Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Gotta keep on, keeping on...

January and February have been pretty crappy months in the big N.W, unfortunately. We've been plagued by really crappy weather, too warm for the winter-ey whiteness, but too wet for the rock. On top of this I feel increasingly weighed down by uni work, I can feel my energy and psyche being drained and this just makes me feel worse. Being of a positive mindset I have tried to fight this, and I'm still a happy chappy on the whole, but the last couple of months have definitely lived up to their depressing reputation. I keep trying to remember that you gotta have the lows to appreciate the highs...

If you feel like this too, then I recommend you watch this video:

"Happiness" is something I seem to be more obsessed/fascinated/intrigued by than many people, well I'm probably not, but I am very conscious that YOU are responsible for your own happiness and if you aren't happy then YOU have to do something to change your current predicament, no-one else can, should or will do it for you. So if you feel down in the dumps, watch the vid and think about it, I hope it inspires you. Pass it on to others too, if you feel it would help them too. It's not necessarily easy to make the change, could take some real balls and commitment, but if it'll make a difference then why not go for it? Happiness is the key, or else what is the point? Have a good hard think about what makes you happy too rather than just believing society's set path to happiness, as although it may work for some it won't work for all, we are all different and that's the beauty of life; variety!

Anyway, back to climbing. As I said the weather has been real bad, but I have been trying to get out, honest! I have had a couple of okey-ish trips to Porth Ysgo, on the Lleyn Peninsula. The first trip was dry when we arrived and I managed to bosh out a soft unnamed V6 which was fun, and also started working on my first V7; Perrin's Crack Sit-down start. Then it rained and I don't think I did anything else after that.

Chris on the send on the un-named V6

The second trip, we arrived to find the rock wet! So we sat around and played on the 'Ysgo Challenge; Lite', which is an axel with two wheels on each end left over from when the area was a port or 'Porth' in welsh. The actual one is a lot heavier, but I still couldn't do the light version. Bubbles beasted it though, as did Miles, Ballsford (managing to hold it one armed above his head, and press it out 15 times with two arms), Dyllan and Burdy who made t look like it was made of polystyrene! I don't think I did anything of note on this trip though we had a good play on a damp Popcorn Party; V6, which I did last year but is always a joy to climb on, beautiful rock and tricky technical moves.

Bubbles completing the 'Ysgo Challenge; Lite' GRRR
(c) Nikki Sommers
Pulling funny faces on Popcorn Party, V6.
Classic of Porth Ysgo. (c) Miles Hill
In preparation for a trip to Scotland which thanks to a poor forecast never happened, Bubbles took me out for a day of getting used to wearing crampons, for a day up Bristly Ridge on the Glyders. This was actually on a beautiful day, and I felt like a kid in a sweet shop, just so excited to be out having an adventure, learning to climb again (almost), taking me back to my early days in climbing but without my crippling fear of heights.

Bubbles showing just how Alpinists prepare before a winter route... eeerrrm?

Tryfan, and the Carneddau... B-E-A-Utiful.
That was a while ago, but yesterday I got out and tied on for the second time this year! Off to the Orme with Al Mason, we met up with Sam Radcliffe and Tom Livingstone. We nipped off to do a Fr6c above Parisella's Cave, instead doing the 6a+ by accident, though it felt stiff at that! We then headed back to their route, to find Livingstone having a top-rope on a bouldery 7a called Jerusalem is Lost. I was encouraged to have a go, so I pulled the rope down and went for it, but failed on the start of the crux. Lowering down a few inches I was back on the floor, and after a few more attempts like this, made the crux move and clipped the second bolt! Then with misremembered beta being thrown up at me, I got to the top, Huzzah! We then went up to the Firefly area for some trad (gulp!), I was a bit gripped knowing it was all hard, E3+ sort of affairs and therefore the sort of thing I would find tricky at my best last year! Anyway, Mason boshed on up Firefly, with a cheeky rest on the bolt as it was wet. Leaving the gear in, I was originally just going to top-rope it, feeling tired from my previous efforts. However, Mason convinced me to go for the lead, so I did, slipping off on the second move I dropped back to the ground, and went for it again, this time getting it right, with the pump rising I managed to rest it off and carry on all the way to the chains, just by being confident and keeping on! The rain set in, and after Mason had a clean ascent, we finished the day off in the Cave. After Livingstone sent the 7a of earlier in the day, we boshed down to a busy cave. I headed for the Left Wall traverse, refining and remembering my sequence. I then had a burn from the start to see how I was going and surprised myself with my best link yet, getting through the crux and failing due to not quite being able to remember some moves.

Owain sending Jerusalem is Lost Fr7a, last summer.
(c) Owain Atkins
So if everything seems crap and pointless, keep on keeping on, and work out where you are going wrong and change that to squeeze some more happiness out of your life. Oh and take a chance every once in a while, it feels good, I promise...

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