Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Final Conflict.

Right, I've got to stop focusing on this bouldering malarkey. I went to do some trad the other day and got pumped putting my rack on. Horrible. I hate having no stamina, so I better start working on that. I could also do with letting my skin recover for a few days or 9 months or so. It's been fun but now it's warming up a bit (no doubt a pre-cursor to the monsoon season), the urge for trad exploration is increasing as the biting crispness is decreasing. There's still some blocs I'll throw in the mix for cooler / showery / partnerless days: the County 6C roof tryptich (Bechstein @ Back Bowden, Roof LH @ Kyloe, Neb Roof @ Shaftoe - all 3 in a day would be thematically exciting if hugely ambitious), Timmy Tiptoes @ Shaftoe if there's a freezing day, Cave Arete and Homo Horizontalis @ Edlingham if I'm feeling strong. Notice there's a theme here of steep problems that should benefit warm muscles more than freezing friction. Nameless Pimp Toy @ Stronlachar is also unfinished business and rematches with both St Bees and Cammachmore might be nice. BUT other than that it's on with the trad and training as a focus. Mileage at first then getting further afield and south of the wall once I'm back into it.

The final few trips out onto mico-pad-shuffling have been as fun and rewarding as previous visits:

Gillercombe bouldering.

Gillercombe is a magical place. Once you've slogged around the ridge from Honister (accurately upgraded to 40 mins in the Lakesbloc guide), the cwm is a haven of hidden isolation, with only a couple of dry stone walls hinting at the human world beyond the hillsides. The boulders are attractive and aesthetically scattered and climbing on them is varied and as good as any Lakes bouldering. Definitely worth a visit. Take a friend and a picnic, take a bunch of mates and stay in the Honister YHA, take just yourself and a meditative appreciation.

Fiend Carrock etc

Carrock Fell is obviously a firm favourite. It's a wonderful bouldering arena in the right conditions (and a skin-shredding nightmare of impossibilities in the wrong ones). There's always so much to go at, and even with 4 fairly successful visits this winter, I can see myself returning regularly. I had a lightning quick visits with 3 similarly graded problems to aim for, with very different outcomes: Canada Dry - felt spot on, fierce and fingery but went okay. Boardman's RH - got shown some different beta by a local and it was complete piss. High Flyer - spent an hour trying to make any sense of the start and couldn't get off the ground, complete nonsense.

I got a bonus in at Scratchmere Scar too. This was supposed to be a trad warm-up trip, I did a bit and got sweaty and scared. The bouldering sector was in the shade so with a bit of furtling around and a brave tied-in spotter I did The Aspirant, quite a hidden gem of good edges for the feet and bad smears for the hands.

That makes this season's tally of my harder problems look a bit like this:


Iceberg V6/7 - brilliant moves
A Northern Soul V6/7 - very aesthetic
Titanic Arete V6 - good line but burly
Cave Central LH V6 - varied and complex
Smooth Wall V6 - delightful grit
Old Spice V6 - good sloper action
Little Pixies V6 - good crimper action
Rheumatology V5 (not V6) - lovely rock, fun
Surprising Solution V5 (not V6) - steady fun
Duvel 8.5% V5 (not V6) - minor but okay
Smooth Operator V5  (not V6) - fun mantle
Dog Eat Dog V5  (not V6) - neat wall climbing
Zero Kelvin SS V5 (not V6) - very cool moves
Absinthe V5  (post-breakage) - good crimping
Arete LH Stand V5 - good line but burly
The Long Reach V5 - nice power climbing
Sitting Arete V5 - cool hooking fun
Apprentice Wall V5 - fantastic highball
Howff Roof V5 - steady fun
The Aspirant V5 - techy hidden gem
Canada Dry V5 - razors but satisfying
Cave RH V5  (not V4) - great techy roof
Left Wall V5  (not V4) - thin morpho but cool

Which is nice.

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