Thursday, 19 February 2015

Plodding on.

Not much has been happening. I've cancelled my grand grit plans for the winter as the weather is just fucking tedious. No matter how confident and inspired I feel in my own climbing, such aspirations just boil down to unfeasible logistics (grit being several hours away) and fighting against something unfightable (conditions that are only good for single sporadic days). After a while it gets too much to bother with. I keep checking the weather just in case but in the meantime I've thankfully got enough psyche for bouldering and that's something that will benefit my climbing too - if my skin recovers enough.

Here's a quick hit trip recently:

Fiend. Back Bowden. February. from Fiend on Vimeo.

Quite pleased with both of those as Sharp Arete SS (not small arete nor short arete!) had felt very awkward on previous attempts in better weather after better warm-ups. This time I got the knack of it pretty easily. Little Pixies always looked too sharp and fierce but it was actually pretty steady especially when I got the right sequence at the start. Both very enjoyable even if I bruised a finger-tip on the latter.

Since then, and as is often the case following a period of feeling good climbing, I got wiped out by the gayflu of a sort. Mild man-flu combined with an evening of hideous nausea left me on the sofa for 19 hours straight, 3 days to get a proper appetite back and a few more to feel normal. Standard stuff but annoying when I can't train nor capitalise on psyche. I've got to Kyloe In once since then for an easy potter around (turns out the Red Rum area is not so easy, but it is pretty rewarding). The crag is getting ever chalkier at the bottom and ever mossier at the top - a pity as the routes have far better lines and far more classic climbing than the indoor-wall-style crank-a-thons that everyone goes for. Obviously I was guilty as charged this time ;).

Next: More training, more skin loss on sharp holds.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Fish out of water.

Bouldering is full of cunts. Even the most cursory glance will demonstrate this: old cunts who have a lifetime of climbing experience to make anything look effortless, young cunts who are slim fingered and supple and might as well be climbing ladders, dedicated bouldering cunts who live and breathe beastmakers and are thus annoyingly strong, non-dedicated cunts who have excelled in sport climbing or mountain marathons or suchlike and are thus annoyingly fit, local cunts who have done the problems a trillion times and could climb them backwards and blindfold, general skinny cunts including female skinny cunts, all of whom have 3/4 of your power but half your weight, lanky gangly skinny cunts who are all spider limbs, tiny midget skinny cunts who are all sinew and tendon, sandbagging cunts who usually end up writing the guides, sharking cunts who make your project look easy because they are literally climbing double the V-grade. Cunts the lot of them.

Clearly I am none of the above. I am quite good at fiddling nuts in cracks (and equally quite good at arranging and optimising pads, although this only makes the moves easier a tiny percentage of the time), and quite good at exploring and finding off-piste inspiration. Thus I often feel like a fish out of water when dabbling in this game - "what, you wanted me to cram my fingers into that tiny ragged slot and crank a fucking mile to some gash sloper? Dafuck! Can't I just twist some offset wires into the slot and yard up the jugs next to it?".

Despite that I do actually like bouldering a lot and sometimes do it a lot. I am actually a boulderer (and therefore, I suppose, a cunt), because when I do it I like it so much, I'm just a trad climber far more. I guess this way I can justify punting along cocktacularly as training for the greater ranges of the Rhinnogs and Ardmair. Until trad season arrives and I have no stamina, of course!

I've done quite a lot of it this last month. Some of it has gone well, some of it has gone weakly, almost all of it has ended up with skin loss of some description. A small amount has even ended up with competent cranking of some description too. Although I've noticed there is a distinct correlation between my success and which direction the grades are gigantically fucking wrong in. If they're two-plus-grades-out stupid sandbags, I don't do very well. If they're two-plus-grades-out silly soft touches, I do quite a bit better. Funny that. If they're actually accurate, I get *very* confused.

Here's some media:

Cave Problem RH at Bowden Doors. 2nd day on after getting fairly thrashed at Hepburn. Cave LH gets 6B, I flashed it as part of a warm-up, PJ did it 2nd go. Cave RH gets 6B+, that extra grade harder (even after having the McNair demonstrate the beta last time) took us about an hour and a half to work out, and it still felt hard. Cool problem though.

Various problems at Carrock. One of my most successful days bouldering, although I still got my shoes full of snow thrashing between the blocs. Left Wall is supposed to be V4, it took 2 sessions although this might be because it is quite reach dependent what footholds you can use. Absinthe was maybe the same grade (was V6 now V5) before I broke off the starting hold  and left a bigger one (and a better problem), it's now a grade easier than LW. This video also shows my general trend of doing pretty well on steep V5-ish stuff at Carrock. Recently PJ, Tris and I went back in incredibly cold and dry conditions and couldn't make any progress on High Flyer nor Fast Cars - exactly the same grades and genres, exactly the opposite amount of success.

Fungatatus Ejaculatus at Doveholes. No quibbles with this one. Lovely problem with an elegant line, seemingly unfeasible moves to start and committing but easy ones to finish. The quibbles come later in the same delightful day at Kyloe OUT which doesn't have that many mid-grade problems but what it does have are varied and good fun. For example: Christmas Tree Arete Indirect - "6C" in 2 goes and maybe 2 grades easier than Potty Training Left Hand "6B" that took 10 goes at Hepburn. The Fat Lady Sang 6C flash, several grades easier than Mantle Masterclass, Smooth Operator "7A" in 3 goes, maybe 2 grades easier than MM. No arguing with the quality of the last two though, great fun.

I have a sliced blister over an old scar ridge on my left main finger so I need to rest for a couple of days now...