Saturday, 18 June 2011

Dabbling at Dumby.

I've gone off Dumby a bit. Unless I got there properly focused with a clear intention, I usually end up dabbling on the boulders. The boulders, however, being stern, unforgiving and generally disdainful of human beings, do not tolerate such dabbling. They demand no less than the upmost dedication and the upmost determination to their harsh and hostile intricacies.

Plus I am fat and weak and can't do problems I could do years ago.

However I sometimes go down and get tempted to dabble in other directions - further upwards, with a rope and sometimes a rack. The other evening was one of those occasions. My fingers were knackered from a good campus / fingerboard session (part of the plan to de-weakify, given my fucked legs severely inhibit de-fatifying), so I just fancied some Easy Trad. Dumby isn't the best place for that once you've done the big Windjammer/LongBow combination, but a bit of hunting around reveals some options.

First up was The Whip. This was given a bland 5b grade in the old guide. IIRC, Dave Macleod was asking for feedback on some Glasgow outcrops, and I amongst other suggested that some of the longer "problems" at Dumby and Craigmore might just deserve adjectival grades. For example, The Whip is 5b, hard 5b to start and then fairly mild 5b to finish - 8m up above an abrupt angled landing. Well worth it's E2 5b and two stars. I set off in warm weather with little chalk and clunky resoled shoes, just intending to play on the bottom to warm up. However the steadily defined moves and good rests just encouraged me to go all the way up, so with some trepidation I did.

Second was some searching with Neil for a suitable lead for both of us. I spotted Eldorado, an obvious if mis-described direct start to Desperado. Neil muses "I thought you wanted Easy Trad, like HVS, rather than E3 5c". Well, errr, E3 5c IS Easy Trad, particularly when it's a short direct start to an HVS rather than some overhanging and unpredictable mega-pitch. I can't pretend otherwise. So I got on it. The start took some working out, with a low altitude but high chance of failure off balance lunge to a jug. After that it was steady up the HVS, which was actually an E1. I rather enjoyed it. Neil thought it was okay. The consensus was the start was sort of E2/3 5c/6a, with more risk of severe lacerations from brambles and broken glass than actual breakages of one's own.

And that was that. Very much a "treading water" session, like ALL the ones I'm having - and getting bored with - at the moment. Fun in itself but not satisfying the deeper exploratory and progressive urges. The weather is still sodding awful but I keep trying to be patient and keep training...

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