Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Battered like sausage, beaten like egg.

Result: Fiend omelette. Delicious, nutritious, and with all your essential saturated fats guaranteed.

The recipe for turning Fiend into mincemeat was demonstrated this weekend. Take an overhanging slanting jamming crack, arrange the crack so that many good hand jams are visible in the first half, and arrange the rock strata to give the impression of being slightly overhanging, all to imbue the victim/ingredient with a sense of awe and confidence. Stir said ingredient into the mix and slowly puree along 15m of mild hand crushing. As things start coming to the boil, widen the crack and increase the angle to ensure upper limbs are adequately tenderised, then briefly simmer in a traumatic leg searing niche, allowing the exposure and exhaustion to pulverise any firmness left in the meat. Serve hanging on the rope....and for dessert ensure that the only method of retrieving ropes is a 2 hour epic of abseiling, retrieving ropes, prussiking, and semi-seconding said horror.

For a digestif, finally abseil off and realise the whole crag overhangs by many metres, including the so-called slabby niche that is merely overhanging slightly less than the rest.

Next time I'm taking a sodding protractor or surveying equipment so that when insidious thoughts like "it overhangs a little bit" and "that niche looks like a good rest" bubble up into my mind, I can get a grip on REALITY first!!

Suffice to say, I was beaten fair and square. I tried hard, but it was too hard. Too exhausting overall, too wild, too blind and committing a finish to deal with when I was that knackered....and stressed.

In fact, in common with the previous weekend's debacle/failure (yes, there was one, obviously), the key factor was discomfort/stress. This week it was overall exhaustion, arm pain from the climbing and leg pain from the hideous niche that meant I couldn't recover. Last week it was extreme foot pain on a slate slab that meant I could not stand around and work out crux moves. Both situations required time - time spent in one area, working out moves (and letting limbs recover) - and a clear head to deal with the challenges. And in both situations there was unavoidable discomfort, discomfort that made spending that time increasingly hard, AND created stress and that stress clouded my mind so I couldn't work out how to progress.

Clearly there is a lesson to learn there. Dealing with discomfort and stress: partly by preparing better, but mostly by dealing with it as it happens, accepting and allowing the discomfort, but not succumbing to it, keeping the mind calm even as the body is pressured. Not easy at all, but recognising the issue, it is something to work on.

But there is also another lesson....both situations may have been resolvable by pressing on quickly, in an uncertain and unlikely way, with a chance of progressing to somewhere to recover, but with a high risk of falling off....so why didn't I do that...

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