Finally it happened - sooner than expected this autumn, but a long time after the first inspiration back in early 2010 and trying to get everything right ever since. The mythical weekend in Glen Nevis when I'm climbing well, know what I want to do, am well prepared, and the weather....well the weather started off at 0'c and a thick frost in the morning, to 12'c t-shirt sunshine, with a cool north easterly casually licking around the crags. Slightly warm, but 90% perfect will do. And so I got to do yet more big, brilliant inspirations, climbs of desire that went a bit like this:
On The Beach: Maybe the biggest one in classic status? 4th time lucky going up to Wave Buttress to do it. Despite the challenge I felt fairly comfortable about the style of the route - off vertical, reasonably protected crack in the lower half, big runouts above some protection in the upper half. Well that confidence came back to bite me on the arse: The runout was as big as anticipated....but the holds weren't! Fantasies of a positive crimpy slab were washed away in a runnel full of rounded side-pulls and bridging smeary knobbles - all above 2 RPs, of course. It wasn't desperate but after several metres of continuously precarious climbing I was shuddering with relief by the time I got to easy ground. The obligatory whisky later on was less to celebrate and more to calm my nerves!
Triode: Only 3rd time lucky for this one. Well the first visit I really wasn't going to get on it, but I got syked enough just doing Diode next to it. Similarly to OTB, this involves thin slab moves with a large runout from the gear. The crucial difference being that both the gear and holds are more obvious - and the latter are clearcut and positive. Which meant that instead of gibbering my way up, I managed to relax, work out the technicality of the crux, and genuinely enjoy some great slab moves. Less fear and more FUN.
Risque Grapefruit: Almost an afterthought and potentially an epitaph. Surprisingly enough this was by far the most serious route of the lot, with a 6m groundfall potential off the first crux and a 16m groundfall potential off the second. The former I got involved with almost too quickly to realise it and I sketched around the corner to the lone gear slot that pointlessly protects a load of easy moves in the middle. The latter I had plenty of time to contemplate and ask myself "how much do I want this?" Enough to pull on some small crimps, smear on some knobbles and lurch over into a blind mossy scoop - but I'm not sure if that was the right answer?? I could do it, I did it, I liked the route overall, but maybe a little bit too much genuine risk.
A weekend of fear, fascination, and fun then...