Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ups, Downs and Silver-Linings.

So I am now back in Bangor, in a new house, with 2 different housemates, and apparently 300 hours of work to do for just one module...

I have been out climbing a bit though... Before Florence upped and left us for the bright lights of Chamonix, we avoided the hurricane-force winds and did a bit of  evening slate climbing; I led Plastic Soldier, a brilliant, long 6a with plastic soldiers hidden a long the way...

The next day we did A Dream of White Horses, HVS 5a... Brilliant, although being distracted when tying in, and then finding you aren't properly tied in on the rope all your gear is clipped to, isn't the best start to a route. However, the 4th pitch is absolutely sensational, big hand and foot holds, good gear and super position!

After Florence left the weather got bad for a bit and a bit of drinking was done, but it eventually dried out and I went back to Gogarth with Owain. The original plan of Aardvark into Achilles was binned for a go at The Big Groove, E3 5c. A coin toss for the crux and I win! We scramble across the base of the crag just above a wild sea, into a nice little belay position above the wild sea... Owain set's off and the sea immediately seems to start rising, and becomes more rough! Luckily I have a bit of a barrier, until a massive wave comes crashing in soaking the whole of my right leg!!! Trying to dry my right boot before the crux, I hang both boots to the belay and stand back, willing Owain to the belay... Eventually I am up with him and off onto the next pitch. Tricky moves onto a ledge above the belay see me trying to reach a big slopey hold, the only way I can reach I can't do anything with it as I'm in totally the wrong position and just above a ledge... I hand over to Owain feeling stupid. Owain gets to the belay, and I am called back to the world of the vertical and away from mesmerisation by the waves crashing into the bottom of Main Cliff. I just about do the crux moves I struggled with before, and blast up the next groove throwing a few jams in to rest on. Next up a lovely sustained 5b groove pitch, I try and climb as quickly as possible, revelling in the position... Once Owain tops out he scrambles up to the top and we coil the ropes and race up and along the top of the crag whilst being battered by the wind... Arriving back at the car as the sun sets, we headed back to bangor.

The next day, me and Mason headed to the little Orme, and more specifically, The Diamond. This is one of the best sport crags in the UK, apparently rivalling Kilnsey, Malham, Raven Tor and LPT. Me and Mase had headed down this time last year but climbed diddly squat due to rain and greasiness on the overhanging rock. This time the weather looked fair and we were surprised to find we were the first ones down there!

First off Mason onsighted Rub a Dub-Dub F7a, but took surprisingly long to work out the crux sequence! On his way down he beta-d me up for the flash, and chalked the moist holds for me. I headed up in flash mode, managing to remember the sequence quite well, which is an achievement for me! I felt a bit 'fish out of water. however, I got into it and was soon at the crux, remembering Mason's 'crossover on the slopey crimp rail' I went for it but was too pumped to get into it! I pulled back up and had a few goes but it wasn't working for me and I was fed up of flailing in front of all the Wads who had turned up so I lowered off. Up went Emma Twyford who sorted some new beta for the crux, it was also pathed by DMM reps Alex and Rob, and some other dude. However there were wads all over the shop, Caff, Gus Hudgins, Callum Muskett Jim McCormack, Pete Harrison and Tommy Channings, who was a total legend and was super sound to me, introducing himself and not making me feel like a total punter which was nice. Mase was being indecisive so he did RADD again to re-warm up and I had a Top-rope burn and managed to get the crux with the new beta. We then went to try 'Wall of the Evening Light' F7b+ but after ripping 2 holds off and it still being a total greasefest, Mase sacked it in. I got back on RADD and managed to just stay on through the crux, and rode the pump up the technically sustained wall above to a gripping clip of the chains! Wooopeee! We monkeyed up and out of the crag along the fixed lines and headed off on a night out!

Unfortunately on waking I had real bad pain in my finger and swelling in the knuckle! So definately no climbing for a week at least! :-( So instead I went to all my lectures in my first week, I have been set a lot of work this semester! After a semi-mental Rubix Cube, I headed out on a fell-run with my good mate Bubbles. Fearing absolute humiliation I was worried, but in actual fact I really enjoyed the 13 odd km run, up onto Foel Goen, across to Foel Goch and Moel Cynghorian, down and then up the ridge above Cloggy to Snowdon's summit and then down. Unfortunately, taking 20 Jelly babies isn't really enough food and so we both hit a big brick wall. With no money or food we resorted to stealing water from the disabled toilets and packets of sugar for the run down to Llanberis. We planned on going further but had absolutely no energy left. However, I'm mega keen on the fell-running especially through my injury and as a bad weather activity, definitely a silver lining to my injury cloud!! Its a good way to enjoy the mountains in a different perspective! I'm pretty psyched!

That's all Folks, keep psyched!! DC

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