Wednesday, 4 September 2013

O yeah.

Aberdeen climbers are a bunch of choads. They have a typically insular scene so common in Scotland, made worse by a core of hoary old-timers as dour as the granite city itself and attendant scyophantic acolytes who try to keep the coast on lockdown. Their undue pride in and myopic devotion to the pokey little crags and lineless boulders of greasy schist and grubby granite blinds them to the realities of the area and excludes all else especially the input of outsiders. Their determination to keep Aberdeen climbing as an esoteric backwater extends to  obtuse guidebooks and obstreporous grading and works only too well to keep the crags as offputting as possible.

Aberdeen climbers are a great bunch. They are the most thriving and active trad scene in Scotland but also relish the full spectrum of climbing from cragging to mountains to bouldering to sport. They extend the mix-and-match approach of the off-shore scene to a welcoming vibe that includes offcomers into the melting pot of climbing partners. Their dedication to local cragging extends to cleaning, developing, and sharing conditions and advice. They have the vision to develop new sport lines near trad venues without them spoiling established routes, and new trad venues that are wholly appropriate, and the decency to publicise these venues so others can enjoy it.

Which ones of these statements is true?

Are they both true?

Are they both false?

Is it a black and white statement of a climbing scene? Or more likely, is it shades of grey? Perhaps shades of gay(lord) in some cases...

Suffice to say, having been to Little O Wall with ex-weeg and now-local PJ the other week and quite enjoyed it, I went back with ex-weeg/ex-burg and now semi-local raider Geek this week to chase up a remaining inspiration there. In what seems to be a typical Aberdonian style, Little O has been discovered recently on the doorstep of the alarming sport venue Orchestra Cave and thoroughly developed into a fine, if rather slanty, trad venue. If the Central Belt sport climbing hordes had got their hands on it no doubt it would be a great shit and pointless sport climbing crag, but up on the Coast common sense still prevails and it's a very worth addition to the coastal trad (just like the Johnsheugh refurbishment last year). Of course it's still as fickle with conditions, sometimes tricky protection and rock, and as an extra bonus for this crag, a distinctly evil tilt to the holds sloping down leftwards. A good test of balance and persistence - including Timpani Wall which was a good challenge, quite reasonable but still slightly arduous for a series of hands off rests!

All good stuff. I wonder what they have up their sleeves up there next...

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