Friday, 5 December 2014

The wrong side of the pebble.

I think I have improved as a climber since living in Scotland. I have more experience, more mileage on a variety of rock-types, more knowledge of dealing with climbing outside of my comfort zone, more tricks and tactics to use, more confidence due to falling practise, more ability to crank through moves in lead, more awareness of climbing challenges and how to deal with them.

However. I'm not any taller and my skin isn't any less sweaty and I don't have any more ability to hit the ground and bounce rather than break.

So when I go back down to the gritstone and expect to apply all I've learnt and all I've improved at, it's not necessarily going to mean SHIT. Sure last winter I had a pretty good trip at exactly this time, but the luck-based scrittle is as fickle as it is frictional and rounded and success and confidence on one trip / day / route / move is no guarantee of the next. This was well demonstrated on our Stanage day when I spent longer on the single crux move of Count's Wall (HVS/E1) than I did on the entire route of Counterblast (E2/3). Rhyme or reason?? None at all. After a couple of sketchy days I did manage something cool that reminds why grit is worth persisting with, Thumper @ Eastby:

 Still too warm despite being -2'C in the shade at the car.

Run out like a trout.

 Aside from that, this mini-trip was hampered by various things including too much driving, some poor route choices (morpho shite like Dracula) and some slightly poor conditions (thick clart on a first Eastby visit, dank top-outs at Crow Crag). So I've learnt a few things for next time:

  • Minimise driving around.
  • Be wary of under-climbed routes.
  • Have plenty of back-up routes at crag.
  • Have some technical warm-ups / problems.
  • Plenty of stuff to keep feet clean.
  • Long sling for quicker abseiling for gear.
  • Start earlier in the morning if possible.
  • More stretching.
  •  Don't pick morpho routes.
The few glimmers of success and trusting smears have maintained the psyche to go back down as soon as possible too. If the weather allows. Despite being better than the West of Scotland, it doesn't always end up looking like this...(sorry I can't upload that photo here as Googles fucking disgracefully awful intrusive photo enhance shit utterly ruins it even if I pre-tweak the saturation down.)

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