Wednesday, 24 August 2011

roof mong

I love the Cheedale Cornice! It's just brilliant. From descending into the leafy underworld to punching through the roof on massive jugs, it's just fab. Went back on Roof Warrior last night. I'd conceptualised what I had to do, and I had a notion that I could actually do it. What i mean is, I believed I could do it. 

First go bolt to bolt putting the clips in. Cover the ground, remember where the holds are - feels ok. My concept isn't too far from reality - sometimes when I talk myself into something, when I actually try it I realise my dreams were miles away from reality. 

Britain's best bum doctor asserts his place as Britain's biggest sequence mong and covers the distance in a thousand links. I have a redpoint. Get up to the roof, clip from a strange position, but carry on - these are big holds. The kneebars are good but never quite right. They're not quite rests, but they sort of could be, or so it feels. Because they're never quite right, you think there's value in messing with them, when actually it may have been prudent just to race through. On reflection, I think you have make the best of what you get and try and get something back. At least it doesn't hurt. I feel like I'm slipping out of the kneebar clips, but manage to do them, and then I'm on the headwall, hands on the crimp wondering how it could feel so piss in isolation but so scary now, pumped and having to boldly press on above the bolts. I wimp out, showting what will no doubt be my epitaph - 'take'. 

Meanwhile the big numbers are going down. The cornice scene is a strong one, with good energy and impressive feats all round. Neil Mawson makes short work of Bob's Techno Prisoners (although he says it took a number of sessions), Paul does Devonshire Arms, and Gus gets up Jug Jockey. We are lucky, living in sheffield, to have this place on our doorstep. 

In the middle section - secteur Fail, everyone's getting up there but not up there enough. My next go I get to the same place, matched on the crimp, and starting to rock up to the undercut. I wimp out again. Brian employs a wild sequence to not do Cry of Despair, and James forgets his own name. A foundry routes hero turns up in 80's shorts and runs up Roof Warrior, literally sprints through to the roof, has a breath and then busts out onto the headwall, looks good - surely he's gonna do it, but no, he stabs into the undercut but shoots off the edge of it and is airborne. Interesting, totally different sequence. Discussion follows about the relative merits of each, and we both decide to ignore the other (as both look close as we are). 

Brian leaps gazelle like between the holds on his 8b variant of COD. He tries hard but comes away empty handed, as do we all. I can't wait to get back on Roof log. It's brilliant. The secret is to breath, rest and calm down in the top knee bar. I felt like as the evening went on I got more efficient, and that if I manage to get back there soon then I think I should do it. Also, I need to do it early in a session. Or get fitter.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Cave Weakling / Roof Warrior

The traffic ground to a halt again. No accident, no roadworks or anything 'hard' to stop progress, just sheer weight of traffic and bad driving. As the BMW hurtled towards the bumper of the next small vehicle in its path I cowered lower in the passenger seat, embarrassed by the speed with which we advanced on our prey. Like a Panther swatting aside a spent carcass, we hurtled off again - 'You've been BMW turbo'd!' exclaimed the driver to the blurred angry faces gesticulating at the smoking tyres of the disappearing car. 

The weather was quite nice on the a55, but we could see clouds around the mountains. Inspite of them we quested onwards, and as we did things worsened from 'a bit grey' to 'lashing it down'. Went to the shop in 'beris, had a coffee with a cordial chap, and then continued to the orme. By which time it was also raining there, and a charming sea fog had drifted in to say hello. Joe and Vics were in the cave. Nice to see them, but rather a long way to catch up with two other Sheffield residents. They looked like they were doing ok, so perhaps it was allright, and certainly holds were dry but that wasnt the problem. The problem was grease, and humidity. Basically, we were shit. I didnt feel like i did more than two consecutive moves. Man, I even fell off Left wall traverse at the end. Which just goes to show that a summer of climbing with strings does not a man cave fit make. And, perhaps also that cave fitness does not cross over to anything other than the cave? I like boulderising though - its so easy. 

On the Sunday we went down the Cheedale Cornice. I felt exhausted. My arms felt strained. Nemesis seemed no so much unlikely as really stupid to get on. So I didnt. I went back on Cry of Despair to showboat, but forgot all the clips and had to hang around to get some more before the crux. Such a fun route though. Then Dylan and I went on the upside down madness which is the futuristic Roof Warrior. Wow. Another wild route with some great moves. Miles off doing it, but cant wait to try again.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Cry of Dobolog

It's felt a few degrees cooler recently, but thats a few degrees relative to what it was, and that still means warm. Dylan and I went back on Mecca last thursday. It felt smee. We didn't do too badly to say we haven't been on it for ages, and the idea was to keep the hand in rather than actually redpoint. I finally took the time to investigate the kneebars. Not great are they?

Then she and I bailed down to Cornwall, which was basically all about eating and drinking. There was also exercise in the form of surfing, but actually, i have had better conditions on the north east coast of late, so that wasn't brilliant. I suppose the interesting lesson from that trip was that the water is so much nicer in devon and cornwall! its blue for a start, although the beaches are busier. Much busier.

Tuesday was my birthday, 35. Jesus.

Yesterday was the first chance to climb. Although its going a bit cooler, its also rained more, and in the back of my mind is the concern that soon the cornice will be wet and with it, my chance to climb nemesis gone for another year (possibly more). So we (Dylan and I) headed down there with a loose plan of cry of despair and/or nemesis. Although actually, in my head I sort of knew it would be a bad idea to go on Nemesis - fat and weak after loads of trough, i'd only go backwards and get cross. And what better way to get back on it than going on this mega route which people kept going on about. I mean, positively raving about how good it is. Brian even said I could flash it! He must have been having those climbing dreams people were on about on the internet where amazing and fantastical things happen. He must never have actually seen me climbing! Either that or its 5b.

I knew I wasn't going to flash it. I must be one of the worlds worst flashers (!). Knowing this, and knowing that Dylan stood a good chance of beta flashing, I set off to clip it up and work out a sequence. Straight off the deck it felt like there was a tricky flick to a good hold, which on my last go of the day I finally realised you make much easier with a heel. Had we known all the little bits and nuances perhaps it would have been possible to flash it, but it doesnt matter.

I bolt to bolt the route, work out a sequence and come down to the ground. What a wild route this is! its got everything! two full hands off rests, an arse wedge and no rat crimps. Just what I needed on a first session back.

The route feels like it has three distinct sections. A vertical bottom wall to the undercut and kneebar rest, then a steeper section which contains the meat of the difficult climbing ending with an uncomfortable bit of respite in the open corner before finally a teeter up a vertical wall to the belay.

Dylan sets off on his flash go, getting to the undercut and putting the knee bar in. He doesnt look comfortable and slips off getting his feet over the overlap. I have another go, and I knew this wouldnt be a successful one, as I felt like I needed to know how the climbing felt like continuously. Bit kicking myself about this one really, as I got to the crimp past the sloper at the top but refused to slap to the pocket which signals the end of the hard climbing. Lowered off. He has another go, and it looks wild on the bottom wall, he doesnt look like he's going to do it, but he keeps going and makes it through to the corner at the top, managing to get his hands off and get it all back to romp to the finish. Nice effort.

The pressure's on, and I think I feel a bit pumped. Success is far from assured. But, its on this go where I find that heel at the start, and I skip a clip before the crux which means there are beans in reserve. Kicking myself from previous failure I dont allow any thoughts to enter my head and with a bit of panting and scraping I too am established in the uncomfortable groove at the top, wishing I could get it all back like he did. I get my breath to slow down and go for it. This next bit I have a great sequence on. Basically I wedge my arse in the crack and can almost sit astride it to rest. Again, I wait, and then finally a little wobble to the jug. Phew.

Great route though. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cornish pasties

Couple of pictures from mini Cornish surf trip. Pretty log in terms of wave riding, very big seas but onshore wind messing things up, some really good people seemed to be able to get more out of it than me, I would take off, start to turn in and then it would close out so I'd either pull out or ride the White all the way to the beach. Bobbins. Anyway, heres one from fifteen :

Which was on the Saturday night. Lovely food, great service - I loved it. Oh, and amazing setting. It had taken 6hrs to get there though, so if we look a bit tired that's why.

Porth joke (round corner from crantock) on Sunday morning. We got in at a messy crantock after this walk.

Crantock church. Cute.

View from bedruthan steps on the way to padstein for tea.

A pal checking out the most expensive joint in town. We went to the chippy!

Bedruthan steps yesterday morning. The legend is that bedruthan - a Cornish giant, built the steps to cross the bay (like stepping stone) but was turned back by another Cornish giant (diggory). I feel a bit like a Cornish giant this morning. Back to slimming world!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The ancestral lineage of John Cooke

Sunday the 31st
At best it was going to be the last chance saloon - a slightly desperate attempt to catch some waves before the normal summer flatness returned. The signs weren't perfect, but in my optimism to surf I managed to convince myself it'd be worthwhile. Sometimes my aspiration and desire affects my judgement, and this was one of those times. I drove for 4hrs to splash around for an hour and a half in a dying swell with the wrong tides and not really catch anything, other than a whiff of agricultural effluent.

However, no experience is entirely negative, and inspite of this ozone burning exercise in futility, I've learnt that there should be minimum conditions present before embarking. These, I think - are 4ft, 8seconds and light off shore winds. And the right tides for wherever you head.

Dylan and I went to the WCJ cornice on Tuesday the 2nd. Bumped into some Scottish heroes when we arrived and then realised we had no belay device! Well done. Thankfully some kind chaps had one to lend and the day wasn't lost. Ropegunned Brachiation dance for them by means of mild exchange and then got on the disillusioned Glue machine. This is a route I first looked at the day I did Yorkshire 8b. I got on it for something to do, and to avoid rumble. It was filthy and I spent an hour cleaning it, but made little difference as it was so minky. This year someone more capable has put the time in and its restored to a reasonable state (so whoever you are - nice one! bolt heads want tightening up mind). Dylan has a great session flash go, getting to the vulcan pocket from the deck but not doing the move. I keep getting there and running out of steam. Anyway, we have a nice time, noone does it and we leave as it goes dusky (now 9pm).

My throat felt a bit sore that night, and by wednesday day its razor blades and I'm uncommunicative and grumpy. Thursday and Friday are mired in snot and even on saturday I'm still flaccid. Sunday I get a short unexpected pass but noone to climb with, so I furtle off down Blackwell dale to go on Paint it black. Fully expecting to be rubbish I'm pleasantly suprised, and whilst the pressure in my sinuses makes prolonged sequences of hard moves a bit uncomfortable, I can still do a bit and manage to scrape my way up the problem (but not before a thousand skin depleting goes). Again, a fair scene of dreadlocked puy jugglers, the sound of digeridoo music fills the air and the smell of agricultural by products once again meets my nostrils. I meet a man who is not John Cooke, but could be his doppelganger, and i accuse him of such, but this is not the first time he has been so challenged, and he puts me right. Apparently he is half thai, where John Cooke is half philipino. So now you know.

Monday night, as you know - is board night. Ned was bored though, and it was a nice day. He wanted to go out, not to climb, but just to get out of the house... I saw my chance, and I leapt on its back and rutted its leg. Ned got to walk to the WCJ Cornice, and I got to get back on the Glue Machine. Although not one of the Peak's finest lines, the climbing is good and I knew I could finish it. A tick in the bag is worth two in the book. I think it feels about 7b/+ route up to and including the last clip. THen you have a tricky move into some ok holds before a lurch to the belay. My first go I'm not warmed up properly and on my second go I get it done. I strip the route and we walk back, getting home for 1930.

The honey monster was away, so I went down the wall to meet another monster. A pinching monster. One whose claimed to be injured for far too long, only to be exposed hustling his way around the comp wall after dark. Like a shark patroling the black depths he paces the mat beneath the comp wall, watching and waiting for a unsuspecting seal pup to flipper into range (leah?), then, like a black missile, jet propelled out of the shadows he hurtles towards his prey, the vice like grip clamps down and crushes the weak back into obscurity. Hurty Elbone my arse.