Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Blog Of Crush.

...maybe I should rename this?? Because I think I'm doing alright with my climbing at the moment :). Two contrasting days around this weekend demonstrated this in a reassuring manner.

On one day, I went bouldering:

...and continued my run of pulling down fairly hard for someone who has spent a year crippled by injury. I'd very briefly tried Hitch Hikers @ Kyloe In The Woods a couple of years ago, it seemed rather hard but maybe feasible. Thus I went back on a whim and on a forecast of howling winds - the latter was indeed the case, I had to wear a t-shirt + hoodie + body warmer + downie just to unpack the mats from the car. In The Woods it was more sheltered but still fresh and flavoursome. I did a really nice warm up of the looonnnng traverse at the far right, then set up base camp beneath HH.

The first goes were somewhat demoralising - initially I could barely hold the crucial sidepull for a couple of seconds, just enough time to get my feet in woefully inadequate places and fall off. Despite the conditions and vibe it all felt overly brutal. Hmmm. Weak!! Dear me. The only course of action was to fight fire with....vacuum. I lay on the mats gazing at the problem for a good while, and after this tactical chillage, pulling on felt a lot easier. Eventually I could experiment with footholds (there are many options within a square foot on this problem!), and found one that worked - straight away I could easily hold and match the side-pull. It was on...

Tick tock, the clock strikes Send O'Clock :)

Naturally, for a problem that revolves around crucial left arm tension (as well as crucial left footholds), it hardly hurt my injured left arm at all. A little bit of mild pain afterwards, and hardly any the next day. On the other hand, wringing out a wet towel produces noticeable pain during the action. Go figure!!

On another day, I went trad climbing:

...and managed to climb proper trad pretty well despite feeling fairly rusty until the last few weeks. This picture is woefully inadequate to capture the irresistible quality of Sub Station Crag, scarcely an hour's drive from the Central Belt and a gentle 1/2 hour walk-in to this superb 40m slab of sheer mica-schist, overlooking the obligatory substation but also substantial views of Loch and Ben Lomond.

Fortuitous mid-March weather ensured it was fresh and crisp, a pleasantly warm sun but a rather cool breeze. Inspiration was immediately high and I got to grips with a few classic mid-grade slab routes. All proper technical, bold, intriguing and involving slab climbing, and the two main lines being particularly bloody brilliant. The old magic was there, not just that I was climbing more okay, but that I was really feeling the sheer joy of climbing and climbing challenges (apart from a minor grumble / swearathon about ambiguous guidebook descriptions...).

My elbow / shoulder were pretty fine on this BTW - although my feet were sore!! On the other hand, I think the running might have helped a bit as I scarcely noticed the walk-in, and didn't have any leg wobbles on these mega-slab pitches.

So, Fiend might well be "back", woohoo *insert MSN-style dismally understated party hat smiley here*.

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