Sunday, 14 March 2010

Bumbling around at St Bees and Bowderstone.

This weekend, shortly after arriving back in Glasgow (more in this later), I whisked myself off to the latest round of banter and buggery that masquerades as the Official Lads Bouldering Weekend (aka "What Happens In The Bunkhouse Stays In The Bunkhouse (especially the stains)"). Standards and my 100% attendance record needed to be maintained. St Bees was the main destination and a break from shitty schist sit-starts was somewhat appealing.

I'd never bouldered at St Bees before, only done sport routes (which are pretty cool), and the Lads decided to head for St Bees South on the Sunday. The seemingly endless gruelling boulder bash (alternating V0- mantles with two pads on your back, and skating across lethally slippery rock-slime) to reach it means we'd be unlikely to head for it again, but once at the area it was all rather fun. Nice lines, nice rock, nice colours. I did some nice problems, including this easy but sweet one:

Notice that I'm trying out some new styles (more on this later). I reckon the no-t-shirt + sleeveless fleece + ned tracksuit bottoms could be a winning look. Or maybe not.

The chalk-crusted Clam Chowderstone was a considerably less aesthetic experience, it's much renowned main face combining the worst of Dumbarton's ugly brutality with an almost limestone-esque linelessness. Good training but not quite the experience of carefree bouldering joy. A few hardy souls braved it en-route back to the M6 - including myself, spending most of my time struggling to move on the easiest warm-up on the main face. Eventually I sulked my way around to the more enticing side-wall, flashed the Crack Direct (apparently harder than the main face warm-up), felt chuffed, and called it a day - a day that took a lot of driving, but a fun day.

Next: Routes. It's mid-March, warm enough to get the gut out at St Bees, light until after 6, definitely time to get routing properly.

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