Friday, 17 January 2014

Winter Wankery.

Facebook could do an awful lot to sort their shit out: Cut into their quadrillion dollar profits and reduce the advert spam a little, make photo album organisation less vomitously awful, either stop treating their users like cattle or at least stop the facetious pretence that they aren't, make the world's biggest site even the slightest bit user-friendly (although I bet if you're an advertiser spunking money down their throat it's set up as slickly and smoothly as an oiled seal). But the one thing I'd really like is to have some auto-filter for posted photographs that immediately blocks winter climbing photos. Plenty of my Facebook friends I'm sure are lovely people and I've found them great fun to be with for 8 months of the year, but winter climbing is a repugnant turd of an activity and I don't really need to see photos of it any more than I need to see photos of over-priced bike parts or baby's first potty success or what it looks like sharing a pint with some other people I don't know, or any other paint-drying visual sleeping pills. Hang on a sec, let me email Dulux and see what they have in their "Extra Slow Drying With No Colour Nor Texture Change" range. I know what a snowy cliff looks like, it looks like a cliff that is too fucked up with snow and ice to be worth climbing, gods winter in Scotland is bad enough without hammering it home every 5 posts. At least there is still Professor Tristram Brubaker keeping me up to date with current affairs and the Lyons posting some proper sport climbing videos, but then again Tris has been slacking off with the Daily Mash links and Lyons has started posting vegan propaganda too, something that is even more evil than winter climbing, although still some way below the instant-defriend spam of Yes Scotland hysteria posts. Still, at least there are still cat videos, can't ever get bored of cat videos.

Anyway, where was I?? Of yes, bouldering. I'm not sure it's even been a good winter for that yet, although I don't really know as I haven't been doing any until recently. It was good enough for snatch trad days before the year rolled over, and that was good enough for me. But now there is a certain grey, sapping bleakness in the air and it feels more suitable to lounge on a mat than dangle on a rope - well until I can get back down to the grit, anyway. Having done quite a lot of the most inspiring problems I can do in Scotland in recent years, I've not got that much I'm keen for without going completely off piste (a relative term given that even 3 star classics away from Dumby/Porty can fee like unclimbed problems) or commuting up to Torridon on a regular basis. So I've just been dicking around in the County a bit, or trying to at least:

Shaftoe: a fuck of a long drive as always although for once the A68 was mercifully quiet. Problems of interest were: Classic Arete, very cool and involved for an easier problem with a proper mollusc grovel to finish as the top-out was slimey (possibly more so after I'd been on it), Mini Power (above) which is an ace problem, I'd tried this before but with a full on slap off razor crimps high above a sloping landing had backed off. This time team syke and 4 pads helped although it still took a few goes and a few mm off my finger skin. Finally tried Smooth Wall again, redialled the sequence nicely but ran out of skin / daylight / will to live. I'm sure I will get it although I've realised of course it is quite morpho as lanky fucks can keep their left foot on whilst slapping again for the top, I actually have to properly rock over crimping on a low smear for my left and an even worse high smear for my right. Still maybe 3rd time lucky....

Garleigh: a 2:20 hour drive in glorious sunshine to an open and exposed discover it is wetter than a cod's cunt?? Oh yes please that sounds fun. On the other hand it does look like a very nice gentle-heighted mileage venue, so I will be back later in the spring.

Back Bowden: by this time the glorious sunlight had faded and there wasn't long before all the light faded too. Unfortunately Mantel Misery and Mantel Masterclass were gopping too (WTF is it with the County at the moment?? Too windy in a westerly, too damp in anything that isn't a westerly...), I pottered around on some easier warm-ups, and tried: B4 Traverse - seems quite cool but needs colder conditions and I couldn't be arsed working it, Pick Pocket - absolutely laughable at V4, I could barely work out a V6 sequence that might involve a smeary dyno off a 1/5th pad 3 finger crimp, let alone anything sensible, and finally Flying Leap - which is more complete bullshit in both description and grade (positive holds? V2 dyno? Uh....HUH) but on the other hand I did work out a very cool natural V4/5 wall problem climbing up on tiny holds and tenous bridging. Ran out of daylight but I will be back for that. The roofs were too cold so will be back for those too.

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