Thursday, 11 February 2010
Dodging drips and dead deer at Dunkeld.
I managed to get a brief day out at Upper Cave Crag at Dunkeld recently. Only did one route due to time and a surprising amount of seepage (I guess the ground above is slowly defrosting), and that route wasn't amazing - a bit awkward, fiddly pro and okay moves. But it was a good day out for various reasons:
- I still felt okay on trad despite two months off, a bit rusty due to excessive sport climbing, a bit nervous due to run-outs and dripping bits, but got straight on something non-trivial and did it okay.
- I learnt some useful stuff about what will help with my trad, especially on mica-schist. I tend to struggle with this rather obtuse but alarmingly prevalent rock type, where you never really know what you're going to get with imminent holds and gear slots - a big change from the obviousness of join-the-dots Tenerife sport climbing. I'm just going to do more of the damnable schist and get used to the fiddly-ness of it all, which will be good training, and after which something more obvious like gneiss will feel rather, errr, nice.
- It was another confirmation about how trad is perfectly feasible during Scottish winter. Despite it being -2'c in the morning, forecast to rise 4'c, and it soon clouding over at the crag, it was still fine climbing in a t-shirt and the vibe of the crag, drips aside, was quite pleasant. If the sun had stayed out I could have worked on my tan!
- It was good and interesting to check out Cave Crag. At my standard it's one of the most important day-trip crags so I can see it getting heavy usage. And indeed it was quite inspiring, some good towering lines above a very pleasant flat crag base. Plus some really decent looking sport climbing to get rotpunkting on - a useful training arena all round!
And the deer?? 3 of them between Cave Crag and Polney, all distinctly dead but mostly intact apart from their eyes having been pecked out. Hmmm. Not sure how nice that will be when they defrost!