Sunday, 17 February 2013

Inverness Incursion.

Raaargh Ruthven boulder.

The attack:

After the retreat (see below), I returned to the ever-reliable Ruthven (even more so now some sensible person has cleared some heather off the top). As always this gave a good micro-session of proper powerful bouldering on great rock above great landings, with the shady side providing essential respite from the shocking 10'c temps around Inverness. The Dude I hadn't really considered until a previous session in which a fellow boulderer pointed out if was actually quite reasonable. Which it was, but excellent of course. Slippery Sloper bollox problem had taken enough skin off on both visits for me to firmly decide it was indeed a bollox graunch of a problem and I didn't like it as much as it didn't like me. I'm not sure what happened this time as despite the relative above-zero warmth, I got the move sorted and actually enjoyed it. The Big Lebowski was wet at the end so there's still something to come back for.

The retreat:

Brin Done Before was the first truly inspiring problem I saw in Scotland (outside of Dumby which I'd already got slightly jaded with even before I moved up), and over three years later it is still mesmerising: A jaunty prow jutting precariously a long way above a decent landing, all funky angles and massive steepness leading to a wildly high finish. It's been on my mind since I spied it in the depths of winter, and I've been pondering how to deal with the highball nature without a spotter or half-decent pads. My memory must have been poor as I was envisaging a weird slopey terracey landing, and had planned to warm up by extensively patioing this with local tree debris. But it isn't like that, the landing is "okay", just gently undulating with a few minor rocks. The problem is - apart from the steepness and height - the weird angles of the roof and the weird off balance slaps along a finger seam to get through it. Each move your body could fly off in a different direction, without even getting to the finish. On my own I think I'd need FOUR pads (at least two good ones), with a spotter probably just three. So I will be rallying the troops for a return visit - hopefully it's very-top-end-of-three-stars classic nature, easy access, lovely location, and good circuit options will be enticing to someone.

The surrender:

The next day I went to Glen Nevis to try to mop up more new problems on the Southside. To cut a boring day short, the main problem I wanted to do was in theory a mini-classic - a short steep prow with a good landing, clean line, great starting holds for a natural sitter, nice slopey finish....the only problem the rock is so outrageously rough it is like fridgehugging up a giant cheesegrater that's been sculpted out of gravel. Despite baltic conditions, I don't think I have the skin for it, nor the inclination to keep wasting layers trying. After many attempts and just as much puzzlement I felt a bit too tender and battered and sacked it off. On the plus side the Polldubh crags are getting loads of sun now so it could be trad action soon YEAH.

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