Monday, 3 December 2012

Scottish Bouldering

What Scottish bouldering is all about:

  • Driving at least 2 hours to find interesting blocs.
  • Wading through bog, or bog and rocks, or bog and snow, or bog and bracken, or bog and heather, but never ever anything that could pretend to be a path.
  • Discovering that the so-called classics don't exist or are contrived rubbish.
  • Discovering that the best lines don't ever seem to have been climbed.
  • Discovering that any sit starts are actually crouching starts, kneeling starts, lying starts (in both senses of the word), pad stack starts, or only possible for people with 8' wingspans.
  • Spending hours scrubbing holds until the mass of lichen and moss gives you all over body camoflague.
  • Hanging on to deteriorating heather trying to excavate finishes from the vegetation.
  • Teetering on a pyramid of stones/bouldering mats to try to scrape snow off the top-out because you can't even get up the downclimb.
  • Trying to make sense of the ridiculous jigsaw of rocks and bog and bouldering mat to make some vague form of "landing" so the hike back through bog doesn't turn into a broken-ankled crawl bck through bog.
  • Completely failing to match any of the problem description to any feasible method for doing it.
  • Working out an obvious method and then pulling a previously untouched hold off.
  • Flashing a problem that should be beyond your limit, after failing on the warm-up downclimb.
  • Finally making sense of it all just before the day gets dark / you get hypothermic.

What it doesn't usually involve:

  • Rocking up somewhere and jumping straight on a clean obvious boulder problem

But what sometimes happens after all the hours of faff and misadventure:

  • Climbing some totally brilliant problem with great moves up a natural line in beautiful wild surroundings and wondering why the fucking hell no-one else puts the effort into travelling a bit further from Dumby / Porty to actually climb these damn things and it's left for some outsider who isn't local, nor a long-term resident nor even a fucking boulderer to actually get out and do them??

(NB: The latter hasn't happened that much in recent weeks, but it's been pretty close a few times)

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