Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Nice day for a White wedding

Morning. No rock climbs this weekend. My aunty's wedding at loseley Park near Guildford. nice. Good day for it, and totally free bar.

Here is a pair of pals loitering outside the building:

Which turned out to be the ancestral home of the foley bum doctor dynasty. We know this because this picture of james was on the wall :

Too hot for rocks anyway, so it was a good weekend to be elsewhere. Congrats also to @Jim_p_t who got hitched this weekend also.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Groove is in the heart

The top of the groove felt greasy but I pushed on. In a position of extremis I could see myself turning puce. My breath came in shorter and shorter gasps... 'Just... make.. this move...', unable to think beyond the present I shake and pant and wedge my arse into the corner. It feels rubbish, and I'm slipping off. With the thought of having to fight so hard again, I stab two fingers upwards into the pocket and just as I think I cant keep going any more, its there, I can breathe for a second. The pocket allows me to get my arse deeper into the groove, and the weight back on my feet. I wonder if I have enough left to continue? As I shift about trying to get comfortable I look at my hands, glowing red and sore from the fight to get here, but I know I must. I look at the clip behind my knee. To clip it is to waste valuable beans, I must not falter. It's just climbing, don't think about it, just go for it. Empty your head and EXECUTE! I step up the groove and drop knee. My knee pushes into the corner. I lever myself leftwards to the crimp jug and man! has someone filed it down or something? its not a jug anymore - whoa! this is well different from doing it in isolation! The shouts from below come back into my concious and I hear them, I cant let them down! Continue! I suck in a deep breath, spin on my left foot and bounce my right up the groove. With a final lurch I snatch the penultimate hold, gasping as my fingers connect with a positive edge. It feels good, this move's trivial but better climbers have dropped it from here... Shaking, I slide myself onto the polished footledge and reach tentatively into the flake. A breath... I'm not airborne... Dont fuck it up now! grasping the rope I pull it up and reach towards the chains... But as I do so PING! my foot blows off the polished foothold, and I plummet towards the ground, still clutching the rope, a puzzled look of 'What?' on my face.

This is my dream, my fear - what I anticipate happening. This is why I will probably clip that last draw even though it feels wierd and its in the way behind your leg. Why I will investigate the knee bar. And this isnt what happened last night. Leading up towards a time when I will have a session on it I start to dream about what it will feel like to do it. And I can actually concieve of doing it as well. But perhaps now is the time to move on and save it for when its cooler. In my head I had visions of firing it on my first go, then going to the pub and buying everyone dinner, but it doesnt happen like that.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Booty Shaker

Sometimes, when people tell you things you dont want to hear, its easier for you to convince yourself that they are wrong rather than accept that perhaps, the reason so many of them say the same thing is because its actually true. I didn't want to go to the top, cos I thought it would be scary. Yet somewhere, a voice inside said - do it, it won't be that bad - and it wasn't.

I will always start the session with a go from the ground, as I think it can't hurt, and it keeps one's hand in. Made it to the groove with one hand, but tried to clip from a wierd place and ended up grabbing the draw. Had a chill, did groove - top, including the clip - which is ok. The thing is - getting to the top of the groove is hard, and exiting it is hard also. But, when I flick my Beyonce like booty into the corner at the top of the groove, although it feels unlikely at first, once wedged I can get a bit back. So whilst it feels a struggle to get established, if I can get there, and get my ass in position - I could be in with a chance.

The thing people said was to work the top. They all said to get that bit wired, and not to keep trying from the ground. And now, at last, I am willing to accept they might be right. I think in part its getting used to falling off a bit more. I always knew success on this route would depend on my ability to be able to fall off it. So, the next thing to do is pocket top. And I felt like i nearly did that as well. All good - back Thursday.

After that I took Britain's Best Bum Doctor down Cheedale for him to do Lockless Monster, which of course - he did. With the comment that he had done harder 7a's in France. Perhaps it is 8a if you are soloing and have to climb a loose vertical grass slope at the top in order to get down.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

self replicating media node

Blah blah blah, some links on Mecca, blah, drone, fear of falling blah. Boring isnt it? well, yeah - it is, but thankfully that's not all I have to say. Almost all, but not quite. In the intervening days and hours it has gotten hotter, stiller and less suitable for boning cheesy grips which attract the full glare of the sun, so whilst I have been back on Mecca, I have ploughed new furrows and actually writing with tales (partially) of success.

Those of you who are fortunate enough to know me will know I am shameless in my persuit of media domination, and so when I got to climb with Nick "berlusconi" Brown, the chance of cro-barring my way into the Outcrop films forthcoming production was too pungent an opportunity to ignore. Nick was standoffish, even cool at first, but slowly, slyly, I weaseled my way into the gusset of his affections, and began planting seed(s). It was Ned's fault. He went off to pull on plastic grifters, so I had to widen the net in my quest for sport climbing satisfaction. We went to the Tor, it was boiling. We looked at Sean's - wet. The dale beckoned its gnarled finger...

When Ned, Ed and I went and investigated the nook last year, I was offended by how crap it looked, so I had low expectations. We went round to the Cornice to attempt to find someone with beta, and we found Ethan. We wandered across and put in the clips from the tree. We wasted as much time as we could but there was no sign of the beanie hatted beta machine, so I sacrificed Nick's chances of the flash and sent him up to work it out. He did well, and actually made me thing it was doable, but he didn't do. I squandered more time, still no Ethan, so up I go - "Come On!" I thought, "Dylan's flashed this! it must be piss!" but my attempt ends where Nick's did, hanging off a jug in space with no means of climbing beyond it. I refine the sequence and as I lower off, a beanie bobs into view. We heed some of his advice, dispense with other bits of it and Nick goes again. He flumps off and after a quick confirmation of my master sequence, lowers off. I go again, and its well easy. I get to the top amazed that anyone could think it 8a. Lower off. Nick does it. We go home, my hayfever goes nuts.

Encouraged by the new, easier approach from Millers Dale and the tunnels, I find myself back there a couple of days later, only this time its all about the Cornice, and the route Nemesis. There are punters (Dylan) on the warm ups, and thus I am off the hook (of having to teeter up a dusty vertical wall towards a loose and damp belay). We get stuck in and a couple of times Nick and I climb through the crux and get stuck crossing the bulge which leads to the easier climbing (which is still pumpy). This is good, and a pleasant suprise. Time ticks past and I find myself back there, this time with buck toothed crimp fiend and now camera afficionado Paul Bennett. He pitched it as being him wanting to take some pics, so I wasn't prepared for the media circus which ensued. Paul had brought Stu Littlefair, and both chaps had more stuff than those who were climbing, only their bags were full of camera gear. But, they took some nice pics, and it was worth it because I have never had nice pictures of me climbing, so it was good to have some for once.

Ben Morton on Nemesis, Cheedale

Dylan on Nemesis, 8a+, Cheedale Cornice

Nick on Nemesis, 8a+, Cheedale Cornice

Finally (because I have to get some work done), I recieved my copy of the new guide again yesterday - and what a fine thing it is. As you would expect, its beautifully presented and crammed full of exciting new areas and contentious grades (brad pit - 7c!). And, after a year of campaigning - a picture of me! Already, talk at the crag is of who is this handsome new bastard, casually ticking the Peak's best problems and maintaining suave sophistication throughout. Ok, its not. People were talking about seeking out these new areas and going bouldering again - a dirty word until october at least.