Wednesday, 22 December 2010

F@©king Friction!!

The video below is based on a true story, well indeed it IS a true story.

I've always known how important conditions, friction, dry skin, chalk, etc etc are, but seldom have I experienced it with such shocking clarity. I was genuinely bemused and boggled how much of an effect it can have, even after all these years as a sweaty bugger.

This boulder problem is one I tried last time I was at the boulder, with a distinct crux making a steep crossover from a LH angled sloper/seam to a RH juggy pinch. This was shutting me down before but I was feeling pretty close to it when the evening had cooled down. This time I started off feeling very un-close to it, unless one defines close as "hugely distant with no chance of doing the bloody move". A source of much consternation given I'd planned to use the so-called -8'c to wrap this one up and move on elsewhere. But instead I had to wait and wait and wait and bank my hopes on it feeling easier once the evening cool returned.

Those hopes not so much came true as thundered down upon me and the boulder in a cataclysmic strike of cold air, truth, justice and bouldering righteousness. I don't think I'd fully grasped just how crucial the feel of the left hand-hold was until I went from woefully floundering at the move to being able to cruise it comfortably most goes, and thence did the problem first proper attempt. I swear as the sun set the problem must have dropped 3 grades in 15 minutes, for me it was from impossible to easy. And also "kinda okay" to "rather enjoyable".

Conditions and friction: dry hands + less sweat + less chalk needed + firmer skin on the rock texture + firmer rubber on the rock surface = a huge difference. It's SCIENTIFIC FACT, bitches.

P.S. Now I've got bloody gayflu and might not have anything to say before Spain.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Gym'll Fix It.

Sorry. Very sorry. I can't be trusted with a blog. Nor the internet. Nor a keyboard.

Anyway. Training, again. I have got some syke back for it. Which might be why my body has politely requested a rest day.

Thu - Gym
Fri - Ratho routes
Sat - (rest)
Sun - Ratho bouldering
Mon - Gym
Tue - Ratho routes
Wed - Gym
Thu - (rest)
Fri - Gym
Sat - Fat Buddha bouldering
Sun - Transition routes

Not bad. The gym is featuring heavily, it is reasonably convenient, I can do it on my own, I can do fitness training I can't do outside, it balances out the climbing, it doesn't aggravate my finger, and unusually I am actually vaguely motivated for it - this last factor being a radical break from tradition. I tend to do 25 mins recumbent cycling, either 20 mins rowing or 10 mins rowing and 2x7 mins arm cycling, and 30 mins mixed weights. This seems to be a relatively un-tedious combo, at least when backed up with an adequate supply of DnB mp3 mixes. What effect it is having on my weight, health, and climbing fitness, I don't really know, but I feel good doing it - so it probably is good. I'm going to keep going this week, mix in some outdoor bouldering, and probably be forced to have 3 rest days over Xmas, BLEH.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Snow down / slow down.

It's a fairly odd time at the moment. I am shit but still syked. It snowed a lot. Then everything was covered in snow and ice apart from the things that weren't and were too warm. Now it's all melted and everything is damp including Ratho which has streams pouring out of the old comp wall. I've been taking things steady down the wall through necessity, same with the bouldering too - certainly not pushing hard and crimping like a demon. So my 2003-tweaked finger has come back and retweaked HOW THE CHOADING HELL. I'm getting syked for training and going to the gym too. This has had the noticable benefit of me feeling at least as unfit and tired on routes if not more so. It's not making any sense.

One thing that is making sense is that I've got a mini trip booked to Costa Blanca between Xmas and New Year. Look, I've got email confirmation from Easyjet. So that's real. My climbing out there could be surreal, unreal, or just plain fictious. God only knows. It's what I'm training for anyway. A shining beacon of merely possible failure, gleaming through the dank fog of certain failure.

Other than that I want to make some more exciting plans abroad (thinking of Malta and Morocco at the end of Jan), keep bouldering and pull my finger out and push myself as much as errr that finger allows, get out tradding too, keep exploring, keep fit, get some vestige of stamina back. Not much to ask when it's all inspiring despite the lack of sense ;).

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Really balmy at the Rankin Boulder.

I visited the Rankin boulder in early Autumn, it was too warm. I visited recently in the middle of the apparent deep freeze (deciding that 1'c and sun in Galloway might be preferable to -10'c and sun in Glen Nevis), and it was too warm.



The Sun:
Was warm and strong and shining straight onto the rock out of a clear blue sky. Truly it was gorgeous, a perfect winter sun. However while everywhere else emphasised the winter, this location emphasised the sun. The rock basked in it all day making for an exceptionally pleasant situation but unexceptional friction. Until the sun set, which heralded a valuable drop in temperature which was chased by a less valuable drop in light levels. Alas the latter caught up with the former before I could tackle the more inspiring problem there, a curious bulging prow which starts as for the easy central groove and rapidly gains good holds and steady if slappy ground on the rib. I found despite appearances that rapid gain is also an abruptly difficult gain so I'll have to go back for it sometime.

The Rock:
Is both good and bad. The rock is good, a sizable and shapely stone with a clean aspect, generally good landings and decent lines. The rock is bad, a belligerently abrasive granite with a texture that shreds more than it grips. Thus a combination that promises a bit more than it delivers - captivating from a distance, coarser and cruder closer up. Again, conditions-dependent, for pleasure as much as power.

The Climber:
Was okay! I struggled with the warmth and the rock. Then I didn't. Then it got dark. And I got a flapper in my thumb. And my shoes full of snow from the walk-in. But I did okay, I only flashed a couple of the easiest problems (both completely randomly overgraded). The others I could have done in colder conditions. The harder one inspired me more than I initally thought. One bonus was my tweaky finger (tweaked years ago and randomly recurring because I haven't been pushing it and I haven't been crimping hard, WTFingF??) felt fine, much better than it did down the wall on previous nights. I am also continuing the strong theme of colour coordinated bouldering garb. Whether this actually works, I don't know.