Saturday, 27 February 2010

Dolly Rocker

Fucking hell another one. While working The Crest I had been going down to Porth Ysgo a little for a change of scene. A couple of weeks ago I tried an old project with Chris, this being the arete near the Higginson Scar. Previously when I tried this I had been totally shut down and thought that it was nails, but this time the moves were all done in a session. I put it on the back burner until I had done The Crest start, and then went back to try it again. Arriving with CJD the conditions looked perfect, an on shore wind, cloudy and cold. This was all good and excitement brewed as I thought I may be on for 2 projects in 2 days. As we got to the boulders we started to warm up and a few flakes of snow started to fall, the price we were going to pay for cheating conditions. We hid under a block and smoked scuttling out every now and then when the snow stopped, after a couple of goes I was getting to the crux and hitting close to this move, a blind slap up and around the arete. Powerful to make the distance and technical to keep the weight on your foot. (CJD reckons he will be able to hold the swing, I think you would always hit the floor) Anyway to cut a long story short it soon became shit, wet mats snow turning to rain and holds were starting to get wet. So we sacked it off to go for a pint and drive back to the hills.

The following day was a bit better, had some people to see and things to do but by late morning I was itching to go back and send it. I have a habit of getting a bit over excited once I know I can do something and often end up bleeding and slapping hopelessly on problems that would have been fine if I relaxed a little more. So when on arrival I warmed up, easy today it was boiling, the holds felt terrible and I could barely do the easier moves let alone the crux. High tide was at 10 past 4, it was 3 o'clock and the sea was only a couple of metres away. I remembered failing on Porn Makes me Horny years ago and refusing to listen to Higg as he told me to wait for the sun to go down. As I still haven't done that problem even though I fell of the 6c+ exit moves 5-10 times that day I decided to listen now. Wandering around to the other bay and throwing sticks into the swell and generally had a nice time by the sea. My skin was pretty sore now, and I walked back round with the idea of getting the crux more wired, and maybe seeing if I could get lucky. I didn't, but I did learn the position and start to be able to do the crux 1 in every 3 goes, I also tore my skin and cursed my punterishness for even trying it in the early heat. Still back to work so had 4 rest days until I remembered I had booked Friday off work. 48 hours of rest shit loads of moisturiser and good food, the weather was looking good, tides were OK as long as I got there early.

Arriving by yet another set of back roads (I swear they move down here!) The conditions were good and I chalked the holds and went on another ticking mission of easier problems to get warm. The sun kept coming and going behind clouds, and the wind was keeping the rock grease free. Due to my thin skin (3 visits in 4 days on gabbro) I was only having 3 redpoints then stopping and going wandering round or smoking. After a couple of hours I was in and standing on top of the bloc. A future classic in the bag, happy to be able to rest for a week then start my indoor routine again to prepare for the next level of project. I can't believe how long it has taken me to learn when to push and when to back off to stay fresh for an ascent. Learning and progressing is so good, I really feel I have made the most of the weather windows this winter and am looking forward to a spring time in the hills.

Oh yeah how hard is it? I think its 8a or 8a+, CJD reckons its 8a+. So I guess I will give it a split grade, with something like this it doesnt really matter as its good enough and at a popular enough venue that it will be repeated sooner or later, a lot of it will depend on conditions on the snowy day I could cut loose on holds I couldn't hold the following day.

Some footage:

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The Crest

The Crest is a Hocking 7c at the Wave boulders near Bethesda. It starts from a crouch and climbs a prow for 7 moves, beneath you is a roof with a obvious sit start at the back. After my lack of psyche and wrist pain I needed a project to fire me up again. Somewhere to hide and something no one would notice me working. I wandered up before Christmas to have a look, the first 2 moves are easy big spans with good feet, then you do a tricky blind slap, this puts your left on the start hold of the crouch, so far so good. Then I stalled on the next move I could reach it from a bicycle at the back of the roof but had no chance of taking the swing without hitting the ground. I needed a way to bring my feet off the back wall and onto the prow itself. I don't think I have ever tried a hard problem with so many different ways to nearly do the move but still be unable to make any of them work. There was an obvious three finger drag that you could drop into and use for your heel. Had a couple of sessions and managed to make it work, cool redpoint time probably 8a.

Footage of the original problem:

Next session I snapped this hold off, I decided to glue it on again, it snapped again and again so in the end I committed to working a new way. This was slightly annoying as I had gone from being reasonably solid back to being skin of my teeth to keep the tension through the crux section. By this point my amazingly well hidden project had been discovered by Bethesda boy Ioan, he didn't know that the crouch had been done by Hock, so set about this and stole one of my mats, pikey bastard. Fortunately for me by this point I had my sequence and the top spent a few weeks being covered with snow while I did lots of leg raises and campused to get my contact strength up. I lied and told him I would ring him when I was going to try it share my beta etc as long as he gave me a head start.

Then the weather window of February arrived and I got distracted by a couple of other lines, after feeling good on a few other things I was ready. I started to wait for a dry day and started to get a bit frustrated. In the end I wandered up after Jacks birthday session cursing as it was dry and cold and I was dry heaving and sweaty. Pulling on I did the 7c first go, and fell twice on the crux before linking it together. I think its probably 8a+, feeling like a 8a to get to the start holds of the original. Ioan is keen for the second ascent I hope he does it, but I am still not going to share my beta though. I think working out how to do it was the hardest and most enjoyable part of the problem for me.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Six inch dyno

The Six Inch Dyno at Hyll Drem, well I think it is. Details may change in the mist of time. Been down here a bit as a change of scene in all the rainy weather.

Some Photos

Coming out of a hole, 10th move of a stand up and look where the floor is, magic!

The Minimum

The Pinch hold of Eat the Meek on the Plas Y Brenin bloc. This boulder has beautiful holds in a relatively sheltered location good fun on a windy day when you get cold or need a warm up before a project.

J Rat 2 on what became Bubbles traverse, beta master Si showing the way.

My aim strong little fingers, Choo shows the way working out Tide of Dreams bravely risking skinned knuckles on the grease. Interesting fact, Brian was an American who sprayed.

The fingers plan, climb on the 30 board lots.

Lou Ferrino sans chips (should be called Lou Ferrigno surely!), the classic but without the drilled pockets better harder and more interesting than the original.

Monday, 1 February 2010

best laid plans...

Had a nice dreamy strategy to work some outdoor projects and train on my weaknesses inside over the winter. This all started quite well with some scrubbing boulders a reset of the 30 degree board in the mill so I could start pulling on small holds instead of lanking my way up steep walls on good holds so my ego could remain intact. This brought about the first discovery, for me working my weaker points is far more effective if I am doing it alone. Everybody does stuff their own way, but I like sitting down smoking and staring at the wall totally lost in the idea that the move is hard and inching my way toward success. Nothing pisses on my bonfire like some skinny youth pissing my project and telling me how easy it is, ego, what a bitch.

Anyway projects are still around in Wales, some better than others I admit. For now though all they have to do is make me pull hard, get up in the morning and go climbing, stay straight at the weekend then they have done their job. All good so far. Then I realise the last post was at the point of redpoint for one of them, it was all nicely worked done in two, end wired start fine, a tricky tension move in the middle but confident. Then there was snow, this was ok just worked the hard bit cos it stayed dry, and carried on in the wall. Then it melted, fair enough its wet for a bit, then its rained and has been wet every time I have been off work. So I carry on in the wall and rebuild the mill and sort out the bills and real life stuff, still all ok, but you have to wonder. Its a nice enough bit of rock, cool moves and stuff, but its a locals problem at a locals crag its not going to be the best or the hardest or anything like that. Shes starting to be a multi month project, I have been to look at it 4 times in the last month and not pulled on. Still after all its not giving up that matters most I guess, the more in the more out and all that .