Sunday, 28 December 2008

Reasons to be cheerful #1.

In 3 hours time I will be driving out of Sheffield.
In 8 hours time I will be checking in at Dover.
In 15 hours time I will be stuck in traffic around Paris.
In 18 hours time I will be climbing Font.
The forecast is dry, mostly sunny, and very cold.
The ferry cost £41 return.
We've got a spare (nice, spacious) gite due to someone pulling out.
I'm going with a two friends, one of them my best friend.
It should be cold enough so I can climb well without stressing my elbow.
I've eaten plenty enough over Xmas to insulate me from the cold.

That's 10 pretty good reasons :). Right, time to unpack from London, pack for Font, go for a run, eat dinner, and chill for a bit. Word.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Chrimbo Limbo.

Kinda what I'm in at the moment. I feel somewhat like a headless turkey in both life and climbing....but a slow-motion headless turkey.

The Sulky Little Boys debacle perhaps being symptomatic of that. Having spent many good grit days AND many rainy wall evenings doing little of my own climbing and a lot of hanging out with climbing friends old and new - not a bad thing in itself - I summoned enough inspiration to try really hard at something. Immediately after I though "Well I won't bother going back". Now I'm almost tempted to. Foolish whims!

I guess I'm not really sure what I want at the moment. I'd intended to go down the micro-route-solo, err, route for a while, but never really got started with that (and I know enough friends and acquaintances breaking bits already this winter, which has struck a due note of wariness and caution within my skull...). Then I got a bit stronger and a little bit healed and have been quite keen on bouldering, but without any particular purpose. So in the meantime it's all turned a bit pottery and I'm feeling perhaps I should be a bit more SYKED for stuff. I'm never a big fan of "shoulds" in climbing....but I do think a bit more focus would be good for me, within reason of course. And then there's the Lleyn Mission and a one month deadline for that, hmmmm...

Apart from SLB (I think I'm learning something there about how much effort I can put into a project - although not quite sure WHAT I'm learning), there have been few events of note. Perhaps the most pleasing one being going out clubbing for the first time in ages: Captain Buttttters and I got SYKED up to go to see the mighty Surgeon in Sheffield a few weeks back, for a two hour examination and healthy medicinal dose of thumping beats and industrial tinkerings...


Drum'n'bass is still my main love, but good techno is pretty damn awesome too, as was this night. Definitely up for more of that in the new year.

Also in the new year, hopefully a skiing trip soon - well keen for that, even more so than a climbing trip!! Maybe other plans too, will post soon.

Edit: apologies for using the word "Chrimbo" - one of those ghastly popular Radio1-DJ style bits of irritating idiot-speak - but the title took precedence.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Today I drove back to the Slipstones to attempt Sulky Little Boys again, exactly a month after my previous session on it.

3+ hours driving
£20 in fuel
3+ hours attempting that one problem
5 tender fingers
2 bleeding tips
1 month setback on my elbow healing

Was it worth it?


I didn't do the problem, I didn't particularly enjoy the process of trying, and I learnt very little about climbing nor myself. However, apart from a few briefly very fustrating moments getting extremely close to the finishing pocket, I didn't particularly dislike trying it, nor am I particularly upset about not doing it despite the vast amounts of effort put in. I am a bit upset about how much my elbow hurts afterwards, given on the last session it was okay - although this session was considerably longer and harder on me.

Other than that, it is what it is, i.e. very hard for me and I didn't do it this time... Although I got a much better sequence, albeit too late - I finished trying well into it being pitch black! Which incidentally gave one issue of note: on the final night time attempts, with holds scarcely visible, I managed to get most limbs smoothly into the desired position without being able to see them, clearly a function of intimate familiarity with how it feels. Which was interesting.

Overall....I just feel tired after this. Tired and neutral. I might not have done it, but at least was a hollow defeat...

Friday, 12 December 2008

Uplifting update!

I have a friend who is a good, strong, dedicated grit boulderer with a particular penchant for hidden gems and new lines. In his honour and occasionally in his company, I sometimes scout out for new projects and problems in the Peak district, and surprisingly, despite the popularity of the area and the predatory teams that lurk around with similar intent, most of the time I (or we) find something fresh and worthwhile. Most of these are too hard for me, but not always.

On one such scouting mission in the rainy summer we found this neat little wall at Chasecliffe crag near Cromford. The lack of any chalk in the overhung slots indicated it's virginity, ripe for the taking. It was left for one side I'd planned to go out with the chirpy Shauna, but early clag and general mizzle promised very little. A hunch that the Cratcliffe area might be drier than the main peak was soon de-hunched as it was just as dank there, as it was at Chasecliffe itself.

However! The wall itself was just dry enough, and some judicious heavy chalking (soon to be washed off with tonight's forecast) made it climbable. A brisk bit of warming up and on with the action... The lines turned out to be much easier than they'd looked before - reassuring for me and my elbow - and a few attempts saw the problems below dispatched. Only an obvious eliminate remained, but proper drizzle encouraged a tactical retreat to Wirksworth's excellent Le Mistral cafe/bar (good croque monsieur and fine cappucino - strong enough and plenty of froth). Not bad for a pissy day!

^^^ above photos are on Mistral V3 6a, up the centre of the wall. The left arete is Geek Passion V2 5c/6a ( Video here ), an eliminate line just right of Mistral will go at V4/5, and the right arete is a steady V1 5b (no bridging), traverse V2 5c-ish. All from obvious sitters off jugs.
Directions: Approach Chasecliffe from the parking at the first bend on Chadwick Nick Lane, the wall is just above the Chasecliffe boulder.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Tick tock tick tock.

I am still alive.

I am still lazy.