Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Fight The Power

I can't fight the power of the weather. As predicted it crapped out spectacularly. Glasgow escaped the worst of the storms but roadside floods are becoming the norm not the exception. Needless to say I've been reduced to training at the admittedly inspiring (if frustrating in my current state) Climbing Academy, and trying to find a balance between pushing myself to slow the decline into weakness, and not injuring myself trying to haul my corpulent carcass in an upwards - or sideways - direction.

I can't fight the power of the screwy chemicals fizzing around in my mind. I've been changing some medications to try to stop the incessant weight gain I've had in recent years (no, not the Glasgow diet, as nice a deep-fried pizza is I haven't had it for months), and the short term side-effects are harsh. Anger, agitation, anxiety are currently characterising my life and inhibiting many activities - and making me feel shit about that inhibition, woohoo, stupid brain! I did have some respite over the weekend, clearing my mind with some relentless hardcore beats in the Industrial Strength Records 20th Anniversary room at Fantazia at the Arches. Dancing to gabber is waaay more productive than trying to run / walk uphill, so evidentally I need to get clubbing more. Both Youtube vids are highlights of the night :).

I can't fight the power of the stupid fucking gayflu cold I've just picked up. Although I guess I might as well get it out of the way at the moment.

Hopefully when the gayflu fucks right off and chemicals settle and the training works enough to at least achieve an equilibrium of fatness and weakness, I'll be able to get on with following some inspiration and rad trips out and about won't just become...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Gentle Classics in Glen Croe

Not much to say really. All easy stuff but nice problems. I did have a look at something harder but it was cold and made my fingers hurt. The rock was in good condition but the ground was boggy and I got trenchfoot.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Glen Again.

Secret Squirrel came visiting. The weather was still good (ridiculous that the Indian Summer has happened in sodding November) and she was keen for some bouldering, so we went back to Glen Nevis Southside. Still loads to explore there. Apparently there is an out-of-print guide that covers hundreds of problems in the Glen, but once across the treacherous and mildly terrifying weir crossing, the only sign of any use, chalk, or cleaning is on the 3 generally inferior problems chosen at random in Scottish Bouldering. The others have often required a good scrub to get lichen off crucial holds, and even pulling the most obvious hold off one problem - but what is underneath has been invariably good rock and good climbing so far.

We also had a fun time at the end of the day: Battling up our respective last problems in the howling wind, sporadic drizzle, ominous dusk, with little skin nor energy left, surrounded by the bleak and ominous cloud-drenched mountains, and only the threatening prospect of a nighttime the river crossing to look forward to....but still great fun just climbing :).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Misanthrope Mission 3.

More mockery - I spent the entire summer trying to get up to Glen Nevis to climb with a Canadian lass who was staying in Fort William and keen to sample the local cragging. After numerous Facebook exchanges, Metoffice scrutinising / swearing at, and last minute texts, it never happened. Come November, she's long gone, most tradding partners are winding down for the winter, seepage is creeping through, and it's getting a bit too chilly. So yeah the weather is good and dry for several days.


Still, I made it up on the last dry day, and although frustrated by being able to see the mighty Wave Buttress but not climb on it, I did get some good bouldering exploration. The forecast was to be foggy, still, and cold air. It turned out to be clear, windy, and mild air. No worries about condensation and pretty good nick. I recced the Polldubh boulders while waiting for my Morrison's pseudo-redbull energy drink to kick in, and decided they were a bit brutal to start on...

Glen Nevis youth bouldering team in training.

Instead, I thought I'd just nip across the river to Tim's Arete for a warm-up and then head back via a packed lunch. 2 precarious weir crossings, 5 hours and numerous problem attempts later, I had no skin, no energy, no chalk and no camera batteries left - Glen Nevis Southside has a lot of potential both tapped and untapped on wild and rough rock. The clip below is just a sample, I'll be back when the above factors have recharged (and it's dry again so I've got a few months to regrow skin :S).

Monday, 7 November 2011

Coigach Clambering.

So it is now November. The days are a lot shorter, climbing time is limited, the temperatures are cold and options restricted. I'm busier and my time is limited and I've given up on getting up North and getting more trad done. So what the fuck does the weather do?? Get totally awesome in the North West. A whole fucking summer waiting for half-decent half-dryness, and now it's pretty much past the point of pointless, there's several days of sunshine up there.


Still as mocking as this respite is, it is respite nonetheless and thus must be as vigorously seized as one would seize a passing cat who is hoping to sneak by without getting pounced on and having it's tummy mercilessly rubbed and nuzzled. Given the time of year it was mostly seized and sandwiched between bouldering pads. Just like the passing cat should be...

The pre-match friendly was at the Inchbae Erratics. These are indeed erratic but then again isn't most of Scottish bouldering. This area had the usual pre-requisites of absent approach times and a useless map, but also curiously accurate grades and definitely deserved star ratings. The erratics are scattered over an unerratically and consistently boggy plateau, and although spread out, the problems are really rather good - strong lines and good moves. It could do with more development and is a good stopping off point en-route to Ullapool.


The main game took place firstly at Reiff In The Woods. It was supposed to be at Reiff By The Sea but this was hampered by that same sea leaving landing pools and a slight lingering damp. There were hardy souls climbing trad there, which was nice to see. RITW is a classy little spot - roadside but with stunning views, sheltered in trees yet exposed to sun and breeze, jumbled together but with plenty of strong lines. Indeed the lines were stronger than I was!! We made little headway on anything challenging until trying the cool "spot from sitting in the car" thin wall/arete. After a few goes we were both close and it was almost in the bag - and after a few goes the "unbroken sunshine" forecast pissed on us and it was almost dusk so no chance of it drying, arse bollox knob etc etc.

Rainbow. Unfortunately a main ingredient is rain.

Sunset prettiness on Stac Pollaidh.

Secondly for variety it was the well-reputed Highland sport venue of Goat Crag, one of the triptych of classic animal-themed Scottish sport climbing crags. I still think it would be great on a summer's day to catch the morning sun at The Elephant, shelter from the afternoon heat at The Camel, and finish basking in the evening at Goat Crag. Or maybe the other way around to catch the shade. Anyway, the weather was great at Goat Crag, utterly unlike my climbing. Not only am I fat and weak, after a mere few weeks away from roped climbing, I'm back to utter gaylordistic cowardom, arse bollox knob etc etc.

Even the bumbly warmups can be photogenic.

A much better view than looking inward to my climbing.