Monday, January 25, 2010

font part 1

We have been out in font for a week and have had a total of about 5 hours on dry rock! First day looked promising, blue skies and sunshine were just what we wanted. It was straight off to the big 5, where better to start? Most of rampart was wet so with a hasty warm up we jumped on tristesse. After a few goes getting the feel for the big move, it was in the bag (Tom crushing it straight after). Next was big golden. After pulling on and getting lost somewhere near the first gaston a kind French man suggested a sequence that was much more promising. In a couple more goes this one was in the bag too.

Finally it was on to atresie. I knew there was a crucial kneebar, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I spent half an hour playing about with it but I couldn’t make it work. I was getting pretty sacked and was about to walk away, until lee suggested “stop messing about and put your knee in”. Oh right, that’s what you do. One more go! This time the knee worked so much better and I found myself at the last move, only to find that it was the crux move. In a few more goes I had it sussed and lurched through to the finishing jugs! 4/5 in the bag (I did fourmis rouge last year). This was a good start to the trip. Then the rain came. It rained a lot.

The only other climbing we have done since then has been short sessions at cuvier and rampart seeking out any dry rock we can. I have managed a few more problems, including big boss (which was finally dry), finishing off the big 5, a goal of mine for years! I will aim to put a full ticklist up at the end of the trip, until then I will leave you guessing what else I have been up to!

Weather is looking to improve in the next few days. I hope it does. We are going crazy. Lee has just lost an arm wrestle with himself. I think we need the rocks to dry.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

snowed under

Well January has been pretty non existent in terms of hard grit sendage, except for some froggatt action. It seems that most people are house/ wall bound in all this snow, a good time to get a fingerboard indeed ;)

We've been training hard in sheffers for sure, Ned is off to font on Saturday and will be scribing the odd holiday yarn on here over the next 6 weeks. He's on good form so some good ticks should go down. They're armed with many a font DVD and hopefully the weather will lend itself to bouldering rather than sledging or canoeing.
Meanwhile over here i've been (and will continue to be) fingerboarding and on the board at the works, which now has an only topo in the form of a wiki. Which is helping me to gradually get back to some good form.

A little part of me cant help but think that with a little organisation, and brushing some snow drift hard grit could go down in brilliant fashion, with pads being the hard part of landings. that said most sane people are getting up early and heading out with axes at the minute, not brooms.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Red christmas

No i haven’t been reading too much Karl Marx, it just sums up the only place not plastered in snow this christmas period; St Bees. I love this venue anyway so being forced to visit it 4 times in 1 week is no bad thing. My sessions on Clash sitter have been sporadic at best over the past year or so, with 1 session every 6 months not being enough to remember/ figure out beta before getting too tired to link. I finally managed to wrap up Clash of the Titans sitter (or as i nick named it Clench of the TightArse) on new years eve after 2 previous sessions of dropping the last moves over 8 times thanks to slippy holds and weak arms ( On the last day of 2009 the air could have been diced up and used as prisms for this, and the rock had been fluffed into a grippy torpor by the dry air. With its defences lowered i snuck in without all the podge and circus-farce of the previous session. Which was nice. Due to the fact i haven’t had working fingers for too long the grade is a bit more of a guess than usual (I.E. it could well be 8A), it certainly seems hard though, and the crux right hand “bearpaw” has got to be one of the coolest holds in the UK as far as uniqueness goes.


One thing which is of interest is that this and all the problems at St Bees will likely be underwater by 2100! So get those repeats in quick. That is only 3 generations of boulderers time, which considering climbing has taken place in the lakes since the end of the 1800s, isn’t actually that long. Either way i really like this boulder and it has something indulgent about it, you can try it for a full session (if it takes you that long) and only get tired on it. it comes into the sun late which helps with friction but keeps it temperamental with sea spray and glooge (weird st bees green/black slippiness). Basically it has character beyond its grade, whilst still being about pulling hard.

Getting it done quick in the session left me time to explore projects i’d looked at in the summer (most of which had winter runoff down them) I tried the best dry one for an hour or so, along with cleaning it, but after coring my rope (it is too high to break bones on what has already been an injury riddled year) i sacked it and went exploring up to the old buoys circuit, it was getting dark by now so i settled on trying Peckitt’s nice new addition to the crag, and whilst the landing is a bit of a bear pit, the moves are really nice and flowing. Things got too dark after that so i set off straight back up the hill (big mistake) if you go here remember where the path is, 30mins later and a number of close calls/lost legs down with boulder voids (not funny after the 3rd time) and a few deteriorating shrubs i found the path just in time to reach the clifftop. Still i got to see the lighthouse working, which i’d never seen before.

The day after (1st Jan 2010) i went to St Bees south to check out the new/old problems there as i’d never been. and whilst conditions took a turn for a worse (snow at sea! madness!) This meant that that most of the day was turned into a coastal walk to check out a wet Iron Hide. Which looks really good in person with great moves/rock. I eventually returned to a project which i’d slung a towel over when it started snowing. It is basically a harder version of the Pinch at Sheep Pen (in that it sports a lush pinch for the right hand and is pretty short). This felt ok at 7B+ish after i took my blinkers off and got some heel japery on the go, that said keeping feet low on bad feet and just belting for the top board stylee is a great move, but someone else was only going to climb it with technique and point out that it is in fact facile. The length and breadth of St Bees in 2 days/ 2 years.

Happy new year everyone, and get to st bees in 2010!