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

Monday, 12 September 2011

Tears and tantrums...

Not much has been going on in my life since I left Pembroke a few weeks ago, due to my fingers feeling a bit tweeky, starting work, revision for my re-sit and feeling like a rest would do me good, I didn't climb for over a week... but instead of sitting around doing nothing I did some CV exercise interested to see what it did for my climbing. I mainly went swimming as my Dad kept going and offered to pay me in...DEAL! Now then swimming isn't my bag, in fact I feel really out of place in the water, first time in I was coughing and spluttering and only just maintaining the right to swim in the middle lane. But the next few swims, I began to feel a lot more comfortable, and even dare I say it quicker than a few others in the pool, despite my awful technique!

I also hung out with a few old friends, had a couple of BBQ's got drunk, and spent a chilled day in Exeter trying to feel less hungover... This was in fact brilliant and exactly what I wanted to do on coming home, in the past year or so, whenever I come home climbing takes a back seat for me and I focus on other things instead. Partly due to less people who are psyched to get out, also I have less time, and usually because it is either freezing cold, I'm about to go on a climbing trip, or I have just spent a load of time on a climbing bonanza.

Once a week was over I managed to convince my original partner in climb, Mr Rob Steer to accompany me to our original crag, Torbryan Quarry. On arriving, we found a party already there with quickdraws in the two routes I wanted to do! Woopee! Last year I came here and managed to flash Boogie on Down, F6c but floundered on Barney Rubble, F7a+. This year was very similar, though slightly better, I retroflashed Boogie despite being very pumped at the top, phew!

Next go up I was back on Barney, I sorted the moves with a few rests in-between and then went for the send. I felt a bit jittery but got through to the final move on the lower crux but didn't catch the hold right! Damn! But got further than last year, managed to also mess the sequence up around the penultimate bolt! Back on and I got up to the top and past the last tricky sequence! One to come back to, I feel fairly confident that a warm-up on Boogie in which I focused on getting warm not to the top, and then another go at this and it should be in the bag!

Next on the exercise agenda was a run, with my dad who runs all the time and me, who has run maybe twice in the last year? He wanted to test a 9 miler as he was 'leading' his running club on a monday evening run... "Right, ok, nine miles you say?" When he explained where we were going it didn't sound too bad and actually ran us close to home 3/4 of the way round so I could always slink off home if I wanted. The laps of Decoy Park depressed me, but despite being pitifully low on the mileage and high on the feeling of death upon entering the park, once we left I felt better and we had racked up a lot of mileage. Unfortunately a mile or so later I hit a wall, the worse thing is I couldn't see the damn thing... it was at this point my legs started screaming "STOP YOU MENTAL B*STARD!!! GO INFLICT PAIN ON YOUR FOREARMS YOU DID ENOUGH TO US ON TEN TORS PISS OFF!!!!". Fortunately dad pushed me on and I collapsed into the car, proud I had (just) kept up with my dad in his own sport, but a broken man. After 3 days of walking the 4 miles there and back to work and standing up all day my legs finally stopped screaming at me, so upon the arrival of the August Monsoon I went to the wall...

"£6.00 for bouldering entry? You are bloody kidding me!" I thought as I handed over the dollar to the wall I hate the most in a quiet little village in South Devon. (Not naming names) The poor setting and limited size meant I neglected my normal slow and steady warm-up, after a couple of hours we left dissapointed as I always am after going to that wall. In the morning I woke up to my greatest fear, pain in my fingers. I desperately searched the internet so I could self diagnose. After a good bit of reading, I reckoned on a torn pulley... it didn't seem too bad so I rested it the rest of the day, while I revised. Then the next day began icing it followed immediately by the hottest water i could stand twice a day. This was secretly a blessing in disguise as I had revision to be doing for my exam which loomed ever closer...

Exam taken, I taped up and hit the Indy as I had been told that light climbing will stimulate recovery... with nothing harder than V3 climbed and all those V3s being slopey or juggy I woke up the next day to no pain! PHEEEW!! This stimulated me to try  and begin training again on my fingerboard, endurance work so just hanging in there on different holds without touching down. Then discovered the Metolius workouts.

Another day off for my partner in climb, Rob led us on an iffy day to Meadfoot Quarry, Rob crushed the 'jugs on a slab' Diamond Rib, HS 4a. Then I got on Median Lucky a low in the grade E1 5b. Quite bold up to the crux but a reasonable peg protects the short 5b sequence. Not wishing to push my finger too hard and with Rob losing interest, we headed off for an afternoon of slack-lining, I am definately getting better, I think...

I have also kept up the running regime, though mediated it to just over 6 miles by basically losing the laps of the park... I have got my time to dead on an hour, and look forward to carrying it on in North Wales, though swimming I won't be, going round in circles is so dumb...

I ventured outside with Henry up to Dartmoor where, without a pad, we decided a session back on the 'Hidden Traverse' at Saddle Tor* would be good. At V4, I should be capable of flashing this or at least getting it in a session, but I have never done it. Perhaps when I was more in tune with Dartmoor granite I wasn't fit enough and now I am my hands get cut to pieces. Anyway the first bit isn't too hard about V2 but pumpy, all on your arms, slopers with a couple of heel-hooks. Then comes the crux, its a hard couple of moves in its own right V3(??) then a few easy moves to the end. I worked the crux a few times noting exact foot positions (often something I neglect on Redpoint), and went for the send. Got to the crux pumped rested it out for a bit but touched the hold that marks the middle of the crux. But couldn't stick it! Henry had a go and almost got the hold but couldn't quite reach! I had a few more goes arriving at the crux fairly fresh on one but couldn't quite stick it without a foot popping off! With rain and darkness closing in, we bailed. On arriving home my forearms were cooked, good training then!

Now I'm back in North Wales and a fairly hard session at the Indy and my finger still feels good, lets see what  happens... however we are currently being hit by gail force winds, it would be pretty epic on the crags of North Wales right now!

* I recently found out this is where my old Ten Tors trainer, Ivor died of a heart attack, he was a real nice guy and its a tragedy he died, RIP Ivor you are sorely missed.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Roll-up! Roll-up!

Got a few things for sale in an attempt to de-clutter...

Montane Tee gone pending payment.

5.10 Anasazi Velcro's UK 5 1/2 potentially sold.

Lowe Alpine Wicking Baselayers. Size Small, one red, one blue. Worn a bit but not much, good condition£7.50 posted each.

Blue Lowe Alpine Wicking Tee. Small. £7.50 posted

Red Lowe Alpine Wicking Tee. Small £7.50 posted.

The North Face 'Never Stop Exploring' Cotton Tee. £6 posted. Never worn. Size Small but seems more like a Medium.

TNF 'Never Stop Exploring' Tee. £6 posted. Small/Medium.

Detail on TNF Tee.

The North Face Expedition Hat. Worn a few times a few years ago... good condition and sun protection. £8. posted.

TNF Expedition Hat. £8 posted

Petzl Elios, White. Size 2. Been used but not much, some cosmetic scratches and marks, still in very good condition. Good beginner/winter Helmet. £30 posted.

Petzl Elios. Size 2. £30 posted.
Petzl Elios. Size 2. £30 posted.
That's all for now folks!