Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Proper North.

Downjackets in summer, a boulderers dream in torridon as i arrived at 8pm after 7 hours driving on the scenic route with Momma n Poppa V. Scotland has so much rock but very little non epic bouldering, also it seems to be mainly consisted of rock types which don't hugely lend themselves to bouldering, billions of years of weathering destroys hard problems. Torridon looked to be the exception to the rule and even if it wasn't Malcs arete and The mission looked nearly worth the journey alone, the bouldering is practically roadside and with the tepid breeze casting all around i was smiling all the way to the blocs. So malcs arete is the best 7a+ in England (Scotland being its biggest county) i reckon i'll get nutted for that but hey ho, its got a proper malc power move in it which no amount of technique can fag up. The mission is a different blend of whisky altogether and i have a nice video of me doing this in the sunset. Its subtle like West Side Story only way better rock and moves, it is however, still slightly eliminate. I used a brilliant non sharp sequence on the last move which involved some serious burl but its not always about doing things the easiest way.
It was one of those evenings when you remember why bouldering is pretty special sometimes. all the walkers are back off the fells safely tucked away, too late for trad climbing and too cold, silence all around the valley and a blood red setting sun from striking through a Radeon dominated, unpolluted Sky. Made all the more special because i had to fight a bit due to it being 3rd day on after massive 1 arm fingerboard sessions. So that combined with a warm up send of Frantic (torridon's hardest problem, which is a bit of a dirty coal lump in the diamond problems of torridon) meant i was onto projects and never has that phrase been more true. The ship boulder area is literally a needle in a haystack on haystack of escarpments with boulders below, all the rock is clean and superb.
So i took the next day off to rest and explore the newly found boulderfield of Ben Alligin, which after an hours walk looked tiny, then i walked nearer and it got bigger, what looked like the only decent size bloc was the size of a 3 storey house, so Billions of boulders isn't far off. Unfortunately in terms of blocs in my desired grade i have never experienced such a sense of being overwhelmingly underwhelmed i felt like i was trying to drink sea water, and despite 4 hours of trapsing round it i found nothing which made me want to return the next day or even get my shoes out my pack, the landings are death on bigger blocs and a chopper would be fucked if it tried to land, so they need alot of work and if your trying something at your limit then these things need to be preconsiderations. anything else all looked a bit carrock fell/ welsh so if your into blinkered lines or going sideways these few square miles would be heaven. Not my cup of tea though, infact its safe to say the only worthwhile contribution i made was in the form of a large turd (a good poo with a view mind). From a geomorphology perspective it looks to be a relict Rockglacier fed by massive rockslope transitional faults/ rock avalanches and is very impressive, reckon Ballantyne might have written a paper on it i'll see.
I ran back to meet family Varian and nearly broke my legs a few times down boulders and morraines (one advantage of having elephant legs), Another spectacular sunset means that flickr has some more colours in its Database. Oh and some chump got lost and a massive mountain rescue operation was launched, and i met some locals and had a bit of vodka ice tea, i was to regret not going to there party and getting trolleyed the next day mind.


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