Monday, 9 September 2013

How much do I want this??

I'm squatting on a small overhung ledge, shaking out on two decent crimps. Above the wall barrels out slightly, but I carefully lock my right hand onto a sloping rail, match feet and stand up through the tension of keeping my body in to stay on the rail, and leaning out nervously to see the higher holds. I stretch up towards the obvious good pocket...5 inches too short. I shuffle my feet out....4 inches too short. I twist slightly....3 inches too short. It hasn't changed in any of the tentative attempts. I feel a small two finger pocket for my left hand, I look down at the small footholds a lot further in than the balancing ledge, and know I'll have to do a dynamic slap into the pocket. I also know I can do the move...

...but there's a slight problem. There's gear at my feet when I'd start the move, clipped 2 feet lower due to necessary extension. This is not a bad position, but the gear is two reasonable wires in a hollow flake that flexes when I use it to rock over, backed up with a small cam in a very shallow slot. I guess it would slow me down. 2 metres below is the good gear, a couple of solid wires, but off to the side from the perched ledge ensuring a clattering fall onto the lower rocks if something went wrong (but at least if/when the flake ripped off, it would miss me). I'm probably "safe", but the prospect still feels pretty terrifying, not least hanging around working out the steep moves after the pocket. And I'm 5'8" +1 AI, and it's obvious this guidebook-described "longish reach" is done by just that, reaching, rather than an extra and dynamic move. So it's harder and more serious than I had planned for. So...

How much do I want this??

There is a small amount of genuine danger and a large amount of genuine fear involved. A small amount of frustration and a large amount of inspiration.

In the end the desire is not enough and I back off, removing gear as I go. But then I'm lying in bed at night, thinking. Maybe I should go back on a fresher day. Maybe I should discuss with my partner how much of a challenge it's going to be. Maybe I should arrange for a running belay down the fine grass slopes. Maybe I should take some skyhooks. Maybe I'll be back. Maybe I'll do the move, because maybe I *do* want it enough??


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