Saturday, 12 November 2016

A matter of values.


There was another minor retro-bolting debacle at Ratho Quarry. Ho hum. I didn't even notice it until B pointed it out during a mutual sieging session on the notoriously addictive grey stamina circuit at TCA, and once I did, I didn't feel it enriched my life in any way. Basically Buz put up a new 7b or c or something up an old Robbie Philips / Lincoln / Small project that included two bolts in an old, starred E3, and an "enhanced" hold. There are many things to say about this of varying lack of interest, such as Smally popping his head out of his dark horse's stable to condemn the matter, Buz once again thinking he could get away with it by not having any public consultation and present it as a fait d'accompli, and the usual myopic morons (and an off-target McGeek) throwing a spanner into the works with such red herrings as dismissing anti-retro-bolting concerns because apparently approving a lower-off on Pettifar's Wall to avoid the grim and created-by-the-M8 extension earth cornice is "hypocritical". What, as hypocritical as abseil points at the Cromlech, Martin Crocker suggesting pre-placed belay ropes in the Rhinnogs, an abseil chain at Sharpnose, recommended pre-placed belay ropes at Carn Gowla, bolt lowers before the unclimbable shale band at Anglezarke?? It takes a special kind of fucking imbecile to think that lower-offs are incompatible with trad climbing, but the Scottish sport climbing scene seems to attracts such idiots like flies around dogshit.

The upshot of it all is that - ignoring the chipped hold / heavily cleaned break for now, something probably quite similar to the ""heavily cleaned"" holds on John McCain F6b (I'm quite proud of my UKC factual analysis "If you want man-made routes, the ones inside the arena are usually better") - it boils down to one bolt that should have been placed 2' to one side, making the 7c a bit more run out on 6b ground and the bolt suitably off-route for the E3, something which is quite bloody obvious and would have avoided all the fuss if Buz had actually bothered to consult a selection of the climbing public rather than just Ratho Wall regulars. SIGH.

What is of more interest is discussing this with Craig on a trip over to inspect the nonsense, get rained off, and enjoy those man-made routes inside the arena (a particularly nice red 7a with slopers). He - possibly with his mind addled by the ominous and imminent onset of "Scottish Winter Season" - whilst not supporting retro-bolting, expressed a more relaxed attitude to the ethics of the situation because (forgive me Craig if I paraphrase this wrong) "they are just grotty quarries and local training crags". Obviously this is fallacious reasoning as a reductio ad absurdum would see Master's Edge etc bolted, but his further explanation was that size, grandeur and the beauty of the mountain environment are what he truly values in rock climbing, and even I am forced to admit that for all their 3 star qualities, Shear Fear and Wally 1 don't really have those.

This highlights an interesting difference in values. The ethical side isn't of much debate - good trad climbs are good trad climbs and shouldn't be fucked with without a lot of due consideration and consultation. But what makes climbs really mean something to someone?? Ben Moon or was it Malc "didn't climb to be in beautiful places", and I don't either. I climb to have beautiful trad experiences and that can be finally committing above the skyhooks and RPs on crisp dolerite edges in the mid-December sun on Wally 2, despite being sandwiched in by the monstrous fire escape, the EICA arena, and the distant hum of the M8, or it can be slotting in the next satisfying jam (#16 in a series of 40) on the soaring Whispering Crack, alone with PJ, the mid-summer sun and the endless serenity of the ocean and distant Hebrides. Of course, I like beautiful places, but the main value of my rock-climbing doesn't depend on that, it depends on the intrinsic quality of the climbs themselves, and the surroundings are an enhancement.

Similarly, for me size isn't everything. According to some people you "can't have 3 star boulder problems". Funny that, I thought I'd done hundreds of them (including a couple of national class problems in a grotty local training quarry). At once extreme, climbing is still just Training For The Greater Ranges, the bigger and grander the better, irrespective of the actual climbing qualities of the climb. At the other extreme, climbing is now just cross-training for the Beastmaker and it all boils down to the move, the challenge, the incremental progression. I'm somewhere in-between, but I do errrr towards the joy of movement and technicality and the quality of the climb rather than the setting, context, history etc. So yes, Wally 1 is brilliant whether it's in Ratho or Reiff, the laybacking on Shear Fear is great 10m above a quarry floor or 100m above a mountain hillside, Nijinski is as unjustifiable to ruin by top-roping adjacent to a carpark as it would be high on a Yorkshire moor - these experiences all have value.

Of course, by Craig's values, stricter ethics should apply to the mountains and wilderness and presumably Tunnel Wall and Creag Nan Cadhag and the wee crag beyond Ardmair should be de-bolted. Coel already advocated that for Creag Nan Cadhag, and they may have a point - not necessarily one I agree with, but it's always nice to have people taking stronger ethical stances, maybe doing so will keep the Ratho-style nonsense at bay.

Finally...
 A very trad climb with a bolted lower-off in a grotty quarry.
A convenient bolted sport climb in a wild beautiful environment.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Bristol Calling.


Training - the way I do it, only semi-structured, bouldering and routes indoors, but pushing myself and my limits hard, listening to my body, working some weaknesses, keeping some awareness of relevance - is fun. The pleasure of playing with movement, piecing together puzzles, crushing challenges. But it's also training for something. Sometimes that's something specific, upcoming trips, particular plans or route inspirations. Sometimes it's just keeping strong and fit, which is a worthy goal in itself. My mate PK, a semi-recent convert to not training and not pushing himself at all, sometimes berates me "yeah wot u training for tho?". Well not being weak and unfit and useless for a start!! 

So there came a time recently when my TCA sessions turned into a Ratho session full of surprisingly decent performance and easy falling practise which was confirmation that a planned Bristol trip was inspiring again. This was in theory going to coincide with getting to Cornwall in colder conditions and getting on crisp granite, but it didn't, alas that will have to wait for next spring, hopefully a reasonable grit season will be enough preparation for that. In the meantime I took advantage of much more local climbing and a much cheerier vibe than one would ever find around the Central Belt, as well as splitting the journey up following some inspiration from the shiny new Lancashire Brick (more on that almost excellent volume later). So it went a bit like this:

EKU28 or The Russian at Wilton 4 (since they are essentially the same route in a "use the crimp with your left, or right, hand" sort of way). This was highlighted in the Wilton 4 clean-up film earlier this year and despite a slightly green appearance, it was in the fabled "mint nick". A lovely wee solo, probably E2 5b.



Fiend Alone with Jeanette, Pots And Pans Quarries. An old inspiration from an old photo. Another E2-ish 5b solo in another minor quarry. This one was a bit eliminate avoiding the arete, but smearier and scarier. Reaching the top in the encroaching gloom, whilst actually alone, was quite satisfying.

Whilst I was down in Bristol, PK made good on his long term threat to take me to the Frome Valley sandstone. This is esoteric and specialist even by my perverted tastes, although admittedly the climbing would be quite fun if it was clean. Maybe his imminent guide will replace cobwebs with chalk and moss patches with polish? This wee route for example, was 6m of juggy roof climbing. Not bad for something 20 yards from a busy footpath. That busy footpath saw the farcical scene of PK and I hurtling along it at dusk, trailing gear, rucsacs and 50m of rope, frantically trying to escape the above wasp that was cunningly embedded inside my vest. One emergency disrobing and 8 stings later it met it's well deserved fate. The stings were itching for days, the wee cunt.


Two fun sport routes at The Gap. The first is a groove, the second is an arete. Two sides of the same feature, I like that. Both very nice fun routes that belie an initial slightly flakey and grubby vibe, very typical of the area which has seen minor quarries transformed into worthwhile sport venues. Very soon these will transform into overrated honeypots due to an imminent Rockfax guide. Unfortunately the same PK was due to write a proper independent / local activists guide to the area but other parties didn't get organised in time, so this Rockfax purchase will actually be justifiable for a change.  


Crimpy sandstone sport climbing is quite fair training for crimpy quarried grit trad climbing, as evidenced by a fun start to a glorious Saturday at Lower Montcliffe. Unfortunately this fun turned sour as we were kicked off this delightfully sunny but newly owned quarry, albeit after a conversation that turned from typically bullheaded "git orf my land" to a useful discussion of possible progress, respect, and future access with permission. It turns out the situation is somewhat more complicated and hopefully will get resolved sooner rather than later, as LM is a fine example of hidden gems away from the big Lancashire venues. Big venues such as Anglezarke where we finished off the day with a couple of decent routes although frustratingly a re-failure on Tangerine Trip, approximately 0.5 inches from the finishing handjam after me climbing, and pushing past terminal pump, surprisingly well. At least I'm now experienced enough to know that if this is E3 then Supercrack and Wilton Wall are solid HVSes....so it's not. Still I came away from the weekend with enough inspiration for more Lancs suntraps until it gets cold enough for proper grit (i.e. not long probably!)

Missed off this list was a bit more sport dicking around, and an exciting day at Avon doing Yellow Edge (apparently suitable for ambitious E2 leaders, I think I'm a decade and a half beyond that and it was tough, sustained and dangerous as an E3 thanks) and Last Slip (apparently suitable for people who find grit E4 5cs easy and also ignore guidebook bullshit like "lots of small wires". Yeah, lots. All 2 of them. In the same fucking shallow slot. Well below your feet on the 5c quarryman bridging crux. Thankfully the weather was crisp enough to get it done with a lot of deep breaths and my eyes half-closed). An evening celebrating with Kwak beer and a fantastic amount of in-house cats at the Bag Of Nails pub went down very well.

I also got to Fairy Cave and didn't get halfway up Balch's Slide.....but I know someone who did....


HPI Savage XS Bristol Bash!

Back in the game.


This post is proudly brought to you by...
...slightly compensating for Fiend's fucking awful skin since October 2016. Any products mentioned in this post will be subject to 100% bias on that basis.

Somehow I underestimated the time it took me to get back into training and climbing. Usually due to legs, weight, damp-susceptibility etc, any more than one rest day results in doubling number of days on  (either outdoor climbing or alternating indoor wall with general exercise) to get back to my previous form. 2 days off, 4 days on required. 3 days off, 6 days on required. Approximately. Anyway this time it wasn't so bad. It turns out that while toy soldier painting videos are bloody terrible warm-ups for training, disassembling and reassembling RC cars with constant fiddling and screwing (uhuh) is a pretty decent warm-up for the fingers. I expect to see Dave Mac espousing this pretty soon.

On the other hand it doesn't seem to make a great different to skin quality so that was an immediate frustration down at TCA, resulting in a useful discussion with TCA's High Empress Jackie in which she recommended regular, rather than sporadic Anti-Hydral use. Years ago I got a bit over-excited when fatdoc from UKB started importing AH, and bought 6 tubes of it, which I've probably used a handful of "emergency" times in the intervening decade. I always thought it shouldn't be relied on and was a specialist treatment only for real weirdos with freakishly bad skin.

Of course, I AM that real weirdo with freakishly bad skin.

What an idiot - what the fuck have I been doing for the last decade??

So I've started using it - tiny spots rubbed into my tips before bed - most days a week with a day or two off, and fuck me it works. My skin isn't feeling dry, or leathery, or hard....it's feeling fucking NORMAL. N O R M A L. What a revelation. This had the amusing side-effect of going down to TCA, not greasing off the holds, and falling off them cos I couldn't hang on. It's amazing how much WEAKNESS is exposed when it's not masked by excessive sweating. Then pretty soon, since I was pushing the limits of my muscles not the coefficient of damp friction, I started feeling pretty decent pushing myself at the wall - as well as increasingly psyched to see how well normal skin would do on the rock. Of course my own personal damp is not the only moisture around and Saturday's forecast is saying no grit visit this weekend :(. But in the meantime I can keep training okay - at the moment I'm sticking mostly to bouldering to start the winter, and will transition to routes and stamina later on.

Also pushing the limits of friction is this wee beast:


Savage XS Skatepark Smash

This sort of relaxed driving style is why it needs so much maintenance and what keeps my fingers warmed up pre-climbing ;)


Friday, 14 October 2016

Obsession Futile


Of the many carefully cultivated and nurtured personality defects I've accumulated over the decades that are specifically detrimental to climbing (inhibiting aspects from keeping fit to keeping friendly contacts), one would assume that obsessive tendencies would be the least worrying. I certainly obsess about climbing a "little" bit, but as I once said to my good friend Potty, my main problem is I'm not nearly obsessed enough, although perhaps what I mean is that my obsession can be deflected elsewhere, again into the realms of climbing detriments.

This time it's all the fault of another good friend Jo, who I had a couple of nice days out with down in Bristol, and who revealed to me the shocking confession that she was "quite into" painting toy soldiers, but frustrated about not being good enough and could I offer any advice?? Well if I'd had paints and brushes with me I could have done so quite easily, but I didn't....but this still swerved my obsession wildly away from the true path of climbing and into a desire to share the painting geekdom.

So I got back to Glasgow and did fuck all climbing and training and instead did a series of 14 fucking painting tutorial videos (each one taking about 2 hours total painting, filming, and editing) which is great for anyone who wants to know about colour schemes and blending and brush angles and a whole host of tips and tricks picked up from a couple of decades doing this very strictly tangential hobby, but utterly fucking useless for keeping me fit and strong and trying to rectify the uninspired mood I came back with.

What a bellend.

Still I've learnt something. Don't do it again.

In other obsessive news, I've still been enjoying my wee car:


https://vimeo.com/186073318

I've actually upped my success rate in that I'm having more full battery runs where I don't break something than those that I do. And I clocked it at 37mph the other day, it should be able to do a bit faster out of the box, but being well over the speed limit is pleasing enough, and it's a bugger to control at that speed with a stopping distance akin to a full size car. I don't feel nearly as.....soiled by this geekout, as it takes less time farting around, gets me out in the fresh air and is more social etc etc. Even if sometimes you just can't get the staff...

Still no excuses now, I've got to get back training. It would help if I knew for what. I've been so scared of still being shite at climbing and not having the confidence to get on the things I want to do, I don't actually know what I *do* want to do... Answers on a postcard to the usual email address.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Three Funerals And A Model Shop


This summer started with a funeral and a model shop, and it finished with a funeral and a model shop. That has a certain circularity, or symmetry, something I generally like. A sort of ontological neatness, of little consequence in the grand scheme of things, but pleasing to certain peculiar individuals. The climb that swallows all your cams but the only one needed for the belay (two left just wouldn't do), the last minute pub that has run out of most dishes except one meat dish for me and one veggie dish for some good-friend-but-dietary-freak I'm with, the road closed detour on the way back from a crag that takes me past a boulder that I've got just enough daylight to do, no more and no less, the Zillertal trip that starts with an evening doing a classic F6a+ at Ewige Jagdgründe, lustily eyeing up the amazing F6c+ next to it, and fuelling my desire in the Gasthof-Restaurant Perauer, and finishes with me fighting up that very same F6c+ as the last route at Ewige Jagdgründe, and celebrating the ascent at the same Gasthof-Restaurant Perauer. Do you see what I mean??

In general I would have preferred there to be less funerals involved in the whole procedure and I am somewhat tired of them - being familiar with the process is not something I'd really aspired to. Too many funerals is symptomatic of too many deaths and there have been a lot around me this year (apparently there have been many celebrity deaths too, however I'd have to calculate some 1/ anti-number to show just how few shits I give about that, and it might break blogspot). Simon's death made me shocked (his funeral being the early outlier of the summer bookends), and I still have moments of wondering when we'll next hook up for climbing before realising....oh fuck, we won't. Rachel's death had a sad sense of inevitability as it unfolded, but still felt strange. Asad Shah's death made me very angry about the sheer pointless stupidity of killing a nice, decent, if quirky man - his shop is less than 100m from my front door and was the regular stop off for soft drinks and emergency chocolate. Uncle Fred's death brought sad but calm acceptance, celebration of a life well lived, and a strengthening of family ties.

Mia's death made me feel utterly sick. I've been friends with Rosie for a decade and used to hang out regularly around the Peak District, enjoying her feisty banter and Mia's sparky, spirited presence. I found out via Rosie's emergency Facebook post while I was away climbing in Cornwall and it "did my fucking head in" for several days. It's simply the worst thing that could happen to a parent, I couldn't comprehend it and could barely comprehend how Rosie managed to be so communicative and informative. Everyone always says how lovely and wonderful children are and blindly sing their praises in any circumstances. I don't - in general I find breeding repugnant, parenthood an awful concept, and children pointless wee shitebags. But as I said then and say now, Mia really was an ace girl, astute and clever beyond her years, as well as being sharp-witted and gorgeous. Another pointless, stupid killing of someone who least deserved it, and I really don't want to see anyone else I know on the BBC News website for now.

Rosie has many vials of Mia's ashes, at some point I will get one to scatter at a crag in Northumberland where I first hung out with them - I think it's either Back Bowden or Kyloe Out in the first photograph of Mia in my bomber jacket in this article - if anyone can Id it then I can get the right crag, or maybe just a wee bit at both. And several boulder problems in her honour of course.

Mia's memorial service was the end of the summer, Fred's was the first. Fred was the co-founder of Steve Webb Models And Hobbies , where I hung out in my youth and glued balsa to my face and sliced into my fingers (a main finger ridge scar still being an annoying exacerbance to my continual skin problems), but didn't actually get involved in the radio control part of the hobby as my parents (rightly) thought I couldn't be trusted with such complex kits. My tribute to Fred highlighted the importance of hobbies and passions, although of course the shop was closed. It was, however, open when I drove from Llandridod Wells - where I had been nu-routing with Pylon King and Don Sargeant in the Elan Valley as well as fending off Don's relentlessly demented spaniel Cadi - to Wirksworth for the service. So a couple of decades late I treated myself to my first R/C car....



It is a blast, ridiculously fast and agile, although the learning curve is steeper than the skate ramp in that video. I've only broken two suspension ends, an axle, a suspension arm and suspension shaft in as many runs.... But it's all part of the fun even if R/C spare parts stores are swamping my bookmarks. I fully intend to strap an MP3 player and speaker on top and terrorise local quarries with pounding gabber once I've fixed the shocks. Well....maybe ;) Actually one of my main inspirations was getting out into the local limestone quarries near Bristol....vast gravelly wastelands, loads of raised hummocks and easy angled slabs, they'd be absolutely perfect. Pity I'm 400 cunting miles away now. Camby will have to do, but when I head back, I'm bagging the first R/C ascent of stuff like this:



This is Glacial Point at Fairy Cave. Definitive borderline E3/4 5c/6a and rather good fun with a pretty smeary crux. This was a pleasing micro-challenge but fairly indicative of the bumbly depths I had to sink to when my stamina, confidence, and skin dryness disappeared entirely up my arse. The list of inspiring routes I abandoned all hope on in the last month of being down South is probably longer than the list of great routes I did during the first month, so it was a fairly tail-between-legs end to my time down there. More on that later, but in the meantime I'm taking a week or so off climbing, which will then necessitate a full month of fighting hard to get back into it. Such is my climbing fragility.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Zillertal Beta.


Another slightly off-piste destination - in summer at least, in winter I'm sure it's well pisted. Is it worth it?? If you really want to climb amongst endless Alpine scenery of mountains, forests, and hillside cabins, with convenient logistics from the Mayrhofen resort including a hearty diet of - yup again - schnitzel und weissbier, all with the irresistable soundtrack of cowbells, it could be for you.

The climbing:
Is essentially a blend of sport climbing that is essentially "the best of Scottish sport-climbing" i.e. good but sub-world-class climbs on decent inland schistose / granitic gneiss, with more aesthetic and striking bouldering circuits in delightful locations.

Route-wise it wasn't as special in the F6s as Pfalz / Bohuslan / Pedriza, but it was good and varied and would be a novelty for sassenachs who have never visited Creag Nan Luch / Cadhag / Goat Crag etc. The harder grade routes do look more spectacular but given everything is undergraded anyway, expect a tough time.

Boulder-wise the plethora of tumbled blocs (including some very recently tumbled ones at Sundergrund providing some cool new lines) provide more distinct lines in a wild variety of situations from along river beds (and actually in the rivers) to forested hillsides, to charming Alpine meadows. I would suggest the bouldering is slightly more inspiring, combining both is definitely recommended.

The guidebook.
Is fairly hopeless in many ways including having small scale maps that are inconsistent with large scale maps, estimating walk-in times by rolling a random selection of dice, describing approaches as following "the path" but not telling you which one of the 25 available, describing bad parking options, not mentioning road tolls or cable car fees, neglecting information like sun/shade orientation and likely rain-shelter, making up grades with numbers left over from the approach time debacle, and drawing topo lines where the author thinks routes might go if viewed from a distance whilst drunk, rather than actually following the distinct bolt lines. But it has a plentiful selection of crags and boulders.

Weather:
Alpine summer. It can be hot or rainy but rarely both at once and the latter seems to rarely last long despite summer months being the slightly wetter ones. The classic European tactic of getting hotter and hotter until a couple of days of clearing storms seems a feasible one. The crags are fairly high up and cover a variety of situations including shade, shelter, exposure etc so even though the weather is not guaranteed dry, it should be manageable.

Transport:
Flight to wherever. We went to Munich which is about 2 hours away or 3 hours if you're cutting it fine for the flight and don't want a fuckload of delays and roadworks and get them anyway. Mayrhofen is about an hour from Innsbruck and about 30 mins South of the main A12 autobahn. Some car hire companies charge cross border fees and you need a special 8 Euro access sticker to get from .de to .at.

Accommodation etc:
Mayrhofen is the hub of the area and has everything you need. Good price off-season apartments / hostels / hotels etc in or around it, rough river-side camping further up past Ginzling. There may be other campsites.

Other activities:
In winter it's a well-established resort. In summer it's a seemingly equally established hub of fair weather activities, including vast quantities of walking, cycling, downhill scootering, paragliding, cable car touring, spas, summer bobsleighs etc etc. You might even have time to climb too...

The photos:
 View by day.

 View at most times.

 View by night.

 A minor problem amongst major ones, but what a setting!

 Pulling on a pancake. There are some harder mega-lines around Sundergrund.

 Ewige Jagdgründe is probably the coolest crag in the area for all sorts of reasons...

 ....access, setting, scenery, climbing, etc etc.

 £15 cable car round trip to climb up at Knorren. Well worth it.

 I'd happily get cable cars to climb all the time. Cool fresh air at 2100m too.

 Can't see the forest for the trees? Luckily the crags usually stand fairly clear.

 More Ewige Jagdgründe. Very fun juggy warm-up.

 And more! Terrible image quality  as it was actually pitch dark, but this route was the highlight of the trip. There may have even been a couple of power belches.

 Typical evening view after bouldering.

Typical evening view after sport climbing.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A fine line...


...between success and failure, between love and hate, between good and evil, between evocative personal prose and eyeball-vomitingly self-indulgent flowery drivel. But other bloggers do a far better job of the latter than me and I hopefully retain enough awareness to restrain the drivel a bit.

The fine line I'm referring to is between a climbing challenge that is enthralling and engrossing and a climbing challenge that is draining and demoralising. Despite a respectable veneer of bumbledon and - so I've been told - an illusionary impression of calm competence, I'm often pushing along that line, or at least trying to. And with such fineness, it's the little things that cause you to swerve from one side to the other. Nearly a year ago I was on the former side of the line on the best lead of my life on The Long Run at Gogarth, a few days ago I was on the latter side of the line on the hardest lead of my life on Black Magic at Pentire. The little thing was conditions, perfect on TLR with a fresh cool breeze after all day sun, arduous on BM with a humid breeze after all day haze.

Cathedral is a very good descriptor. It's a very slightly off-vertical cathedral though.

I probably shouldn't have been on it, and it's all Duncan's fault that I was. We were down there with the indefatiguable Cheque Pictures, filming Duncan returning to Eroica for a fully free ascent 37(!) years after his standard aid-point ascent. This all went rather smoothly with the crux dispatched with all the flamboyant power-whooping you'd expect from Mr Critchley, although when I came to follow it (a *very* rare occasion of me following a harder route, mostly because Eroica had never been on my wishlist) I struggled to see how he'd dispatched the greasy, minimally-featured crux and subsequent death-defying teeter on lead. The general difficulty and poor conditions were reassuring - definitely not a day to try anything hard like a lifetime ambition right at my limit or any nonsense like that. 

Relief mixed with sandwiches and general Atlantic coast discussion at the bottom of the crag, but I kept walking down and touching the Black Magic starting holds and looking at the fine line of the horizon which seemed to be a lot clearer and less hazy than previously. I'd been wanting to do this route for decades ever since the triptych photo of Ken Palmer rocking over (unspeakably bad beta of course) but surely I wasn't ready for it now. I went for a power-shit around the corner just in case and came back to this:

Duncan: How are you feeling??

Me: Kinda nauseous and wobbly really...

Duncan: Well, that's natural isn't it, you're bound to feel like that before a big challenging lead.

Me: Oh for fuck's sake, damn you old school climbers who know what it's all about, that's exactly the right thing to say, now I have to try it!!

He could have said some inane shite like "Just man the fuck up and get on it" or some wishy-washy cop-out like "Well you can always leave it till later", but no, he had to say the right thing, the right mixture of sense and understanding (which didn't quite extend to the 20 year old general beta - also unspeakably bad, but that didn't matter ;)). 

So I did it and the haze came back in and by the time I got to the belay the distant headlands were barely visible and although it was climbable it certainly wasn't crisp and this had the experience teetering from the undiluted pleasure of TLR to something darker and deeper and I got mid-way though the crux after half a dozen goes trying to commit to it and just wanted to drop off as my emotions were frayed and decided I might as well drop off doing the move which of course I didn't as climbing isn't usually as hard as committing and then it was just a methodical process of infinite 5c moves and sore toes and spaced RPs up the flake and really that was just fucking ace.

White magic.