Friday, 26 November 2010


Everything aches and we all feel like we creak as we hobble around on sore feet. We've all got either hurty skin or actual holes, and the prospect of going climbing again is somewhat abhorrent!

So, it must have been sunday when I last wrote. I'd just done the alphane moon and those two were looking hopeful. Monday everything was soaking everywhere so we went back to am as it was dry. We all did arabald (7b) to warm up and those two made progress. I didn't climb on the alphane moon again (for obvious reasons).

Tuesday was the first of the mint days. Drove back to chironico and went to centrale to warm up, then I tried serre moi forte. Which is the hardest problem in the world. Ben P did cliques a claques. Walked out to freak brothers - wet, then on to no mystery/schule des lebens. Gangle did no mystery. Thought I could do it but didn't.

Wednesday, brione. Frogger was wet, ganymede start driable but wet really. Pamplemousse looked implausible. Some international dudes turned up and did ganymede and pamplemousse - one of them was michel caminati - he climbs 8c. I hurt, and was lying in the sun, but they made it look so easy I had to have a go. I knew I could do it and waited for them to go before doing so. James looked possible, ben's elbones hurt and he stopped. Brione is lovely. Stopped somewhere on the way back down and then went to the pizza shop to celebrate.

Thursday, yesterday - felt good. Went back to finish serre moi forte. All do papa razzi (7a), bp does cliques a claques again, none of the rest of us can do it. Serre moi forte holds out, although I do manage to get out of the sitter into the stand, but am unable to link it. Two sections. Very hard. Went round to the alphane moon - those two make progress, and james has a great link towards the end of the session and it looks on, but he fades. Go back to freak bros which is now dry, but flippin desperate. Suspect not warm and feeling it as would be my thing another time. I'd be keen to go back on it.

Today, last chance saloon. I'd like to do no mystery. Cresciano.

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Jippy scuttler

It felt brutal getting up at 0350. I rolled out of bed and tried to shake it off. It wouldn't go, and I felt terrible. Nauseous, bleary,cold. Dressed, kissed the monster goodbye and headed out to join Ben in his van. Thick fog shrouded everything in gloom, and we both felt ill. The drive and journey was all fine. I would write more about it, but am tapping this in from my blackberry and there's more interesting things to talk about than travelling.

We arrive, check in and discover dai koyamada staying next door. Haven't actually seen him yet. Didn't climb saturday afternoon for two reasons - one: we all felt shocking, and two: it was filthy anyway. Made dylan's legendary chorizo stew, everyone very impressed (thanks dylog!) And collapsed in a heap.

Sunday dawned and the sleety death rain battered on the windows. Brilliant we collectively thought. Just brilliant. With no urgency we breakfasted and slithered in the snow up to chironico. Couldn't even get the hire car up the flippin road. Didn't think we'd be climbing so just had a walk up to find the alphane moon, which is a dave graham problem which stays dry. Amazingly, it was. I can't really articulate just how wet everything else was - fully and totally soaking, constant rain and snow - none of which was there the day before. So, we went and got the stuff. Since more people had now tried the road now had tracks, and we decided to move the car. Fiat doblo's are shit in the snow.

I'm really excited about this problem. It looked like it would really play to my strengths, I honestly thought I could do it. We started trying. As there were no other dry holds, so we had to monkey around on the start to get warmed up. Two or three easy moves on jugs lead to a series of long should presses between crimps. Dave, gangle and their dutch friend michael turn up. I'd researched this problem and commited the sequence to memory having watched the internet and doyles film over and over. Landing is a bit more spicy than you'd think having seen that though!

There's a heartbreaker of a move right near the end which I knew would be a problem. Its awkward, insecure and requiring you to sort of lurch in off a straight arm. I kept getting to it and failing as expected. But I knew I could do it, and thankfully managed to do so just before beginning the downward curve of performance trajectory.

James and ben make progress, but ben is injured and james starts to go backward. We go home, eat tea, drink beer and watch east bound and down on ben's laptop - which is brilliant by the way. When he told me about it I thought it sounded awful, but it was actually really good.

As predicted, the appetite for typing on this thing has worn thin. Its chucking it down again, and we're in bed drinking tea reading. I think its supposed to stop raining later today, then tomorrow and the rest of the week looks amazing. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Project management

Mismanagement. Thats been the problem with me and lowrider. I kept thinking i was going to do it so I never stepped back and looked at the bigger picture. Because i kept nearly doing it, so I never took the time to work out why these goes to the end never amounted to anything.

You should be reading this nursing sore and thin fingertips. I'm not. Got called out saturday morning and had to spend three hours on an incident call, so missed my slot. Raced up to Stanage far end for about 1500, and got involved. Shot my bolt, warmed up too quickly and kept getting to the end but being a bit pumped and being unable to hold on. I think it might also have been condensing a bit too. Oh well. Worked out that my left leg has been getting stuck beneath the prow on the very last move, and that i need to move my hips right.

Meanwhile Ed does Brass Monkeys, and James gets close. Junior Hammertime has done Mecca! i think this is three 'days', but one of them he had no beta and was only on it 15 minutes, so two real days i guess. Well good effort, and is that quicker than Elie Chevieux? I have it in my head he might have been three days or something. Whatever, great effort Junior Hamertime!

Sunday, she's in a right pickle, so I clean and bake and do housey stuff. Oh, and the wood burner is blazin squad all day. M.i.n.t. Theres a time and place for a lazy day, and I dont think it would have been great on the rocks, so that was it.

Ned and I hatch plans to do Zoo York. I'm well keen. We talk about what else I would like to have on my list, and so far obvs there's LowRider. Then I would like to do the help the young sit. Then Full power. I like to have aspirations, and I think those are fairly realistic, but if i have learnt one thing in all my years of trying, its that having goals which arent just acheivable, but doable in a session is worth a lot. But we cant think of any 7c's.

Actually, since writing that I think of Pogles wood? whats that like? perfect day? Ben's wall. The reclimbed walk on by.... Your thoughts?!

Monday, 8 November 2010


Commitment is getting out of a warm bed at 0600, struggling into a cold damp wetsuit and yomping accross dewy grass towards the beach in the twilight. Its slogging uphill through a bog with two pads on your back, the wind biting at your face when you should really be having a lie in, and all to get the best conditions. Commitment is not succeeding at either of these ventures, but still going back and doing it again the next week in the hope that things will work out different.

It feels like I have been getting to the end of Lowrider for years. Getting to the end of, but never doing. I've been up there at 0700 before work, I've stumbled back down on my own, in the dark after work and almost all the times I've tried i've thought i would do it on another go. So after Saturday's apparent progress I'm not getting duped - i've been here before. However, where before there's been doubt, and a feeling that I would just have to man up, i've reduced my power sapping easy to fluff sequence to a more moves, but more assured one.

It really looked good for Saturday. The problem was that by the time I had it figured (this new beta), I had blunted my edge. I had four or five 'redpoints' which finished with me matched on the top rail, staring at the jug. On two of them I lurched jugwards before failing, and on one of those I actually got a hand to it but still fell off! The hopeful optimistic in me says - this was because you fannied around working it out for too long. And the Bennett says that we've been here before, and that it doesnt mean anything.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

I keep farting this morning.

"Electric Log splitters?" I spluttered to Foundry Aiden... I couldnt believe my ears. Why would any chap wantonly eschew the paraphernalia associated with log preparation? And a chap with a canadian other half too. Thankfully, she had the decency to look horrified and start inching away from him, as logging is part of their genetic makeup. I launched into a tirade about the various hardware items I now need to own - I bet Jim has a wood grenade, must ask him.

I have my celebrity belayer back. Now with added 8b tick, and not just one but two. The little runt. I remember the days when I used to burn him off, and now the ginger ninja seems to have forgotten his place in this pecking order. Rest assured I dazzled him with my skillz at the Foundry, and I think he went home suitably impressed. "Ned" I said, "its not about how many heel hooks you can pull, or even the crimps you can bone, what really matters is the moves you throw down on the wave" - food for thought I'm sure you agree.

This is funny. Whilst having my breakfast this morning I stumbed across this post on UKB - it points to some wierd blog someone has set up, but read through the list as its quite funny - particularly when you get to the uncool list....

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

White edge

More stories have been proved accurate. Years ago Neil Bentley said
that the groove hurt your leg, and i thought he meant cos of some
jagged edge that dug into your flesh, or maybe that the deep egyptian
hurt your joints or something, but thats not what he meant at all. The
first 'arse bar' is fine, you sort of flick one buttock into the
groove, wedge it there and stuff two fingers into an undercut pocket.
This gives enough respite to be able to torque the left knee down into
a mega egyptian. From here I've been trying to basically hop up the
groove, which has proved to be fully desperate. I spoke to Char about
this, and thats not what he did. He told me to watch the
Littlefair/Heap video on Vimeo (sorry for no link, am at work and cant
check it), and what Rich does, is takes the egyptian out, essentially
matches feet, then steps right up, left back out and then does the
egyptian again. So that is what I think I need to start doing when I
next go.

I learnt another important lesson on Saturday, and that was that you
need to take the right shoes if you are to succeed. One of the whites
had fallen out of my bag in the house somewhere, so I had to make do
with velcros. Now, these are a great shoe, but softer and even with an
edge they flop around on those edges in the groove like clown shoes.

Had a nice morning though. Felt good, tor was in good nic just the
wrong shoes this time. Maybe one day all the planets will align and a
crow with the head of an elephant will swoop upon the tor and success
will be mine. Just another seven years to go...

The rest of the weekend was spent living like a lord. Its a wonder I
dont have gout now (not to sure of the symptoms, so may actually have
it anyway). Friday night chippy, Saturday night Cricket Inn, Sunday
breakfast in sainsburys cafe and then massive roast lamb dinner at
home. So hungover on Sunday morning. Touch and go for a while there.
We walked to get the car back, and for at least half of it I really
didnt want to be there. Then like a switch had been flicked, I started
feeling human again - totally out of nowhere. Really strange, but
fine, if thats how it is, thats not a problem.

A couple of weeks ago, those nice people at Vodafone sent me a
BlackBerry torch, which is the latest and greatest from the BlackBerry
people. Its got a touch screen, but also a physical slide out
keyboard, so on paper at least it should be the ideal device for me.
Perhaps because I am used to my old BB I am struggling a bit to get
into it - it annoys me that I have to do something to get to the
keyboard, and the recessed nature of the keyboard makes it take a bit
of getting used to. Basically I cant type as fast as normal and its
annoying. On the other hand, browsing experience is really good, and
its nice to have a bigger screen. So i'm wavering again this morning.
Had i not landed on it at the climbing works and broken the battery
door, I think I would try it again.