Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ideas of march

So since our little county visit i've been getting oot and aboot in this gloriously stable weather. We don't often get such prolonged periods of being able to straighten out our necks and look up into the sky without being spat on by a thousand droplets or by the wind knocking us over. England is ace when the weather is like this, it starts to feel like a normal climbing destination where you can just head out and try what you want when you want without a worry or second thought as to whether it's dry or not. Ned hasn't been so lucky, since the CWIF is in 2 days time and we're hoping to sport the best all UK team he has switched over on the training polarity scale, so now it is easier to mention when Ned is not training. I thought removing all his bed slats except for the two behind his head and his ankles was a step too far, but he assured me that training core in his sleep was the next logical step, the sand filled duvet was my idea after he slept through the night with pleasant dreams. This quick adaption was a good sign we thought. It looks to be a fun comp anyway, and you can watch the semis and finals live from the works homepage, so get screaming at your pc if you can't make it.
Really i think all foreign competitors should be made to climb hard on the grit the day before to equal out foreign skin advantage. as resin is far too easy to crush without massive giblets of skin missing from your tips.

So what else... i've being weighing up whether its worth the time and effort trying to ground up solo hard grit routes, as i appear to have found my mind crumble limit for hard moves (currently at about 8.5m) (the hard refers to tech grade there i.e. 7a and up with ok gear, rather than a font 6c with an iffy landing) as the extra effort required is ridiculous and basically i'd rather just go normal bouldering. Superstition (i didn't do it if your just on a success scan) started this all off... or actually snow balling did. First off i snowballed a bunch of things which i didn't fall off. So i thought i'd step things up and try to use the drifts to my actual advantage. i started to punt about on superstition at the end of one day ( a Gibson route being the obvious choice as you're guaranteed to get slapped about). Ground up beta finding is hard work, especially on a route as you only get half a second to make up your mind and try something. Its even harder when the climbing is at least font 7c (i think at least 7c+ to ground up) and when the only other top ropee beta involves things which'd be suicidal foam up (ground up with foam), like dynos or hurrendous undercling moves which offer the chance of landing on various angular objects from a height with any possible body part. So slow static progress it is then. By my second session i was tickling the last move. But the ridiculous sharpness of the line meant i only got about 6 goes before splitting a tip. So 5 days of healing and snow melt left me on my own with just a few pads and getting to here

Now that is a pretty distorted wide angle lens so i look a lot nearer to the pads than i actually am, anyone who has seen it in the flesh can picture it anyway (basically at the top of the promise) i sat up there facing the last 6aish move of rocking onto my left foot and locking to the top (no jumps here) for about 30+ seconds. guaranteed to be hitting the ground either way whether i committed or not. The coward in me won and i whistled down onto the pads. The fall is actually fine, as long as you take it properly. and here in lies the hard part, the higher you get the more in control you need to climb and land. and even though this is when the johnny big bolloxes of the world go for stuff they don't tend to be doing it on routes like this. So is it worth even bothering, are standards being pushed here or am i just kidding myself? I think i could train up to get better at pushing through the ~7m barrier but it is a risky game. It feels like i've completely missed the ground up with gear stage of the game. But why bother with it when hitting the ground from the last hard moves is fine (i got even further a session later and rocked onto my left leg before the crumble hit). it also removes the massive grey area of gear and rests when ground upping as retrieving the gear never really happens after attempts and many people are content with a quick play after they fall off. So in this sense it is very pure. But still why don't i just ab it get it dialed and send it first HP? and then do another 2 similar routes the same day. Lordy knows thats what i really want to do. the two weigh each other up in my mind but ground up always wins for routes like this (i'll be the first to admit that i've worked hard boulders off a rope, and cleaned many a problem) but as far as repeating routes goes. landing permitting. I'll always choose this style. for the same reason why i solo easier routes if possible and why i love bouldering and DWS. Natural unencumbered movement on rock is unbeatable whether it is above sea or foam or a sea of foam. It's just that the foam part hurts a little right now, nevertheless things like this are to be savoured and not consumed in a slurry of numbers and ticks. That said i don't think i've got loads of attempts at routes in this style in me, nor do my ankles. Which keeps things like this special. Its pissed me off alot this route as it's exposed even more weaknesses which i didn't know i had. And it is so sharp it is barely fun.

One bonus is that normal highballs are starting to feel smaller. The major draw back is lugging all the pads out to the crag. And that repeat visits are worse for the environment.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

whilst the sun shines

Last week was forecast to be amazing up in the proper north. Luckily we had a few jobs to do up there so a plan was hatched to head up the road to the county for a few days. On sunday i pulled Ravensceugh out of my venue choice. A bit risky early in the year but the lack of wind made it look like an ok choice, plus we both had things to get on up there. after walking through about 1km of snow drift we arrived to a dry crag, aside from the odd top out and drainage streak). Even if one of us had ice blocks for feet (Ned finally found the limits of the Vans slip on as an all terrain shoe)

I love Ravensceugh, it has brilliant rock, one of the best views in the county and it still has alot of potential for boulders. Alot of it was looking like it hadn't seen any chalky digits for a good 5-6 months mind. But most of the countys quiter venues fall into this state. We spent a while warming up and pissing about on the sunny warm up walls. Then it was over to the Magician, I cleaned it as best i could from the plumber but the top rooflet was very Damp on top, turning the VS topout into a risky proposition at that height (10m)

Ned did the plumber and proceeded to attempt the top out for 15minutes of scrittle, small movement, crap pants, back off, recompose and go for it. eventually he ended up with 3 limbs and a chest over the top bulge on damp slidy holds unable to move up or down. After a bit of a hand to get over the top we decided that was enough to deter another top out attempt in the day. I demoed the magician and Ned promptly flashed the hard part and got greedy on the last tricky move, throwing hands and caution into the wind and onto a slopey edg. Unfortunately the previous nights chocolate pulled him backwards and it wasn't quite to be, 5 minutes later he was on the upper section but traversed off rightwards to avoid the slightly macabre sandstone scrittle travellator, even traversing off involved a bit of sketchy footwork on dirty rock. One for later in the year we decided. After that i opened a long overdue account on something i'd seen a while ago, but the sun seemed adamant on setting just as things were coming together. So it was back home to food, more food, and stretching

Another morning and another perfect day. Queens was Neds shout this time, although i still have many projects there. Ned'd had one fleeting visit a year ago and came away relatively empty handed. This time round things we're rather different. we warmed up around the rabbit stone and after a fair bit of brushing (again) things were looking up. After taking ages to do and clean the 7b warm up left of arc royal (which arc royearl links into) we decided after all that effort it was worth having a punt at arc royearl, Ned quickly got through the start using the better beta and was just popping off coming into the finish of the warmup he'd just done. 15minutes later and after a bit more brushing he'd whipped up it. The climbing on this is really fun and ground uppable, but it isn't arc royal, in the same way that doing the bottom of careless and finishing up not to be taken away isn't careless torque, its probably the easiest of the 8's at queens now too. Which we can safely say as Ned went on to dispatch Queen Kong and Red Dragon on the same day. which was a good laugh, there was even enough light to finish cleaning a project i'd started cleaning last year and to send that packing. (more on this later). Then it was back home to the fingerboard/ make that garage full of fingerboards, some people would be made up with 3 8a's (or there abouts) in a day, but for Ned it's starting to happen in the more oftens than the nots, and if you just see things as great blocs, and you still feel fresh when you get home then there aint no reason not to try and get a bit better at this climbing malarkey.

queens 2010 from on Vimeo.