Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Up down turn around

This was typed one line at a time over the last month so doesn't make much sense.   But there you go what do you expect polished journalism?

Since the last one...

Well the fat and weak is coming, I have struggling with the motivation and suddenly winter is here.  Now I feel keen.  Really really KEEN.

At the beginning of the month before man flu took hold and Stoptober fucked me over, (off the wagon on the wagon.  Climbing without smoking is HARD!)  I had booked myself a few extra days off as Katz was coming for a visit, the weather long range forecast wise was looking good, I was feeling quite good, but still my projects were eluding me.  Now the weather looks like it will shit out on me again, in fact of the 12 days off it looks likely to rain on 90% of them.  So the cycle begins again up and down round and round no psyche, no training, little climbing.  Last week I pushed and got out 4 times thanks to my understanding girl noticing I was going insane:

1- Attempt to get on project B, wet went looking for more rock, ended up stuck in a thicket of brambles and gorse, only way out was to wade down a ditch for 100 meters up to my thighs in mud and water.  Fail.
2- Jerry's roof, Laps on Bus Stop, Jerry's, and Wurzel Stand.  Fail on Pools.  Success (but not very exciting)    
3- The mill, locked out toys out of pram, Fail.
4- Project B was nearly dry 2 days ago so another look get to ..... and its raining walk in for a look anyway its wetter.  Fail.

So now the days off have passed and after a bit more on the wagon off the wagon, smoking while climbing has to be a first step, right?  Step to what, that is the question full time smoking or full time quitter?  Anyway as the weather was shit I went out with Mr and Mrs Katz to Elephantiasis.  I was shit and it was wet.  Another fail, so what to do?  I constantly find myself thinking I cant do things any more.  I relied very strongly on boring things to death just keep on going till the problem gives up, but at this point I am giving up.  I sit and drink and eat and that is not going to help with nothing.

So its back to the mill.  10 days on fucking ace, so much more productive than outside, no its not as good,  yes the rock is most important thing but in 2 hours a day I can improve, I can get sharper and stronger.  This is what I need this is what makes me tick.  After a month of binges I eventually step back on the scales.  from a low point of 74.2KG I have topped out at 81.3KG.  Fat fuck.  No wonder everything felt hard.  Thankfully since I wrote this its back to a more normal 78.6KG.

So there we go eat less train more and remember to try hard instead of pitying my poor decrepit fingers/elbows.

The past is written and unchangeable but the future is full of wonderful promises... However at the moment every time I speak to Si, him and Pete have found another line that was sat in the background waiting for one day.  Must do project a+b, before either people get bored of waiting for me in the case of a, or people find it in the case of b.

Friday, 24 August 2012

What with shit weather and a unhealthy dose of paranoia that I will become fat and weak now I have a baby, I started to hit the boards quite a lot.  In fact looking back through my book after a shit session I had been hitting the boards every day for some time.  In fact I had 5 rest days in the last 53 days.  And I managed to wonder why I was tired.  What a prick.

So last night in the Indy after greasing off and having quite a lot of pain running through my shoulders and neck, I had a little rant and was given a crash course in finding trigger/ pressure points, and low and behold for the first time in 2 weeks I can move my head without it hurting!   Its a miracle Hallelujah etc.  So that's good and I will call the unplanned time on 'Conditioning' have a week of de loading before ramping up the intensity for a month, badabing, I am in a training cycle without the shit bit of building your base.  Its that simple right?

After a few years of reading books, printing articles and stuff I am starting to think it might be.  The thing about training is a lot of people talk about it, a few people plan it and hardly anyone sticks to a plan.  You can search around and find people telling you front leavers wont give you tension, pull ups are a waste of time running is too catabolic, lock off training is inefficient, bachar ladders hurt you, weights make you too big,  campusing is for fools, basically everything is shit.  I am starting to think that this is because climbers are a negative bunch, who all want to spend their time hanging out on huge blocs in the desert and instead end up at Ravens Tor or Parisellas dodging the drips doing eliminates, and populating the internet.  So what should punters like me do?  Well "everything works but nothing works for long" is possibly the best bit of advice I have been given I think.  So mix and match, try hard, keep making it harder and cross your fingers you don't get hurt is about as scientific as I am going to attempt this time.

I keep looking back at my yearly aims and I hate the fact that they are basically the same as they were at the end of 2010.  So something isn't working.  In fact the best season I had involved not going to sleep much and a lot of sniffing.  I cant see that this is how Olympians train, so I guess there must be another reason.  Maybe I was too fucked to get hung up about it, "don't think, feel" all that shit.  You can tell you have lost your way when 1-5-8 becomes the highlight of your year I mean its not even 1-5-9 for fucks sakes.

Anyway I think I am going to have a rest try to train, and crush the shit out of 3 projects in the next couple of
months.  Then the weather will turn it will be cold and crisp, and I can start to work the next ones like a rat on a wheel...    

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Life changing!

Well I guess I have some news.  Not that it will be of any interest to most of you but the future wad James arrived 3 weeks ago.  He is ace and did 1-5-9 yesterday.  Not really, I waved him at a beastmaker but he showed less than no interest.  However I am convinced that anyone who can vomit their own body length must have a strong core.  Plus the fact that on his first walk he found a 3 star Project for me, hopefully he can keep that up.

Recent trips out were First to Angel bay, where we did Muscle bound, a much better than it looks problem.  
We also did the little roof immediately at the bottom of the approach path.  I am sure this will have been done before as its the first thing to dry when you get the tides wrong like we (I) did.  Although the Photo should show my intentions clearly enough.  Chris suggested the name Abu Dabby, as the crux is not dabbing.  The link across from the starting hold of Manchester dogs would go to someone I am sure.

Photo: Jack Rat - Athlete.  Abu Dabby, 7a. Angel Bay. http://instagr.am/p/NWewzYnbOY/
Abu Dabby 7a.  Photo Chris Davies

Apart from that I have been going to the Mill, and have started to create a structure to my home training.  I have never really done much at home before tending to be out and about whenever I am off work, but given the fact that my 2 projects at the moment would be fine if I could hold the swings, and Core is probably the easiest thing to train at home it could all work out marvellously.  

The strangeness continues with a session in the mill last night that was shockingly good, so good in fact that I wish the weather was better then I could do something.  Then I heard that Pete had done the Ogwen Project at 8b in the rain.  Fucker, guess even weather is not a good enough excuse anymore.  Must try harder!
Isles of Wonder Font 8b
Shit weather and a good effort
Photo Ray Wood

So there we are, for some strange reason I actually appear to be climbing OK ish.  Hopefully I can get the big aim of last year done soon.  I feel unusually positive about it at present, then well then I don't know. I guess we shall see.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Onwards and Upwards

First up is a continuation of the last blog,  Last Rites was despatched standard slow style.  Leaving me with only Mr Whippy and Pete s new problem Screwball.  After these its Traverses and Sit starts. Think I am done with it for a while.  I would like to do Mr Whippy, Millenium Drive and Chris's Link as these were the three I went there for in the first place to continue my guide ticking mission.  Guess we shall see what the weather brings.  Which brings me neatly on to the present project,  after hitting the top for the last 4 sessions, landing all round the block and risking my legs a bit, I finally got CJD to come up and spot, sods law the clouds cleared and wind stopped instantly I failed to get anywhere near it.  So in an effort to do it (very) soon I have analysed all the footage and worked out what is missing.  Its because I am only going for the move once a session I think, having landed sideways with both feet on a block, landed on my knees between 2 blocks and just generally missing the 4 pads from a quite unpredictable fall.  I have to really build up to a big effort, and given it wears out my skin quickly as its summer and I shouldn't really be trying it now if I had any sense, it a tricky balance to get up there feeling good before I hurt my skin, (or what I thought was a big ball of scar tissue on my finger till I felt Sam's the other night when I realised it was tiny and I should man the fuck up).  But I don't have any sense other than the sense that I am a tiny % away from doing it any session.  Hmm,  reminds me a bit of Clyde but we wont go there, that would be negative.  Anyway the up shot of it all is that I found the best goes and looked back in my book to see what I was doing at the time, and quel surprise I was campusing a bit at the time.  Which makes me laugh, given the fact that in November when I first taped the top hold I said to Chris that if I was still campusing lots the move would have been easy.  Genius it only takes 7 mouths to implement what I know is a good idea.. So its back to the Mill and the Indy and swinging round on strips of wood, hanging on the Beastmaker with weights attatched and hopeing for a window before the baby comes. 

Next up its my most/least favourite thing GRADES,  ugh.  Feel free to ignore everything from here on in if I was wise I would.  When I wrote this last year  I thought yes I am going to leave it alone stop using 8A nu as I think it did encourage me to be optimistic sometimes.  I also said I was going to Font as that's where they came from, well the upshot is I must be better at climbing in Font than I am in Wales.  I failed to stop using it so this time I have obliterated it, it took a while as the only way I could find to do it properly was to delete each ascent individually.  This turned out to be quite a cathartic experience, it feels like I am no longer a slave to what I did and the need to prop up my ego on the fact that I did  X 5 years ago, instead I can move forward get better and hopefully climb harder, not necessarily as in  a harder grade, just as  in harder to do for me.  These are 2 very different things I am learning.  And that's the point as long as I am learning I am progressing, and as long as I am progressing then this silly little game of bouldering makes me very happy.  And when I am happy I climb better.  Look out boulders of Wales, I am going to get you, definitely not today definitely not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Pill box

Well the quest continues, except I have lost a bit of steam with the ticking and am in danger of developing a new obsession.  The venue of hatred has ensnared me, forcing me to accept some things.  Crimping hard on edges and shuffling sideways is hard, hard is good so the Pill Box is good.  

Once I found my stepladder and got over myself I am starting to get into it.  It has also reminded me of one thing, I love climbing things that I cant!  For a little while I think I got carried off into a distant confusion of trying to climb harder grades, now I realise a 7b you really struggle with is better than an 8a you find easy. Well in every way except for talking shit, but maybe I can get over that too.  I forced Jack to come with me at the weekend and CJD was keen too, so we went down and continued to attack the up lines, we did Pill thrill awesome jump to the pinch (if you avoid the 'orrible mono)  Jack Daniels, and I got the Original Party link.  Unfortunately this seems to be a little blinkered climbing it from the right, but fuck them I am still doing it my way.  (See you can tell I am getting into it starting to develop opinions on how other people should do sequences!)

No photos this week so lets see what Google can find.  Pre-emptive guess, thank you Si Panton and http://www.northwalesbouldering.com

This leaves:
Last Rites, (next session) 

Doylo on Last Rites
Si Panton

Mr Whippy (any time soon) 
Old favourite,   Mark on Mr Whippy  
Si Panton
Gaskins Problem (hmmm, Would happily settle for hanging the positions).
CJD on Gaskins Wall
Si Panton

Then its either traversing or sit downs, unsure which yet probably back to the cave.  But I do need to do Millennium Drive for my ticking.  New computer is on the way so soon I will have Pill box the Movie.  Oh I bet you can't wait!

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Puerile Ticker

So what do you do when North Wales becomes hotter than Greece?  For a few years that would mean getting wasted.  Then last year it would mean going to the mill.  This year with a new guidebook approaching it means frantically trying to tick as much of the graded list before there is a new one I will never tick.  As a puerile ticker, I have been busy and its sent me to some good problems.  Starting at the bottom:

The cost of living 5, this is a stunning problem now my very favourite easy one in Wales.
Accomozos Wall 6a, nice to find this and climb it the perfect venue to combine a few beers and a few problems.
Middle bluff line 6b, Brilliant Slab in the pass.  Shame I failed to complete the Lower Bluff 6c, have to go back best taken with a cold cider.
Harris Arete 6b, done before but forgot how good it was.
Last Orders 7a a Pill Box problem thats good and feels easy!
5 Knuckle Shuffle 7b, brilliant and well worth the long walk.
Message to Rudy 7b+, after trying the FA with Katz and then the second FA with Hock, finally I managed to climb it, careful with that brush though!

So that's all lovely and good, but they are not the stoppers on my list, for example the first one I went to try was
Nicks Sexual Problem, 7b+.  Fail to get off the ground.  Nothing new there then!
Mr Whippy 7a+.  For fucks sakes how many times is it possible to fail!  remember almost doing this when I was climbing 7a, still almost doing it 14 years later.
Chris's Link 7b+ on the Pill box, its fair to say if this was my problem I would have over graded it.  2 proper sessions now.  Hopefully it will go next time.  I will beat the Pill box black hole, it destroys me, but one day as Doylo put it

"The clouds will part and a golden ray of light will pour down and you will understand" 

 And I guess when they do I will turn Pill Box into another roadrunner, however I doubt I will ever pull on these holds, for the Final Exam.

Crux hold on Pill Box Wall

The good crimp? on Pill Box Wall
So there we go lots of easy climbing and enjoyable failing, that's what to do when Wales is hotter than Greece.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Bear with me

Now hopefully there will be something good going down soon and then a whole lot of stuff can come out.  But till that point I need to maintain radio silence.  I am really really fucking schizophrenic about climbing at the moment.  I am bouncing from a session where I lap Mr Fantastic 4 times, to a session I have to dig deep to get up Jerry's roof.  Being an emotional kind of guy I take all this to heart and allow no room for the reality of conditions or skin or tiredness.  There is only one reason for failure, its because your shit.  Success well its an irrelevance a fleeting thing that comes and is gone in a moment.  But failure that I can really dig.

Weird?  Uh huh damn right I am.

Any-road, I had a session down at The Cromlech roadside for the first time this year, and was blown around the corner to try Diesel Power for my attempt of the year.  It was strangely good fun, highlighted a big weakness in my core strength though.  Basically I can be lighter and generally weaker or stronger but too heavy on small holds, cant decide which is more fun.  I guess I wasn't cut out to be a boulderer, well apart from the size of my leg and a few knee bars perhaps...

A different Dave showing admirable optimism against the Welsh winter

As well as playing on diesel I had a session trying the big move on Louis Armstrong, again my core was too floppy, and I spent the session hitting well round the lip but milliseconds later/earlier standing on the floor.  Think I will save this one as the future wad will fall asleep as I drive to the cave and then I will have a roadside project, actually thats probably a good time to try Diesel too...

I also managed to come out of the back of the cave on In Life, always hated this section, mainly because I couldnt do it.  Now I am semi enthused, although I generally get bored and start to hate life before redpoints arrive on these long cave things.  I must remember to try and finish the Wire soon, it was all going so well was 1 move away from in the bag before I wandered off back to the hills to heal my broken soul.   Well there you go what a load of hot air. Have some pictures as a reward for your patiance:

Jack working out the moves on PIL

Working on In Life

Jack going for Mr Fantastic

Friday, 13 April 2012

A whinge

You know those goes on your projects when you are crushing and you know you are going to do it?  They are great aren't they.  I had one on this awesome problem I have been trying in November, but I didn't do it.  I hit the lip instead of the jug and that was that, shit weather and wet days off work took over.  Five months of weather watching  and waiting later, I got back up there a few weeks back.  I was quite pleased as the problem was still doable it hadn't all gone away.  Yesterday I went back up, first go was good, second go I hit the jug, and in my surprise let go.  Third, fourth and fifth goes were too close together and shit.  Frustration set in as the sun came round blinding me on the last move, a move which is either difficult or I am doing wrong or the crimp is just a bit too small for my 80kg's.  I have crawled up this wall working the sequence as you cant try the top without climbing the bottom and skin can quickly become an issue.  5 sessions were spent trying to go left instead of right, and progress has generally been slow.

So the sixth go...  I squeaked my shoes and put my left shoe on first in a superstitious manner.  Chalked up to my elbows, cleaned the holds, waited for a big cloud bank to roll in covering the sun there was a good wind blowing straight onto the face.  Everything ready off I go, first second and third moves perfect, really pulling hard feel fucking bionic, then the key move.  Right hand goes again to a 2 finger edge, (if you get this well you can set up really well on the crimp for the top move...)  I hit it and curl my thumb over,  yes yes fucking RAH etc.  Drop in to the left hand crimp before moving feet and going for the last crimp before the jug.  Absolute fucking control, piss, feet up and get the crimp again set up perfect left foot in and up... Right foothold snaps off and I land on the ground again.

Go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect 200 pounds.  Gutted.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


Some problems from the odd sunny day in the winter.

Tripping all over

Years ago my mate Rhys was in Sheffield Uni, on Friday nights I would head over from Wales to go and climb for the weekend.  Usually I would arrive before him and his house mates were back from the pub, so I would let myself in through some window or another.  Generally I would let myself in find his stash roll a fat one put Rampage on and read either Rock Stars or The Power of Climbing.  There was one photo in Rock Stars that I loved, it was of Fred Nicole on Dance De Balrogs.  At that point I decided that one day I would go and see this block in Switzerland.  Time Passed and I started to go on more trips including many to Switzerland but I never made it to Branson.  The list of things I wanted to see or try got shorter, some of them got done, a lot of them did for me.

A couple of years ago I suddenlly realised that contary to what I had always thought there is more to life than slopers, and love had a part to play in my world.  A chance to be happy presented itself and from the botom of a pint glass I decided that this time I would not be as foolish as I had been in the past, fear of losing my options would not stop me from being happy.  So this has a few repercussions the main one being the creation of my very own baby mutant.  This is great and I am super keen for the summer when he/she should arrive.  It does however mean that I wont be able to galavant around sleeping in woods and try problems for the next few years.

So while last trip plan was formed the goal was obvious, and plans were put in place to go and pay homage to this block where so much history had been made.  A few people told me it was shit and a few more told me there was amazing climbing all over the valley, initially in my head I planned to go alone and siege the line, then I got in touch with Ug and he was keen, Jack and James were also keen so the team was set, so off we went.  I wasn't really sure I was up to climbing hard having trained hard last year the season in Wales had been shit, almost no good weather on my days off, and any strength I had gained was rapidly disappearing.  So a back up plan of having a nice time and ticking was formed, we arrived at Ugs.  The following morning already nursing a hangover, he pointed out it was hot, and we were heading to a valley 1000 meters lower reality started to set in, this was not going to be the trip I had planned....

First up he took us to a crag called Ravio (or something like that)  we got stuck in and tried this ace roof that was good and quite tricky.  Nobody did it but I was pretty close before the team got bored and we decided to come back another day.  Down the winding road to Vernayz, which was a great crag, after some warm ups, we did 7a+ which was amazing, its the sort of feature you get on amazing 8a's but easy.  By this point I was preety desperate to see Dance so we decided to head up there for the evening.  After a very tight squeeze through the town itself we arrived and I ran off to touch the holds.  They were shiny and warm.  Nice.

The following morning arrived and started same as the last, after taking the edge off the day we wandered down to the boulder it was hard and it was hot.  After spending 8 dayas trying Emotional in adverse weather last trip my heart wasnt in it, and it would have taken a lot of manuvering and sulking to get the team to stay up there as opposed to the much more extensive areas around the valley.  So I accepted defet and after doing a lot of the moves, but failing to link anything we set off back down to the valley.

From here on in drinking and smoking ruled.  Apart looking for Fionney buried chest deep in snow, scorching in the sun at a crag we thought was La Balmaz, walking miles with a topo looking for Master of Pouges but it turned out it was  the wrong crag.  Having a half hearted battle against the slime on Satan 8a+ in the big roof at Vernayz, I don't remember much.  And I certainly cant piece it together in any sort of coherent order.  Fortunately one night I did a problem called Tommorow comes knocking which at 7c was the line that saved me from coming home without a 7c or above for the first time since Font in 1998 or so. So there it is a massivley unsuccesful climbing trip for the second time this year.  Roll on family holidays in Fontainbleau.  

The Ravioli Roof

7c+ at Vernayaz

Its a hard life

Dance de Balrogs

Cool 7b+ at not Balmaz

Sleeping with one eye open

After 30 goes we checked the topo, 6a I hope we were doing it wrong.  Vernayaz.  

James on Mrs Dick 7b

Jack on Something Somewhere

Jack on a classic 7a+

The local

Mill training coming in handy 

The Dru from Ugs Balcony

Awesome 7a+ at Vernayaz

Tommorow comes knocking 7c

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Down and up in Crafnant and the Ogwen

This week I went back to a old time line I wanted to do.  It doesn't get much more roadside than this, as you drive down the Ogwen from Bethesda to Capel there is a big lip on the right.  I first looked at it when I was doing a delivery in the Holland Arms van, so at the latest that is 2003.  It took a few years to make any headway on it.  Mainly as we only ever seemed to try it when the weather was dubious or we had been on the razz and failed to walk any further.  There are 2 or 3 happy sessions on it that I remember then one shit one unfortunately it was the shit one that I remember most as this is when I did it.  This hasn't happened to me before that I remember, normally its great to succeed but this week I just could not give a fuck.  I think its because:

  • I only went as far as the groove, climbed up till I was stood up and got a jug and then jumped down again.
  • The full line carries on up the lip and onto the slab, I know it does and I didn't climb it.  

So there we go, a shit day with success, weird huh?

Then I went to Crafnant, where Jack got the First ascent of his problem the Ratt Roof, I was glad that he made it after 2 years of injury or rain, he had spent a good few hours cleaning this on the first visit up there and I was encoraged by the fact that sometimes people will still stay off lines that others have put the time into.

Photo  -  Si Panton

Spiderman Turned up and did Special K, Grasswinds and Cruela, he agreed with me that Special K was the hardest.  Guess he must be shit too, although he did say he wouldn't use knees as they might tear his suit, I offered to lend him the knee pad but he muttered about a point of aid and refused to talk to me after that.  Although upon my return I would have to admit it is easier than I thought, especially with the extra foothold that has been cleaned at the start.


Monday, 27 February 2012

Trigger Happy

Trigger happy, that’s me. Once again the cave has sucked me in for the week. Its got to the point when I went there even though it was nice enough to climb in the hills… I have snuck up on her she hasn’t noticed its me so far and accidentally she’s letting me get to the top. I think yesterday its possible she noticed as I fell into one of her traps, expectation. She swiftly deployed a kick and I found myself unable to do the moves, worse still she greased up one of her holds and deposited me on my arse from a great height causing a rather sore cheek. I am deciding whether to turn the other cheek or to avoid her for a bit till she calms down.

Before that though I had a strange experience, sat in V12 it seemed a fools errand to go at all. The temperature was rising clouds were hugging the earth and driving down in the drizzle the Orme was covered in a claggy grey hat. As I turned down past the theatre it was blue sky and windy on the right hand side, strange days indeed. Instead of the gopping condensation I feared I found lovely cool breezy dry rock, further proof that prediction of condition is difficult best. The objective was Daisy from Concrete, an unrepeated Davies link. I had tried this in soapy condition after doing Halfway last week. Part of the attraction the cave is it does tempt you into believing you can add a different section, swapping starts and finishes, and keep on adding to it till you end up with something great. Although when you start to look to deeply at this it all seems a bit pointless, best not to dwell on it after all there is very little point to much of life, and I only make myself sad thinking about that. Anyway, first redpoint saw me drop the move to the little jug, I hit it a bit too far left and carried on swinging when I was supposed to stop. A rest and the next 2 redpoints were worse, this is when the pointlessness creeps into my brain, 4th go I felt great till a foot pop on the move before the little jug. Doylo’s words “if you ain't done it in 3 goes you wont do it” came into my head now. Some more resting and psyching up, 5th go dropped the first move which made a change to dropping the end, and 6th go made it through catching the little jug, and shockingly swinging off on the final jug. Gutted, sure that by now I had blown my wad I moved on and worked on the start of Crucial Times for an hour. I rested up for half an hour before trying it once again, mainly as a training exercise, but I did it instead, which was nice.

Next on the list was Broken Heart into Trigger Cut, after coming close on Friday I was shit on Sunday and did it on Monday.  Brilliant.  So this all brings me to the thorny issue of grades for these things, with Halfway Doylo had already done it so that was relatively simple for me.  Daisy I think is hard 8a maybe 8a+, certainly a bit harder than Halfway, and Broken Trigger is the hardest of the three for me, soft 8a+ with the knees?  Maybe or maybe I am wrong and they are all piss, who knows?  Certainly not me.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Halfway House

My blissful resurgence in love for the cave is continuing. This week I managed to do Halfway House, which is nice, even if as the name suggests it is a mere stepping stone to greater things.  An immediate shift to the bottom of Lou Ferrino sees where this will end up, however the seepage in there at present makes it all a bit hard.  Maybe in the summer...  For the time being its great, you don't often get to the top of a new problem in here, in fact a day where you do a move for the first time is good never mind a problem. 

I also revisited Clyde for the first time in a long time.  It feels like maybe the cave will let me have this one soon, as long as I am a good boy and behave myself.  The gathering of Karma has begun with simple offerings to the crag gods.  The removal of litter from the cave, people can say what they like about it not being climbers that dump shit here, all I can say is its mainly old rags, chalk balls and finger tape so obviously its the local piss heads. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Cave + Hills = Happy

Days off dawned bright and sunny once more and finally Wales seems to be having a season.  I had rested for four whole days, and as normal I was shit first day on.  Normally this level of punter-dom would have annoyed me, this week I decided not to care.  Recently I have realised its going climbing I love, not sitting stressing about the hardest thing I can possibly do.  Obviously these little battles and sieges are a big part of working towards your limits and surpassing these is massively satisfying, but and its a big but, single minded determination is sharp on both sides, for me its good to relax and smell the roses sometimes.  So I headed out and put some effort into a project, used the best of my skin and energy before heading up to meet a team at the Mallory boulder.  After an amusing chat with an elderly lady about carrying mats all the way up the hill just to boulder, quote of the day:

"we just landed on the floor, mind you I suppose we occasionally broke our ankles"  

 I reached the bloc just as Si and Doylo were leaving the cars, which meant I could hang around and watch this sweaty mess storm through the heather cursing the walk.  After some attempts on Cosmic Wheels a great 7c/+ that I first climbed in 2002ish, and a few throws on Will, Huffys great 8a (I think it is anyway)  

Huffy on the first ascent.  I completed my aforementioned relaxing with a lovely Stella and a Stella view. 

After a few beers at the crag I retreated home and had a few more before hitting the heights for a few more and great plans were made for the following day, there was no one who wouldn't be out and no where that we couldn't go.  Suffice to say my recent sobriety saw me hammered, and at 8 am I checked to see if it was dry it wasn't and I felt like shit, so back to bed to try again in a couple of hours.  After a bacon butty, coffee and some ibuprofen I was back to a slightly less sweaty mess, with a sinking heart and a banging head I was put in Joe's van and taken to the Cave,   

Louis Armstrong 8b
Horror struck deep into my bones, here I was in this place once again, after a few years of avoidance it keeps on coming back to this climb inside or climb in the cave.  On arrival it was fairly dismal, but with much repeating of  "oh yes sticky damp" the team got stuck in, Jack surprised himself by almost doing Left wall High and Lou Ferrino, Joe got stuck in with redpoints on Lou Ferrino, finally free of the hernia that has stopped him trying for a while.  I amused myself by going from the start of Left wall to the start of Rockattrocity, which I instantly claimed was a problem in its own right that should be known as Pil 7c/+, Pete arrived and got rid of the /+ for me.  After this I dropped the last move of Halfway House due to it being sopping wet.  It appears that Cave Psyche is back for both Jack and I, and instantly we went back the next day, after dropping the last moves 3 more times in fairly horrific conditions I decided it wasn't a random fluke which made me happy.          

Lou Ferrino 7c+

Hold drying on Trigger Cut

All in all a great set of days off, the cave is back on my agenda, and it feels like this year I might even get one of the bigger lines done, I did get keen last week when I wrote that list.  Hopefully this time I will focus and follow through with one link rather than flutter about before doing another Lou Ferrino eliminate.  Still they are good.  

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Well as promised the weather was mintier than a mint with a hole.  After a couple of solitary days projecting, I walked into a large team being marshalled by General Panton, so I decided to tag along first up was the in vouge Craig Y Llyn, a few nice lines to warm up on in the sun, Voie normal was good and gavs problem up the hill was tricky.  We then headed up the road to Elephantitus, I love this crag but havent been much in the last few years.  You know the score ticked the crag so what's the point?  The point is everything is wonderful, after Elephantitus and Down on an Elephant I tinkered with Crossing through on Cross therapy, a couple of goes saw the move done and to my surprise it was still awesome.  After watching Caff use about a million holds where I use three the rest are too small you see; I realised why I my grades are out, its cos everyone else does different problems. On the Tusk where I originally did 3 moves to the top it appears you now do 6 and get a big heel hook.  Although to be fair this method is totally legit, I must have been good at jumping back then as I certainly didn't feel I would be doing do it that way again any time soon.  The best bit of Caffs sequence is that you actually use the cool slopers and after a bit of messing about I did it again with a combo of both methods.  Something in the training is working as on the big move of Downset I instantly hit the lip, after 4 goes I was sure that I could do it again, fortunately I didn't instead joining Neil on the sloppy lip to the left of the finish of Elephantitus, in the past whenever I had tried this I was climbing straight out from the back to the slopes which is not very good, as a finish to elephantitus it was cool, going at a tenuous 7b+ which  I called The Old Buccaneer, the better line would be to do Down on an Elephant into this but unfortunately I fell of and kicked Neil in the nuts, this must have been the second most unpleasant thing that happened to Neil that day the first being swimming in the lake.  He really is a bit special that one.  

The Old Buccaneer Photo Si Panton

Neil rapidly realising its really cold

The following day was beautiful again and wilting arms and thin skin were traipsed up the hill to Sheep Pen, a long and lovely day spent  ticking all the class problems while watching Pete get close to Kingdom of Pain, The highlight for me was the second? ascent of Hocks problem Rumplestiltskin, after my messing around Pete flashed it and suggested it was easier than 7c, big surprise he thought it was 7b+.  I thought its the best conditions ever and a line that relies on heels and smallish crimps, so there you go.  I also re climbed my line up the prow to the left Terrapin which was better than I remembered, I thought this was a lot easier than the traverse and probably 7b rather than the 7b+ I gave it originally, (it was summer) again Pete flashed it and commented for anyone smaller than him it would be harder, but I am not smaller than him, so there you go again.

Cheers to Ollie Cain for the photos I am about to copy and paste!

Jack on The Pinch 7a

Neil on Pinch to Inch

Doing Gnasher Right hand 7a

And some video of stuff: