Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Unsuccessful-ish Ullapool.

An odd but good long weekend away, mostly avoiding my main inspirations but still having a good time despite a few setbacks.

Glen Clova:
Didn't do anything, and...

The Wildebeest - tried the start a few times, stupidly dangerous despite no mention of this in the guide. Blind dynamic 6a crimping with a couple of friable looking holds, no gear, and a terrible landing. Incomprehensible.

Clairvoyant Reality - tried this instead, another very dangerous horrorshow. Precarious off-balance shuffling, I committed to a sketchy move to get a tiny fingerflake with possible gear behind, but couldn't take my hand off to place it. 6m up with no gear and little chance of going up or down, absolutely hideous, one of the worst climbing moments I can recall, with a very real prospect of breaking my lower limbs. I somehow managed to slither back down by the skin of my teeth. Ridiculous.

Empire Of The Sun - Had a look and was pretty inspired but still felt sick after the previous route, no chance of going near it.

Did a few good leads that got my head back into climbing after getting totally spooked at Clova - Operation Brumby had a good committing crux, and Aussie Rules was a really nice and fairly committing route. But...

Neart Nan Gaidheal - too still and muggy at the end of the day. Very inspired but needs a fresher day.

Burning Desire - seeping!

Did a couple of pleasant routes and also managed the walk-in both ways with only one small rest each time. Whether it's familiarity or a lighter rucsac, I don't know, but it's good exercise and it's reassuring that I can cope with it. But...

The Gift - far too greasy. Very inspired, I reckon it might be manageable.

The Screamer - far too greasy. Intimidating but I could probably warm up into it.

The Road To Nowhere - too still at the end of the day. Pretty inspired despite the pokiness, but needs a fresher day.

Split Personality - the so-called "well protected" crack on Golden Walls, what utter horseshit. Having comfortably done the other 3 Golden Wall routes, this should have been fine but quite clearly wasn't. Steeper, worse breaks, harder crux, so-so shallow cams below the crux and hard to place adequate gear off bad holds after the crux. Mis-graded and mis-described in Scottish Rock.

Goat Crag:
Did Hydrotherapy after the steady warm-up route. Skin of my teeth battle of blind cruxes, sloping holds, and sweaty hands, and definitely harder than the following F7as: The Ticks Ate All The Midges, Sand In My Pants, Expecting To Fly, Clutching At Straws, Going Through On Aggregate, etc etc, still it was a good value fight, and after 3-4 days my tweaky finger was still feeling okay. But...

Freakshow - another horseshit description in Scottish Rock. No hard climbing but utterly ridiculously steep and pumpy, the so-called "crux" diagonal break was a piece of piss (E3 5c to the down-pointing spike), the so-called easier flake was extra pumpy, and the so-called good holds at the final crack were smooth flat layaways just as I was too exhausted to use them. Obviously I simply wasn't good enough to do the climb, but being accurately mentally prepared for the challenge might have helped enough.


At the end of this weekend, I haven't done anything I planned to do, have hardly tried anything I wanted to do, have failed on things I did try. But... I've got back into the trad, I've got some useful and reassuring mid-range mileage, I've come pretty close to a very challenging route, I've started to feel familiar with the Reiff walk-in, I've had a useful reminder about conditions, I've got some good exercise and I've maintained the syke. I'll try to put into action ASAP.

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