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.

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