Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Fail Train.

Dunira or Die, Dunira - failed - did the lower wall fine, got to the crux roof, discovered it's a full grade under-graded and a massively reachy and blind slap, and pretty much gave up in disinterest. Not much I could have done and not much I particularly care about.

The Hard Shoulder, Goat Crag - attempted - wanted to try this for years, and had a very prolonged play around on it recently. A great line but the route doesn't quite do it justice, swinging around to within easy reach of a corner before lurching back onto the line. We tried direct and I got very syked until realising which way it went, at which point the syke diminished but the groundfall potential didn't and eventually I lost the committment. Maybe I will be back, maybe not.

Juggernaut, Goat Crag - failed - got on this late in the day after spotting surprisingly good gear. Got engaged with the crux, realised I needed a different sequence. Came down and rested, went back up ignored my revised sequence, got over-optimistic with my feet and all out of balance and fell off. "Doh" being the technical term. Should have been steadier and more methodical with trying to work out the best sequence.

Master Blaster, Rothley - failed - very cold rock and not perfectly clean. Got my partner to abseil down chalk and brush it. Climbed up easy ground to the break. Climbed up tricky moves to the crucial cam pocket and placed it. Downclimbed and rested until I could feel my hands again. Climbed up past the cam and furtled towards the arete. Too damn cold. Downclimbed past the cam and my foot slipped off and so did I. Fuck. Was going to back off anyway due to conditions, and maybe that's the crux of the day. With warmer drier weather and I might just have pressed on and engaged the crux, or might not have slipped off a hold. Too much inspiration and too little consideration trying it when the last sun it got was probably September and the last ascent god knows when.

Getting home from Rothley with both wing mirrors attached - failed - narrow two lane road en-route to Otterburn. Going down into a dip, another car comes over the brow 1/2 a mile away with snazzy halogen fullbeam on into the same dip. I'm slowing down to try to pass safely but as I get close the last thing I think is "Fuck ME that is bright, that's still full beam, I can't see the verge" and then there's wing mirror flying everywhere. We both pull in, I go to the other car and check straight away to confirm the full beam is still on...

Me: You had your full beam on all the time, I was blinded and couldn't see how far to pull over.

(This is even assuming that it was partly my positioning to blame, which isn't certain)

Other driver: You were going too fast.

Me: I was slowing right down to pass you, I was braking all the way down the hill.

OD: Slowing down to 50 or 60 maybe... Anyway it's only a wing mirror, we can just accept it's an accident.

Me: Yes I will accept that. But did you turn your full beam off when you passed me??

OD: *flaps around evasively* I turned it on just now...

(Fiend thinks: If you're going to lie, at least do a better job than that. Did you turn it on as the obvious first reaction to hitting a wing mirror, or did you turn it on as the standard procedure for pulling in on the side of the road?? Uh HUH.)

Me: *shakes head* You had it on all the time. That makes it hard to pull over safely.

OD: You were still going too fast, you need to slow down more so we can pass each other like gentlemen.

(Fiend thinks: Surely a gentleman would admit to his mistakes and not lie to pretend he didn't do anything wrong.)

Me: And you need to turn your full beam off, as it says in the Highway Code *walks away*.

And then it was just a few more hours of relentless bumbling on the A68 Traffic Jam Road Of Ultimate Shit, going through an entire tank of screenwash with the dirt spray, and getting a sore neck checking to overtake safely on the motorway. Not the most successful climbing day ever.


Update: Lying awake in the middle of the night still thinking about Master Blaster. I'm actually quite upset about messing this one up, because it's one of very few climbs in the County, or indeed North of the grit, that is both at a level of challenge I can just about aspire too, AND is very bold but just about safe. The perfect style of climbing waaaay out from good gear and committing to tricky moves that could result in a massive scraping swing rather than a massive breaking groundfall (as is more often the case in the County!).  The others I can think of are Endless Flight @ Great Wanney (which definitely has to be left for drier weather) and Greenford Road @ Sandy Crag (which is a fucking hike so well off the radar).

Master Blaster could have been the perfect one and I could have done things so much better. Even aside from leaving it for a better day, I could have downclimbed earlier to see just how reasonable the gear situation is (and then maybe committed anyway), I could have marked the foothold so I got my foot in better and didn't slip off, I could have taken the cam out and had a much easier downclimb (a new tactic I really need to keep in mind!!). I could have got the day's plans organised a damn sight earlier and had more time to deal with it. A lot of little things I didn't do right and one little footslip and that's a brilliant potential climb lost for now - I'll have to wait a while for "the onsight to grow back" with this one.

I suppose the copper lining is yet more learning. Learning about complacency. Learning to keep up with my usual dilligence and planning. Learning that there's a reason I wake in the night thinking about these things, because they are meaningful and matter to me, and deserve respect and attention to detail.

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