. Despite numerous hints nothing is forthcoming, but this i suppose, is fair enough. If you run accomodation for cheap skate climbers, they take advantage, so I imagine your good nature and such gestures dry up. Still, nothing is open and we go to sleep hungry.

Next morning its leathering it down with rain and all too soon the alarm goes so we dont miss the supermarket. Hungrily we tear into baguettes in the car park and satisfy our tums. Bumble about Milly, then a quick look in Font itself before we head home to cook a chorizo and butterbean stew. Film - road to perdition, then bed. v.tired.

Monday morning its still wet outside. We had said we were going to paris, but i had right of veto if it looked ok. It didnt, so off we went. Just missed the first train and had to sit it out in the station for ages (1hr). Paris was cool. Sun came out which was nice for looking around, and although I wanted to be on the rocks, I recognised that they would take time to dry and that perhaps this was the change in the system.... After getting the metro to the place de concorde, we walked up the champs elysses to the arc de triomphe (will have to excuse the pigeon french spelling), where we had a quick mooch, then a meander down avenue Justin Bieber (not actually called that, but sounded like it) to the bridge that takes you to the eiffel tower. Marvel at the rust, and then walk down to the seine to catch a bateaux bus, only sack that off when it turns out to be €11, and we only want to go down half a mile. Walk in the end, back to place de concorde, then through the musee de orangerie (cool), the gardens de tuilerie (sp?) to the louvre. Had been recommended by rough guide to go in cafe marly - shit, and really expensive. Ah well. Out and up to the moulin rouge (on foot still), then up more to montmartre. Feet anihilated. Sacre Coeur very cool. Montmartre very cool also. Tube back to gare de lyon train home. Tired. Consume more chorizo stew, watch the wire in bed. Sleep.

Bright in the morning, but standing water on the road. Sun comes out, so we head out to l'elephant. Quiet when we arrive, but quickly gets busy. Noone climbing, all sort of milling around waiting for things to dry. Look at Coup de Lune - think it is best problem have ever seen, then quest on finding barre fixe - again, looks good, before finishing up at black 39, which is just above la coeur and egalize something? (7c) do black 39 to get warmed up (think it was 6c - jesus!), then go down to egalasdfasdgasdg - theres euros there, so stalk off to try la coeur. Interesting heart shaped feature. Get to it, get past it, cant do anythingn with the top. The euros leave the 7c thing, so head back there. Its a bit rapey. Theres a hard jump from a bad hold to an ok edge. Only work out the body position as the pain from boning the edge gets too much. sack it offf and start walking back towards barre fixe. THere are a thousand people everywhere, and then it starts raining. We go to the supermarket, then to find cofe's tea recommendation (just to look) and then home. Watch the rain for a bit, surf interweb. Rain stops, decide to get some cash and go for a walk, on getting to malesherbes, the sun comes out and we decide to go to gorges aux chats. Its all soaked. but drying fast. Reason it might be ok at cul de chien and drive there. It is a bit damp, but reasonable. Get on the dogs head, but not up its arse. Very scary. Pizza van home.

Now about to watch The boat that rocked.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Ned's Head

The climbing works was brimming with legends last night. John Welford stood quietly beneath the board, surrounded by jostling euros, a bemused look on his chops as tanned honed beast after tanned honed beast made ever more improbable moves up the comp wall. Impressive stuff - and that was just the girls. Some of the CWIF final problems remain on the comp wall for aspirant heroes to try, and as usual, by the end of the night the wackiest had attracted crowds of the least likely suitors. Anyway, I started warming up on jugs, but there were just too many 9a euro wads around. I was embarrassed. So I got straight on the board with John and got stuck in.

Quickly I realised just how much I had missed it (the board, not welford). MOndays are now a board session - forever, no matter what the weather. I needed a volume session - not to get back on Dowel Syndrome, but to lap problems I could do, that I found steady. So I worked through the classics, and it felt brilliant to do so. I love that board. Ned turns up. After 3hrs of chat and quick firing through the steady classics we turn our attention to the comp wall. I bruise my shin, we do a bit. It gets busy, we go home.

Tomorrow I go to the cave!

On Saturday I go to Font! I have only been twice. This time we are staying at the lovely MaisonBleau, and I am taking the honey monster - who of course, doesnt climb. But what better place for a non climber to have a go than font? We drive down on friday night, stay at my mums, then on to the ferry on saturday. Should arrive saturday evening. Am well looking forwards to it.

Monday, 22 March 2010


I'd decided that I wouldnt have a beer on Friday night, then my pre comp preparations would be perfect. But you know how sometimes you convince yourself of something and when you stand back from it you realise you are deluding yourself? I had a sudden realisation that I wasnt going to win, and that a couple of pints wouldnt be here nor there. Croxall gets heavily involved with the guiness before comps and he's always in the finals. So anyway, I went to the pub. It was nice. My regular Friday exhaustion worked to my advantage (as the comp was an early start) and I was asleep by 10pm.

If you are going to be indoors competing, you dont want it to be sunny outside. Persistent drizzle (Peter Kay rain) is optimum competition weather, and persistent dull weather was what we had. I got to the Climbing Works at 0830 and had some computer stuff to sort. Dave Mason and I started climbing at about 0915 (I am telling you this to illustrate how long a day it was). There were 30 problems, set on luminscent pink holdz holds throughout the centre. Walking round - they all looked hard. By 9am it was already busy. Ned and Dave would keep whispering to me who the euro wads were, as a rule of thumb anyone you didnt recognise was an 8b beast. Euro's are bigger than brits. I dont mean fat, I mean beefy. Anyway, my team arrived, and I was decked out in a resplendant pinky purple Wild Country t-shirt. My team mates were Jordan and Naomi Buys and the mighty Harry Pennells. Connected, but not directly in my team were the red chilli lot, who were Tom Peckitt's gf, Miles and Diego.

I was dead keen to get started. I just wanted to get climbing, to move on the problems - get the nerves out the way. Everyone looks for an easy problem to do to start a comp, it gets you moving and starts the ball rolling. I think the problems were supposed to be from 6c - 7c. Although there were some 'easy' ones they were all highly droppable - it would have been easy to make mistakes and come home with nothing. Still, got to be in it to win it.... Both of Nao and Jordan were a bit broken bless them - but they climbed well and pushed on regardless. Time went on and problems dropped and our team made progress. I fell off first on a slab problem (quelle suprise!), which Harry rinsed up. He was on fire. You see, a gritstone legend who has turned his hand to the board is a mighty combination. Although a complete beast now, he's still got the skills. Tenuous balancey slabs he can do where this one trick pony struggles.

Bish bosh whallop - the problems yielded (or not) and ever so slowly it felt like we made progress. Time was passing fast, and there were still loads to get through. I was having fun. I felt like I climbed well and that I did some of the harder problems. The ones I failed on were ones I dont think I would have ever done, or that put me completely out of my comfort zone - trusting ones feet on slabs for instance, jamming cracks etc. Which is probably why I havent done west side story yet. I keep saying it was a really good morning, but it was more like a day! by the time I left it was about 1600.

There was a really good atmosphere. The general air was one of collaboration and cameraderie. Everyone was shouting everyone else on. I would certainly enter again. If I do just one comp a year the CWIF is a great one to do. I think I like team comps. Went home, watched the semi's on the  interweb, then went out with Folog and Lauren for Lucy Fletcher's 30th birthday do at Bragazzi's. It was nice. Felt ruined on Sunday.

This week I hope to go to the cave on wednesday.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

indoor angst

It would have been nice to have gone to the cave. But nice isnt what I need. What I need is guile and cunning. And perhaps an AK47 assault rifle and a T1000 terminator. That is, if I am to win CWIF - something drastic is going to have to take place.

On monday Ned and I went round the red circuit at the Climbing works. The deal was we each got to have one go on every problem and only rest whilst waiting for the other one. The only having one go each rule was immeadiately broken by us both, I think he by being polluted by my climbing equivalent of vomiting in his eyes, and I by being incompetent. I underestimated the poor condition of my skin - it physically hurt to pull on the rapey little crimps, I had to summon the Force to even try. Quickly this became an effort. Got through to about 25 and was seriously wilting. I just couldnt bring myself to pull on anymore. What I wanted was jugs. So jugs I got. Couple of circuits, bit on the board and home early.

I am still thinking about going out this afternoon. But skin is in a perilous state. On one hand, I am desperate to finish west side story, and on the other I should save skin and build up indoor climbing knowledge. But, I know its going to rain over the next few days, so am a bit undecided. Cofefefield has cryptically done something in the dark at Bbg west last night - a prow 30ft right of wss - which has got to be western eyes hasnt it? good effort! (who saw you?)

I was formulating a bigger plan last night. This is to get involved with the routes in april, when I get back from the font.

Monday, 15 March 2010

west side skin

Its like a filthy addiction - climbing outside. You cant help yourself, if its not actually wet it physically pains me to go in, even if thats the only way I could concievably climb - because, for instance - of skin issues. The problem I suppose is exacerbated because we have all been cooped up for so long. This must be the february weather window - arrived late, but here nonetheless. When I last wrote it was thursday day and I was moaning about having no skin. I did go to the wall, did a bunch of circuits of all things (the holds are bigger and dont hurt ruined skin), then, after three hours, buoyed by the confidence of Feehally I shot out to Burbage West to go on West side story. Warming up at the wall is a good strategy. Anyway, I was getting to the last side pull every time, but being unable to move my feet to set up for the jump. Lost some more skin, home after dark.

Friday it rained and we were tired. Saturday it was her dad's birthday and the cars needed attention. Hers had an MOT, and mine went for a service. I have decided to keep the chavstra for now. I cant afford to replace it to be honest. And, outwardly, its not a bad looking car, and it drives ok - its just offensive inside! Still, beggars cant be choosers and so on.

Sunday was another nice day thankfully, as this was my window of opportunity. Again, the session started at a suprisingly busy climbing wall, then after an hour, and well and truly warmed up, off I went - this time to meet James and Jim at West side story, for a masterclass from the one and only alsation leg bum doctor. With his beta I am now able to get to the jump on every go, but feel miles away from doing the jump itself. I tried to experiment with moving my left foot up, but got nowhere. Home at half five.

Dan Walker has done Unjustified! I think this is a fairly significant grade jump for him - is a well good effort. As far as i know I thought he had only climbed 8a+ until now, but that is perhaps not the case. 8a+ - 8c! waddage! 8c waddage anyway!

So, this week - i have to conserve skin on a massive scale - as its CWIF at the weekend, and I am going to win. However, I also have overridding aspirations of doing west side story, and concievably - the cave doesnt ruin ones skin, so will have to investigate the possibility of a mid week raid...

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Zoo Log

My skin is worse than I thought. I went out on Monday too and its just too thin to contemplate trying to hold gritstone holds - or any holds for that matter. Last night I went up to Caley to try Zoo York. From being in with a chance I went back to zero last night, not managing even to repeat the 'steady' top bit. I was climbing with tape on, and I think its nearly impossible with your skin in that state. Disappointing, but not the end of the world. I need to rest, recuperate and get back on it next week. Rubbish skin is very frustrating because its not you thats not failed (although it is clearly), or thats how it feels anyway. Oh well.

However, revelation - i always thought that after dark that moisture in the air would condense and it would be log. And I think this does happen some/a lot of the time. But last night after dark it went good. Got back to the tape box edge thing (undercut to edge on arete), but thats a really boney move, and I just couldnt bear the pain. Went on Ben's Groove as the holds are bigger and not so tip dependant - and, theres a vid of Westie doing it on crackbook. It looks well good from sitter. The problem with the stand is not that its hard, its that its scary and commiting. Not one to try on your own. Watched a video of some youth on it on my phone and set about it. Said youth gets to the crack seam thing at the top, pastes his right foot on the rib and turns it so as to oppose the seam and just stand up - nice and casual. Couldnt get that to work, although suspect I just needed to go for it.

Anyway, so got back down to the car and set off home at 1919 - made it back in an hour. Right on Dave and I were going to do Full Power today, and its a lovely day, and i would have loved to have gone out, but with this skin theres no point. Hmm.

Monday, 8 March 2010


I reckon loads of people out there will be nursing sore fingers after yesterday. For once things were in my favour - the Honey monster had a friend over and so I had that rare and beautiful combination of things - good skin, a full day pass and great weather. Some texts went out, some texts came back. I went to Burbage south to meet Dave Parry and Dutch. We did some fun 6c thing to the left of 7ball, then 7ball (dave has an amazing sequence. I always climbed it like it was 8ball - i.e. clamping the arete, but theres no need. very good), then back to the quarries to do Violence (its appearance belies its quality), and then on to Zorev. Thought I was going to flash it, then needed a thousand and one goes. Dave went the other way. He couldnt move, then when he did, he did it! a better way than my always getting there, never sealing the deal I think. Andy, Emma, Scouse and Toby turn up. They go up the edge, Dave and I go to Leotard Legend.

On the subject of which - Captain Invincible must surely be the most improbable, desperate looking thing at Burbage? Sean Myles really was an unsung hero. Anyway, Leotard Legend. This is a banks problem which climbs some pointy the wrong way edges to a ledge. 7c+. Desperate to pull on, then got up there, but was a bit scared and a bit uncomprehending. Quick go on Trellis - hard, high and scary. Bottled out. Jogged back to the car and zipped round to Stanage to meet Foley. Time now - 1430. Knew I was gonna be hot on the way up, but no warning for the leg buckling hike with two pads which followed. Arrived to foley in a skins compression top looking like the missing third fairbrass brother from Right said fred, and did some Green Traverse variations to get back on it.

Rich, James and a whole team of heroes descend on the Pit. On every go I get to the top, on no goes do i hold the jug. I have no problem getting up there, its that final udge that I struggle with to get the jug. I have at least learnt how to do  it left hand first. It is definately easier that way, but its more of a trick move. Bob Smith shows us the way, and I admit defeat and walk back down (time now 1630). Roast chicken, wine, District 9 to finish the day - this is a good film by the way. 75%.

Hadnt actually told you any of last weeks tales either, so briefly (as it wasnt a great week of greatness), Monday she and I nearly went out. Set off for Stanage but it started raining when we got as far as Ringinglow road. Turned back and went to the wall. Helen for tea (we didnt eat her, she came round). Wednesday - went to the cave, but only for 2hrs. Nearly completely pointless. Friday - quick lunchtime hour at Caley Roadside. Did Zoo York from stand which was a first. Couldnt get back through the start though. Hoping to go on Wednesday afternoon. So thats that. Mint again today. Think Foley is coming over, hope to get out this afternoon - late.