Friday, 3 September 2010

6a to 8a in 365 days.

Fucking grades, what a load of toss. The least important motivator, the least important end result, the least important social trophy. Fuck 'em.

On the other hand, the nitty gritty, the nerdish minutae of abstract discussion, comparison and analysis can be quite entertaining. If you're geeky enough - and if you aren't, why do something as obsessive as climbing??

So I did something that challenged me recently. It had a grade that roughly estimated that challenge. That grade is of interest in only 3 ways - as a marker of my improvement in the year since being hospitalised with DVT, as a virtual mooning to Duncan "Fiend you're gay, Easy Trad™‚is gay, sport climbing is where it's at, you're too weak and GAY for it" Eagles (I'll take 7c+ for it in general, but 8a for him :)), and for a geekish analysis in this post, after which it can fuck back off, as I will fuck back off to Easy Trad™.

Anyway, I don't know what grades really correspond to that at that level, but unlike most people who don't know what grades correspond to at any level, I am not a bloody idiot. Thus I have a vague idea about how it fits into the distinctly ungrand scheme of things I have experience of, and that definitely shows how much things can vary when you're pushing your physical limits (unlike trad grades which are a matter of objective fact as to the existence of gear, rests, position, rock quality etc).

From what I've tried / done, in descending order of difficulty.

The Boltest, Long Tor Quarry, F7c (F8a+++) - beyond nails, 7 moves I couldn't do, 3 of which I couldn't imagine ever doing, desperate clips few shakes.
Silk Teddies, Dunkeld, F7c (F7c+?) - brutally hard start and sustained for many metres, had to aid most of it.
Sufferance, Dumbarton, F8a (F7c+?) - bouldery and crimpy but not too desperate, got all moves bar crux quickly in one session, crux next session.
Marlena, Dunkeld, F7c (hard F7c?) - almost as hard as Sufferance, very sustained and lots of finishing cruxes. Might be easier if it ever got cool conditions and a good brush.
Laughing In The Rain, Cowdale, F7c (F7c) - ridiculously hard boulder crux but pretty easy after that.
The Squealer, Lorry Park Quarry, F7c (F7c) - steady, felt closest to benchmark 7c out of the Peak stuff, bouldery but reasonable. Would have gone okay if I hadn't got DVT.
Another Choadside Attraction, Raven Tor, F7c (F7b+?) - pretty soft and would be F7b+ if it was properly bolted.

Make of that what you will.

I think the route suited me (big rockover moves on small crimps), I think it helps that it's often in good condition, I think it is likely a borderline grade. I also think it is a great and classic route with brilliant moves all the way....which is why I did it :)

As a reward for sitting through that drivel, here's a video of an early attempt, up to falling off the crux jump to a jug (I refined my lower sequence after this):

And that's that...

Thanks to Amanda, Andy, Graham, James, Jonnie B, Jonnie B (yes there are two), Liz, Mark (and thanks for the support and encouragement), Peter and Phil for climbing with me while I was working the route.

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