Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Roof Warrior

Tuesday the 5th - Almscliff. She was having the girls for tea, and whilst I could have gone, I felt there was an opportunity to be taken. As the working day dragged on I excitedly checked out the window and as time drew near the sky suggested otherwise, but the streets were dry. Zoomed first to Horsforth to visit sister and new baby, then to the Cliff. I dont think I have ever had it to myself, but am pretty sure this was the case today. So I stripped to my argyle socks and completed a naked lap of the crag before flashing Cherry Falls.

Back in the real world, I warmed up at the Matterhorn boulder on that lovely 4+ arete thing. Only, smearing onto the arete my foot skids off, my entire weight bounces off my shin and I end up rolling around the grass clutching my leg. Its great to be this talented.

The first of two rooves. Matt's. Bit spicy on your own, as throwing for 'the' move involves potentially jettisoning oneself off the edge of a block, although after a few goes, it becomes apparent that you'd have to be really wild for this to actually happen. I work out a sequence and manage to do the moves. I sit back underneath and start redpointing. Not sure the term really applies to boulderising, but you know what I mean (I start having goes). An anatomy of my trying problems works like this :

1) work out the moves
2) hash together some sort of sequence (usually wrong)
3) identify (through execution) every possible method of getting it wrong
<fast forward 2 years>
4) get to the top

Matt's is no different, although its a microcosm of the above, with the whole gamut of feelings and stages taking place over an hour rather than two years. Feel delighted to have done it, and cobble together my rag tag possessions and shuffle off towards the other roof of my dreams - Jess's.

Even getting into the cleft is something of a struggle thanks to the epic wind, but when I squeeze into the darkness I am pleased to find no poo, just glass. I lash my pads to the boulders at the top, fashioning a sort of slide/platform, then set about working out how to do the top. I manage to climb through the difficult finishing moves a couple of times before establishing myself at the bottom for a proper go. But the problem now is session fitness. I get there every go, I get to the point where you have to try, and because I feel a bit pumped I dont dare. In fairness, this is at least partly due to a fairly rational fear of being found face down, twitching on a carpet of broken glass. Or being poo'ed on.

Sometimes its fine to operate in isolation. I actually like it on some things, but more often than not team psyche is an underated motivating factor. Felt a bit bored and lonely on Tuesday, but strange short sessions are difficult to arrange around and thats just how it is sometimes.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Saturday the 2nd - Ned wants to go to Anston. Ed wants to socially adapt Spike the nervous dog. I want to do a problem I failed on two years ago.

I'd convinced myself that it takes ages to get to. It doesnt, it took half what I expected, but - more on that subject later.

As we walk down the path into the woods, the scent of wild garlic wafts up our noses. Ed is suprised by the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings. When you suggest you're going to rotherham rock climbing, you instinctively imagine scratching around on some filth on the edge of a council estate, hooded youths beatboxing like in a copley brothers video and syringes and johnnies carpetting the floor. Not so Anston. The wild garlic is abundant and a glittering brook dances through the valley but for road noise you could be completely at peace. The crag is south facing, but at least partly shaded by vegetation, so when we get there, bits of it are boiling, and bits of it quite good. All rumble around warming up before Ned starts work on the meat of the day - Mike Adam's new climb 'into the fire'. Spike, Ed and I bimble down to Ebola. This is a problem I tried the only other time I had been to Anston, and thought i was gonna do. Had meant to get back for ages, but never made it. At first it seems totally implausible, so we have to distract Ned from his goals to tell us what to do. He remembers, I improvise, progress is made. Slow progress. He wonders back up the way to Mike's thing.

A moment passes, Ed and I fuss the dog, from a distance we notice Ned pulls on for another go. Something looks different, he doesnt stop, fumble or pause, and actually - he looks like he might be trying! he busts out leftwards and moves through a world of sloping vertical pinches, before locking up to a jug rail - its almost surreal, without a fuss he has done it - theres no yelps for joy, whoops of success or 'tag my fist' bullshit, its just in the bag like its 7b+. Ed shouts his congratulations, Ned puts his shirt on and bounds over, the suggestion of a smile cracking his rictus.

With all this positive energy in the air I change my beta for the crux move on Ebola and set off for another go. The refined sequence is the way, and I too rumble to the jugs of glory. Everyone happy, we move on to have a look at something else I wanted to try, and I ask Ned how hard what he has just done is. "Umm, might be 8b I suppose" he replies. "What does it get given" I enquire, and back comes the answer "8b+" flippin eck Nedward! good effort! As Ned is officially banned from grading and commenting on grades - 8b+! We discuss the merits of foraging and Ned feeds all but the dog wild Garlic, which actually is really nice.