Friday, 1 October 2010
Preparation, planning, and plotting.
The end of the September and the end of a fairly dismal summer. The good weather in May/June was on schedule, as was the miserable monsoon in July/August. So far so tedious. But the Indian Summer in September was more like an Indian Week and bonus weekend - good for what it was, but hardly a worthy reward for sitting out the endless away-trip-preventing sunshine and showers. Once again - despite a few consistently ace trips - I am behind schedule for ticking Scotland ;).
Which leaves October, autumn, and winter.
Cunning planning is needed to make the best use out of this off-season. Cunning planning to maximise climbing time AND climbing pleasure. Because this time, I'm not missing out - Scottish cragging is too ace for that.
The plan is:
Stay combat ready:
Opportunities where time and weather and partners coincide are sometimes rare and, thanks to the weather, always unpredictable. Thus one needs to be able to go whenever, last minute - having flexible plans and having everything waiting, ready, to hit the crags. Patience in the meantime (maybe for a long time) and action when opportunity arises.
What I can do is keep my shit in order. All relevant and irrelevant logistics up to date, bags packed, car fuelled, guidebooks out and one eye on the forecast. Not much different to normal really!
Knowledge is power:
Related to the above. Shorter days, colder weather, and unpredictable crag conditions all demand making the right choices to optimise climbing. The right choices means knowing the relevant information, options, and logistics for any situation. From seepage lines to bogginess of approaches to ferry times to which hostels are open...
What I can do is revise and find all that out. Get everything detailed for all the suitable areas, so when the times come, the trips will work.
Rally the troops:
As always the two biggest challenges with climbing are not time nor transport, they are climate and companions, precipitation and people. Finding the right people who are good to climb with with AND up for exploring and taking advantage of opportunities is so important. Thankfully this time I do know quite a few more climbers in Scotland, and unlike last year's debacle where I met some people who were initially welcoming and then decided for no obvious reason to all but ignore me, many of my current partners are genuinely welcoming and friendly. Hopefully we can share a good winter cragging season!
What I can do is regularly keep in touch with people, be clear about possible plans and positive potentials, and try to be a good partner in return.
So let's set Metoffice as the homepage and get ready!!