Sunday, December 27, 2009

wrapping up 09

We thought we'd do a little reflection on our most memorable 10 days out on the blocs from 2009 (in no real order). Five from me and five from Ned.

So for me they have to be:
Font day 1: I'd just finished my January exams and prior to my last one, had my strongest ever board session. Things were looking good. We drove through the night and snuck into Maisonbleau at 3 in the morning. We got woken at 9 in the morning by a phone call from a very sleepy Bullit and Ned, who had forgotten that roundabouts involve turning wheels, luckily they picked the 2nd last one (next to Cuvier) to crash into (after driving all the way from Sheffield) so i picked them up from Fontainebleau town and we made for Elephant. 5 of us and 3 pads in the faithful Corsa. Everyone was completely wrecked and Ned was scraping his eyes off the floor; sleep Vs psyche like some superhero power battle (he still did Envie d'ailes mind). Rob had curled up in a ball and was sleeping by this point. However i felt just about ok after a whopping 5hours sleep. I could also feel some sort of illness coming on. I thought i'd have a pop at Partenaire Particulier (i'm sure it'd get more ascents if people could actually spell it) as it has always been on my font list, i quickly found myself dropping the top press up to the gaston and felt really fuzzy after each go, i had a lie down for 10mins on the pads whilst the others went for a walk. then i woke Rob up and got hopped onto the start hold, i just managed to press it out and whip up the problem. The next day i had a really bad head/throat and the day after that Strep throat had reared its ugly head, which screwed the rest of the trip up big numbers wise, but good times were still had (it's Font after all). A nice tick in a nice place with excellent company.

Easter: i'd been training through the winter with Queens in mind. It is a horribly bitter place in winter, but as the warmer air temps come in spring and that fresh breeze, there is no place i'd rather be. I was starting to feel a bit rattly from all the training so had quite a few rest days, and after a session on the top dyno i felt confident enough that i would have a chance of sticking it from the bottom. I waited a day and headed out with Springer, we arrived to perfect conditions and after a few failed goes i finally sent Arc Royal which has inspired me since i first went to Queens. Springer had to shoot off for something but i stayed and worked the sitter, i was firing through my sequence fast and quickly linked to the last move which gets you into the stand up. Feeling tired i had a bit of a rest and linked it up again, this time i headed right at the stand up holds and finished up hat full of hollows via my warm up link. Easy i thought, and all my training had paid off. I burnt out a bit after that session and never quite felt as god on the big link as i felt on the sit that day. It sort of felt like one last blast of strength from my wrecked frame, to say "you've got today and after this i'm giving up" and indeed i've had two ring finger injuries for the rest of the year (see previous blog) which made that day an extra lucky one in retrospect.

Torridon at Easter was great too, realizing that the UK has great potential to be more than multiples of minor venues. walking straight out your accommodation into a boulder field is a luxury not often afforded anywhere never mind in Scotland! On my 2nd last day Richie showed me a project in a cave, which, on my last day, became Robert the Brute . However the stand is simply a pleasant 7b+ ending to the main meat. a perfectly set sit start. I spent and hour and a half trying to pull on, then pulling on and just moving before exploding off! Great! this is how projects should be, moves which are so hard you have to wait months to be able to do them. As well as being totally blank except for the holds, so it is the right sequence or no sequence. This was an inspiring project and it has fueled the back burning stove of my training mind for most of the year, along with others in England.

Flubber Frankenjura: This was a problem i really wanted to do before heading out, but due to having snapped my A1 on my left ring finger, all bets were off so i had no expectations. Within 5 minutes of trying the problem i knew there was no chance of me climbing it via the normal sequence due to the amount of pressure put on the LH during the crux, i could barely hold the position without my finger turning to watery jelly. So plan B was concocted, i wanted to do this problem badly, so it was time to suck it up and find something that works, i engaged "board mode" and 1 arm started with my hands opposite, pulling on felt hurrendous as did moving, but there was hope, if it was on the board it'd barely be 5a, and i had time. I was going to do this, next session i felt like crap so i left it before i got stuck in. Then next time back the micro beta clicked, foot angles were tapped, finger positions were checked. And i sent it packing from a sitter, with backwards beta and a ridiculous amount of footlocks for a problem that previously had none. Unique times and proof to myself that climbing is what you make it, only being limited by strength and creativity in a sport is a good way to be.

St Bees was a right laugh in the summer too, I picked Ned up from Grasmere so bombed through all the lakes great driving roads, then we (read Ned as i did bugger all hard climbing) set about annihilating gaps, Ned crushed Beefish quick smart (which he'd like to rename aqua-choc) and this is definitely IMO, at present, the hardest problem at St Bees, prolapse inducingly powerful. meanwhile i abbed a BIG line and cleaned it up which'll be great when it gets done, then we mucked about on Power of Raa and what became Captain Pugwash. Good times in nice summer temps and the crag to ourselves (as ever really). In fact, come to think of it, i've never had a bad day at St Bees, even when i crawled down that descent in a force 7 gale. That day I saw a seagull die by getting slammed into a boulder it was so windy, and the odd feather shot by in the breeze as a reminder throughout the session, yet i still had fun and got something done (or some moves anyway) although me and boulders are like babies and rattles. enthusiasts may wish to skip the above and simply read:
Partenaire Particulier 8A, 20 mins
Arc Royal 8A (soft) 3 years FA
Robert the brute 7B+ (soft) FA
Flubber 8A (whack beta, hard 4 me :P )


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