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:

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