Monday, 28 June 2010


Baking baking baking. Lofty aspirations of pulling on teeny razor crimps massively misplaced in such conditions, even at early o clock on saturday morning. Met Ed at Topley pike at 0930 and even then it was 17 degrees in the car and tres hot walking down. Needless to say I didnt so much as go backwards on Entree as to be almost unable to pull on. Bit disappointing, but must remember that it was conditions rather than me that was the problem. Made a couple of potential sequence changes which seem to make the hard bit more amenable, so will have to see the next time its cool. Constance Variable writes in the latest On the High camping and walking up hills magazine that this is the time to be training, and he is right, but when you have seen a glimmer of success you spend your waking moments scrabbling for opportunities to seal the deal.

Dave Hesleden and other chap who i know and speak to but dont know name of turn up and do pitch one of darl. Ed clips up Orange Sunshine and dispatches it on his first or second go. He even does a man bark, so it must actually be quite hard. We sack it off at 12 and walk out. Sweaty. This leads me to mine and Ned's idea of the graph of climber perception. At one end of the scale, the quiet destroyer, genuinely modest and a secret beast, ticking their way through whatever they try without telling anyone about it, and at the other end he who shouts and screams, tells anyone who will listen about his successes and respins his failures to be the fault of conditions/someone else/etc or just lies about things. You know the sort - the one who tells you his hardest ever tick when you ask what his favourite climb had been. Anyway, they're at opposite ends of the scale. We realised it wasnt a linear graph - rather perhaps, it was a horseshoe? from goon to good un in the shape of a horseshoe? no. further analysis of the model revealed actually, the graph is the shape of a proud stallion, stood in a field with its phallus erect and glistening. On the hoof of modesty is your Ed Robinson's and Roy Mosely's, on the very tip of the penis is Squiff, Ned would be the buttocks, I the mouth, the littlefair/davies are on the other front hoof - at the modest end but say more than your Mosinators and Robinsons and beasts every step of the way. Jon Fullwood - you'd be a bee flying around the horse. You see, the model works for us all - Jon wouldnt be on the model, therefore he fits as a bee which would be in the picture. Adam Mong, he would be the lustrous mane. Jim is the belly. Lee is its tiny pin head. Consider where you fit, and if you cant place yourself - ask. I can extrapolate your position using a complicated mathematical model.

That afternoon she and I buy her a car, its a Mini, and I am well jealous. Saturday night we go to a barbecue, and there are decks and everything. I get quite excited and ask for a turn. I have no records and have to make do with someone else's but remember what to do and can actually do it. This is interesting, because as you know i have recently started digital DJing, and argued that beatmatching is a basic mechanical skill which anyone could learn. And I stand by that, Traktor does take you away from having to keep the records in time which leaves you free to concentrate on building a soundscape. But, actual physical DJing is a very intuitive thing, and more about the selection of the right record for the mood than it is about seamless beat matching. Thing is, that once you get to an automotive level of being able to do it without thinking then you can layer sounds together with turntables as well as on the computer. I still think digital is the way forward, but I had great fun on the actual decks, and perhaps this is the crux of the matter. If you want to mess around and do a bit now and again then physical is the way, but if you want to go serious and make sprawling epic four deck prog-a-thons then digital is the answer.

Sunday was a day of sport, but not for us. We had to go to the car garage to finish the purchase of her car. Once that was done we sat in the garden and then started watching the match. I imagine that because I find commentary on climbing from people who dont understand it irritating that any such football comment from me would be seen likewise, but we watched and were disappointed with everyone else. Tried to go for a walk after that but it was just too hot.

Meanwhile at the BBCs and in comp land in general, some bright spark had organised for the British Bouldering Champs to be held the same weekend as a world cup round. This meant that the horse's buttocks couldnt take part and defend his title. I imagine the thinking here was that well, we already know that we want the people we are sending to eindhoven to be in the team, so it doesnt matter that they miss the comp. Well it does, because its not fair that the incumbent doesnt get chance to defend his title. As it happened, the horse got sent to the glue factory and he got back in time, but was tired and didnt win. Nige Callendar did. Leah Crane won the ladies.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Brachiation Lex

I thought yesterdays football match was quite exciting. So much so that when i got into the car, i actually tuned the radio to five live so as to be able to keep up with it. Plus, it was quarter past four anyway, so I'd seen the first half and the second was underway. By the time we arrived I'd know what had happened. Its not so much the football itself, more the collective zeitgeist of the nation, to not take part feels like missing out, and I hate to miss out.

The roads werent quiet. Or rather, the cars that were on them seemed to be concentrating elsewhere and not paying attention to their driving. And, there were loads of cars at Rubicon. Just one person at the rocks though, and noone at the Cornice. Drier than last week, but still some slime on Brachiation dance.

I had a look at the Disillusioned Glue Machine which is filthy. So filthy in fact that it was unclimbable. I contemplated cleaning it with my lapis, but this would have A : taken all night, and B : been epic with just a lapis. Could one of the full timers go and sort it out please? You would need a stiff brush and patience.

Having run away from that one I go to the other end of the world and stick the draws in Yorkshire 8B. Meanwhile Lex is lapping to the top of Brachiation Dance, Dylog is clipping up Free Monster and Sam has started on Rumble in the Jungle. Rumble looks amazing - fully incredible wild moves right up there in the roof. Dylog looks to be having a whitey with the Freemonster, and I have to agree - it does seem hotter than last week. Ed does Brachiation dance. The cycle goes round.

I have the fear about yorkshire 8b. The moves are pretty steady, and really its well bolted - but you clip on the lip then do the crux (which is hard), so the clip is above you then, then reaching out of the crux you're now on its level, then you must place your foot on at the same level and rock over - to a hold which is good. So from there theres an easily droppable move to finish the hard climbing, so you would complete this section with your feel on the lip next to the bolt - so the fall and everything would be fine - whats the problem? honestly - its frustrating. I carry on to the top and realise just how easy it all is up there. Cant believe it - need to get this head sorted.

Anyway, back to Dylog and the Free Monster. As is often the way, he just looked smoother, more composed and to be climbing better. Plus, Sam had imparted a better sequence on the end bit, so he was quicker - not that it made any difference or that he needed to be - he got there, did the deed and finished it off. A great effort.

Then to Lex. 3 or 4 redpoints to the final jug on brachiation dance, falling from the slap around the lip to finish, and the debate had been whether to force a stop half way through on his last go, so as to do a new link from mid to top. We talked about this, and it did make a lot of sense, but what about the if i get there I'll just fight to the death psyche? last go psyche? that must have been what he tapped into last night as this go put the rest of us to shame. In the gathering darkness he set off up the slab, huffing and puffing - he didnt blow the house down, but he did get to the breaks, make the clip and get a bit back. But enough? who knows... As he swam upwards there was silence from below - come on lex, dont blow it - you can do this we thought collectively. But he looks tired - however he's got great tenacity, and with no small application of gumption is soon at the top break, clips in, ready to do the deed, come on Lex! He shakes out, exchanges a few choice words with us, the throng below and the shouting starts, he revels in it, fluffs the tricky move, we think he's off, but scrabbling he tries again and gets it this time - surely he cant hold on anymore? he does! with a rebel yell slaps wildly over the lip, we roar, but privately hope he has enough in the tank to match and thank goodness he does! in total control he matches, swings out, lets out a yell and then drops off. Brilliant. What a great effort. Man of the match award to him.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Extended Entree (siege alert!)

I'm not bothered about watching other sports, or really our sport. Its not watching that floats my boat - its doing. There are some sporting events I would sit in front of - the gymnastic rings for instance - thats well impressive, but football? naaah. Not bothered. We did watch on Friday though, although I almost wish we hadnt. Thing with football in particular is that it seems massively variable. Sometimes its just log, and in my untrained eyes, I reckon that which was played on Friday was definately log. Anyway, theres enough hype and commentary about that particular sport that you dont need more ill advised comment from me.

Bless Ned. He's one of the good ones. Poor guy usually gets up mid morning, not so Saturday. I'd bullied him into coming down Cheedale with me 'to finish Entree', so he was round at mine at nine, and we were trotting down the hill at half past. First to cross to two tier, and doesnt the stream feel warm and is low this year? Ned had bought with him his portable fingerboard, so we hung that from the first bolt on kali yuga and set about warming up. This is a genius idea - why waste skin and time on something you dont care about? get warmed up on the fingerboard which can be taken anywhere and then get straight on with it. Plus, Entree is effectively all over by the second bolt, so after a bit of a warm up I clipsticked to the second and then furtled to the top.

Rob Smith and Dan Cheatham arrive. Rob is here to do Entree, and Dan to do Minos. We discuss sequences - interestingly they are both totally different. As I keep nearly doing it my way, I'm not gonna change now, but its interesting to see if theres anything I could make easier. My first go is rubbish - the undercut crimp feels a bit serious, and I lower off to do some crimping on the fingerboard. Ned has a go, trying a wild new method which involves pressing the blocky pinch all the way to the gaston - he is about to do it when a foothold spings off the wall. Its the one you (i) use to step up in to the undercut, and whilst its now a tiny bit harder, that tiny bit is quite tiny. I dont ever fail to do that move for instance, but I would say its a bit harder.

Go 2 is better, but I dont get the pod right and lurch out of it. Go 3 is 'the' go. I should have done it. The holds just feel better, I have them more positively, everything goes well, the pod feels like a jug. I am able to shake out and have a chalk and everything, but I just feel massively out of balance trying to get my right hand to the jug and after much furtling I fall off. I knew that was the one as well. Work out what to do again, but it just doesnt feel as easy as I think it should. Rob has a go and shows us his more direct sequence - to be honest, I think it looks harder. They go back up to Minos and I try to summon the force. I dont really manage it and just feel a bit dull. It doesnt go down, and so I replace my rope and draws with those of Rob before wading back out. Frustrating, but its ok - I will be back. Already I start to wonder when this could be....

Saturday night we have dinner guests, I spend most of the afternoon cooking then we eat and get drunk. Nice. Sunday is beautiful, so we sit in the back garden drinking tea and reading books. The afternoon finishes meeting friends in Graves park to climb trees, throw boomerangs and attempt to fly kites.

This week we are under an area of high pressure bringing sunshine and sweaty hot temps until at least the tail end of the week, so any hopes of late night Cheedale action are probably daft - whilst the wall is out of the sun by 7.30, it wont cool down until its nearly dark. Plus, I know Dylog wants to get back down WCJ Cornice to finish FM. I'm happy to go there, and there are some drawers in rumble, so I could go on that - or Yorkshire 8b.... Anyway, keep you posted...

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Freeing the Free Monster

Finally last night I managed to climb the Free Monster. Its a route I first went on years ago, probably 2008 or 2007 I think. I reckon I had 5 or 6 sessions on it in total, and some of those sessions I went on other things because it was wet or whatever. Anyway, I didnt even really want to go if I'm honest, I wanted to go back down Cheesedale, but it would have been boiling and the Cornice seemed like a wise choice.

Suprisingly, Brachiation Dance was wet in places. It was like someone had helpfully crammed sea weed into the jugs. I hate the feeling I might be about to slip off, and I have to admit I stopped midway through to ask for a towel. Meanwhile Dylog clipped up FM. I came down, he came down. I got a go on FM. Actually, could really have done it on this first go - I could remember what to do and got through the 'crux' but didnt feel right on the jug flake that lay beyond. More accurately, I think I was being a wet lettuce. It feels a bit scary that clip. Had a chill, carried on to the top. So, thats it in two sections.

Both Dylog and I are in redpoint mode. We wait. He has issues with finger size in that pocket just before the crux, and this is his undoing on this go. He furtles to the top and down to earth again. I go, once more getting to the flake jug but once more wimping out on it. Do a couple more moves and lower to the ground. Lucy and Lex are on Brachiation Dance. If you know that route, you know that the hardest bit of it is crossing the slab at the start. You dont so much climb it as teeter up it. Anyway, the bolts are in a worrying place and poor Lex takes the ride from the worst place, and on a slab! all of which I have on film! credit to the guy, it doesnt stop him, and keeps at it.

Back to Free Monster, and its back to me. All goes quiet. I pause in the onion to survey what comes ahead. I look at my fingers - pink not white, apply some chalk, and then its time - swarm upwards I think, climb light, climb fast - alpine style... and up we go. Past the first two clips, bit of a shake - am grateful for the hushed encouragement, launch into the first bulge, clip, crux crimp, paste foot, crimp, pop - got it good, bit of a pant, come on - dont let the fear stop you, this is it, make that tricky clip and balls out snatch the jug pocket before the top break - I dont at any stage think I'm going to do it, I'm just climbing - eyes on stalks, like my life depends on it. Torque my heel into the top of the flake, camming my toes against the roof and roll over to the break at the top - oh my god, I got back here! (previous high point from earlier in decade) clip, shuffle along the break, other heel goes up and clip again. Manage a micro shake before launching into the final tricky moves - snatch the crimp, body arcs back but I manage to hold it and haul myself in, I hear Dylog say 'a muerte!' - to the death, and I know that this is the chance, I have to take it, I wont be back here tonight if I fumble, and with all my might I slap leftwards over the top lip for a sidepull, Held it! by god, I settle my feet and lurch wildly onto the finishing jugs! its done! I leap backwards into space victorious at long last. The Free Monster is laid to rest.

Dylog ultimately must feel very frustrated this morning. Not just because his mate did it and he didnt which is a wierd feeling at the best of times - psyched for the doer, gutted to have missed out, but more because he has another three goes, and on go 2 he basically does it but fluffs the top break. He cant hide his frustration, but having covered the ground surely its on the next time he gets back to it. So watch out friends of Dylog - if you are going to be recruited thats where you will be going!

For me though, i want to get back to Cheedale. Edlog and I went last saturday and had a brilliant day. I got on Entree and it feels like it should go down next visit - so if anyone fancies it early saturday morning....

Thursday, 10 June 2010

surfing incontinence

"Whats the impact of bringing these guys online so late in the day?" asked the project manager. I couldnt answer, I was staring at my phone on which the name 'Ed Brown' was flashing on the display. Ed Brown I thought... wonder what he's up to on such a clement day, and that was what he was phoning in search of - dry rocks. I was in our attic bedroom so had no idea, but that the houses 20 metres away were partly obscured by mist the signs werent good. I texted him, explaining my aspirations where down cheedale but that it seemed unlikely. Much later my text buzzed and he confirmed that the tor was 'gopping'. If the Tor was bad, surely there'd be no point in heading down Cheedale. Emailed my team and let them down, but it was too late for Folog who was 10 minutes from getting there. He phoned, cross to have wasted his time, but so near that it was worth continuing. Then he phoned again to say it was allright. It seemed like some sort of elaborate revenge hoax as the weather looked so bad, but I jumped in the car anyway and headed out.

The high moors were shrouded in mist, my cheap korean tyres scrabbled for grip on the sopping road surface as I torque steered my way through the peak, my car like a deranged pig engorged on steroids intent on mating with a lady pig in the shape of a dry stone wall (this was for Cofe who I bumped into and with whom I reminisced on the halcyon days of this blog). Folog's assertions the crag was fine seemed implausible at best. I expected to arrive at an empty crag and find myself at the butt of the butt doctors joke, but as I got closer conditions got better and the mist seemed less of a problem. Foley was there, and had just seen Al Austin who'd been on the top pitch of chimes. Basically the middle of the crag was allright. Not great, but allright. Things went black with use and it was far from ideal, but I was pleased to be out.

We got on Toilet Gesture. Dr Pinch made us a three which lengthened my rest time allowing us all to top it cleanly a couple of times each. This was a first for me. I think its a good route actually. The Climbing is entertaining and its a bit better bolted than Sardine - plus perhaps a bit more consistent. Anyway, I had wanted to catch up with Edlog, because I wanted to talk about surfing...

I was born in Devon, and through my youth we've always had relatives and links there, so I've always been aware of surf culture, and felt I would have liked to have been involved but for whatever reason never got beyond body boarding. That ended this weekend when we trotted off to the gower with a group of 19 others for the Honey monster's birthday weekend of camping. On the Friday we had tents to put up, and people were arriving through the afternoon. I had planned to get a surf lesson with the group as something fun to do, but then when one of the group turned up with a pair of boards strapped to the roof I saw my chance. Craig is a keen surfer with 14 years experience, and more importantly the patience and air of a great teacher. I coerced him into taking me out and had my first session on the beach beyond hill end campsite on the Gower.

It was brilliant. I could do it! I was overjoyed - and it was so easy! I couldnt understand how it had passed me by - here was something I had always wanted to do that I actually seemed to be good at and able to do. Craig was kind enough to butter me up with platitudes, telling me that I was a natural and that my progress was far in advance of most on their first time. I think I was lucky - it was small (3ft) and clean, plus I had a very buoyant 8ft hire board - I just found it easy to get stand up and even started making basic, slow turns towards the end of the session. I was well excited. I just wanted to go surfing! but it wasnt all about me, it was her birthday party and I had other duties. So, back to camp, barbecue, camp fire in the dunes, bed drunk.

When Saturday arrived I was champing at the bit to get back out there - to see if yesterdays success had been a fluke, or beginners luck. My first choice of outfit for the day was easy - it was rubber and had zips involved. Then i went surfing. Bigger this morning, and my empty stomach (before breakfast) objected to the churn of my attempts to get out the back. The problem with the buoyant board was that I couldnt duck beneath the swells, so getting out there was epic. When I eventually managed it I had expended all my energy doing so and sat, broken astride my board bobbing around. It was quiet - some good sets started to roll in and with childish enthusiasm I got on it. I could still do it! i'd worked out by now when to get off as well. Caught a handful of good waves, then went in for breakfast happy but a bit sea sick. We ate, hung out a bit and then went back in the afternoon. This time with the group. It had gotten choppy since the morning and was really hard work.

Helen and Rob had hired boards and joined us in the surf, although because bigger and because choppy it was a bit epic and didnt go so well as the morning and yesterday. Plus, the fatigue from having tried so hard was evident - i wasnt snappy in my pop ups, felt like an old man and really heavy. Came in for more of a rest and got really cold. On the way back out for the final time I did a little wee in my suit - and it was amazing - i was toasty. But then got tumbled and my warmth was flushed away. Slightly disgusting but quite incredible. We got drunker that night, so I was hungover in the morning and didnt go out. A brilliant weekend though. Cant wait to get back! She and I have booked a week in July when we plan to go to devon/cornwall and I am shopping for wetsuits...

Friday, 4 June 2010


Stop romanticising the demise of the technics. who wants to hear the mechanics of beatmixing anyway. Move the skill away from basic motor control and you get to concentrate on defining the sound.

A few weeks ago I bought traktor and a 2 channel soundcard. On wednesday I put a mix together which you can listen to here :

I've only half listened to it, but so far I would comment I've massively overused the effects. Particularly the flanger. But when you've never had such things in the past, and its the first time you've mixed in years (and you're a bit pissed) then this is what happens. Anyway, there for you if you fancy a listen.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Human deformity studies

So firstly, congratulations to Dr Folog, who at long last has got a job. How the medical profession could let Britain's best bum doctor go unemployed from August could not go unchallenged for long. The Associated National Anus League recognised talent when it saw it and snapped him up as their new 'Deep Investigation' specialist. I know that Ned 'Wobble Buns' Freewilly is already booked in for 'special' treatment once James takes up his new role. I (and I'm sure you) wish him the very best of luck.

Secondly, and staying with the subject of human deformity - I was treated to an advanced lesson in climbing wall specific body dysmorphia last night at the Climbing Works. No, not Sam Whittaker and his coconut biceps (still rockin after 15 years), but that blossoming wall flower the 'Squiffster'. My goodness. Miraculously this walking lat muscle could spare the time to follow us along the comp wall, kindly demonstrating those moves we couldnt do. If my festival 'Squiffhanger' gets off the ground perhaps we can showcase his skills to an audience (armed with gatling guns), one lives in hope...

I went to the cave after we last spoke on Thursday. It was nearly completely pointless, as I was rubbish - but I did get to complete my wall of cave trophies and add the mighty Chris Davies to the list of notches on my cave heroes wall chart. What a nice man. I dont think I even managed a move on cave life. Everything hurt and I was incompetent. Not so Ed Hamer. After seemingly no warm up he pulls on the in hell start (this is the longer one right? get so confused), busts into cave life, scuttles across to left wall, but then does left wall high to finish - despite being super pumped and his elbows arcing out behind him like a giant blonde tarantula he makes it to the end - good effort! So what does that make? High in life? in high life or in life high? Cave life short is 7c - and that goes low, high is 7c as opposed to 7a+ for low, so cave life short high would be 8a at least? if its 7b+ from the arbitrary start to the rockattrocity jug, but then linked to cave life short is 8a that means 7b+ + 7c = 8a, so how hard are those first two moves? hard enough that if you do cave life from there you get 8a+ (i think), so what does this mean if you go high? 8b? Perhaps I should buy the guide and support the cave? does it even say? so many questions!