Sunday, 20 March 2011

Clash crush.

Just had a rather fun long weekend sampling the diversity that Scotland in late winter has to offer: Great day skiing on full snow cover at Glenshee, good afternoon bouldering in very fresh conditions at Clashfarquar, and a fun afternoon doing trad at Limekilns. Clash was the main point of interest for me, I was very specifically focused on trying to climb Clash Arete, possibly the best line in the best setting in the whole of Aberdeen. And thus:

I'd been completely shut down on this before when Lyons, bRad and I were trying it. It looks....kinda feasible as there are a lot of holds and stuff and they mostly point in the right direction. But it is steep, with minimal footholds and sharp handholds - pain resistance becomes as important as power reserves. This is the hardest problem I've done in a year and I wanted to do it right....

The boulder platform is very convenient, but the approach is tidal. I decided it would be best to be trapped outside than inside, so got there early afternoon at high tide, knowing I would have all afternoon once I could get across. Lo and behold there was a group of climbers who had indeed got trapped inside. So we sat and waited on opposite sides of the tidal bay, in a stalemate, waiting for someone to crack and start wading. Eventually the platform was accessible, they slid out, I slid in, and started a nice peaceful session.

I'm pleased with my tactics for this. I warmed up with a grip strengthener and didn't waste any skin on other problems. I started playing on the moves knowing they would feel desperate and knowing that I would gradually unlock them with patience. I kept playing around in short attempts and resting my skin in between. As soon as I worked out a move, I moved onto the next one to keep the whole puzzle going. And as soon as I worked out all the moves - with a possibly unconventional sequence - I got up, walked away, and strolled around the platform to let my mind and body settle.

On my return, I floundered on the started a few times, then managed to udge my way up, slapped, ignored how much sketchier the moves felt in the sequence than in isolation, hung on tight, and crushed it, happy with a cool problem and happy with some good tactics.

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