Monday, 25 October 2010

Weak As Kitten, Inspired Like Fox

I'm definitely weak and very thin at the moment. This is interesting when attempting these routes which I was working when I was stronger.

Up at Kepwick today to try and perfect the groove. The crag was moist and cold after a lot of rain and the sandstone kind of soft as a result. I think someone has been on the Groove as well, as a crucial pocket has had a lot of wear, making it a bit poor.

Trying a physical route like the Kepwick Groove was quite interesting with reduced fitness, as I had to really perfect the sequence to get up it. I managed the crux move fine- it felt hard (cause it is), but I didn't fall off it once. I have the technique for the crux wired- the key being to clamp the top of the toes of the trailing right foot against the wall as you bump up.

The start moves were a different story though, affected slightly by damp I managed the more techniquey move still OK, but the powerful pull on the now damaged pocket just felt way too out there to solo.

After this you have to hang off a rubbish gaston above your head whilst you smear your feet to place the bomber Skyhook (your only gear). This causes a problem as you get massively scared sketching around on rubbish smears before entering the very precise and technical crux, which you need to be relaxed and happy for.
Maybe this was the session where it seems way too hard, before it all falls into place as with the Moose, or maybe it was the session where you realise it's a nails-hard death route that only a total madman would attempt?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Roseberry Direct- A Shower From Success

After a full day of rain me and Luke got out in the two hours of dry weather available. It was horrendously cold, windy and rainy every now and again.

Luke rapped the direct, which he had previously reckoned to be E3 6a! He managed to get one of his new Karakorum 'Knife Blades' in the upper part of the route, which seemed quite good actually.

He was getting psyched for the lead, which I really wasn't up for, with the soft sandstone being like a sponge and very weak and the general extreme cold and wind. It was about this time that it down poured and we ran for the cover of the boulders.

So the direct survives another day. I was kind of hoping he'd do it so I wouldn't have to....

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Back On Some Rock After 6 Weeks

If I were Dave Macleod, I would have been running about, dieting, doing one armers, running some more and writing a book. Unfortunately this isn't the case. When the Doctor said my Hand would be knackered for a few Months, that imediately meant 6 weeks of sitting around an eating.

The Result of this is that I am now massively heavy and have zero strength. Nevermind, I had a good time lazing around and I didn't really have any strength anyway.

I had my first little foray back into climbing yesterday, with a quick moped over to Ravenswick Quarry. I was upset in my cold weak state that I was not feeling much love for the very small crimps down there, but after a bit of soloing up some of the VSs in trainers (scary after sitting around!) I got some blood in my fingers and proceeded to boulder about.

I retro-flashed the V6 traverse, which was most comforting, before doing the 'bummel circuit' (V8) start into it at a similar grade, maybe V6. I then got Lopic's V6 pinch problem second go and then worked on some eliminates on that wall. I eventually managed to put up two new V5/V6s and then worked on a V7, which was really cool, popping off a slopey crimp to a jug.

Despite the rain the floor was dry enough to mooch about in my rock shoes which was good as I didn't have a pad, I returned home a couple of hours later- a new V7 and a couple of V5s in my pocket, a most pleasant home-coming. The grades at Ravenswick are pretty soft I feel and the new problems i've put up are compared to the existing problems (as I haven't really bouldered anywhere else).

The rain has really set in today, but hopefully me and Luke are going to dash out and attempt Roseberry direct (E6 6bish) if the rain ever stops.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Five Days In The Moors

I'm going to be back home for five days. That's five days of mooching about the most magical place in England, working routes and having some drinks with chums. I'm not too sure whether anyone will actually be in a position to climb and be around, but I can get some things inspected and maybe get other projects sorted.

I'm well excited. Stoked for the final few routes which stand between the Moors and completion. Top of My List:

The Groove
Roseberry Direct
Stoupe Brow Groove

They're pretty spread out geographically, but some cold mopeding about should go.


Saturday, 16 October 2010

Mooching Back Into It

It's been five weeks now since I broke my hand and the god of broken hands (metacarpular) has been most nice to me. There has been little pain, except for when mike hit it with a hammer and I seem to be able to hang off it quite well. The swelling is a bit of an issue still, with a very fat right hand, but I’ve always wanted a (second) fat body part, so I’m not too unhappy.

I have to go back to the motherland that is the moors for a few days next week, to see a consultant, so I imagine I’ll be tootling about and getting on some pleasant routes, weather permitting. I'm properly psyched for 'Kepwick perfecting', and hopefully the weather wont stop me getting out.

There's no doubt in my mind any more that I will get on this route. The only question is when. Time, weather and ability are unlikely to coincide, but surely there is no hurdle to such obsessive devotion to one route?Luke at St. Bees

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Grooving to Success

An undercut wildly to a small positive crimpy pocket,
From here a recoup after a very on/off move,
and then divine inspiration,
Still with no gear,
an off balance move with a hard pull to an intermediate edge,
A further unnatural slap,
gain the next pocket with the back of your left middle finger,
This security of a deep pocket is broken as you smear wildly,
right hand on a gaston,
Place the skyhook in that pocket,
sealing your security and fate,
now only your left little finger will fit in,
the sharp edge of the skyhook scrapes at it,
a high foot on a good edge,
out right for a middle finger mono,
Now in a crucifix position,
held by a high right foot,
trailing left,
left little finger,
powerful right hand mono,
Slap to a flat edge by your face,
and then the natural climbing begins,
with one movement,
the hand latches as the right leg extends,
further above your Skyhook,
the right hand is raised to a sloping gaston,
the left hand is brought close by,
pushing at the edge of the scoop,
The left foot is raised,
then raised again,
a massive move,
the crux,
the left foot is so high that momentum must be started by sideways movement,
the left had counter balances,
the right foot scratches at nothing,
all force is driven from the power of you right middle finger,
now hyper extended and the elastic properties of tendons are keeping you alive,
a final build up,
the most important pop of your life,
the jug is reached and only a show-boating pop to the top remains.

10 metres. A lot of thought.

Too cowardly to get on it. Even with an unbroken hand. Macleod reckons to climb 'If six was Nine' (F8a+) you should be climbing F8c+/9a to retreat out of the death zone and be safe. So extrapolate that to the Kepwick groove. A similarly dangerous route, but at about F7c, instead of F8a+, so you should be climbing about F8b/+to be safe on it. This is probably why it hasn't been done. There aren't many people about in the moors who climb F8b, so the only alternative is to be a bit mental. The moors does have a lot of mental climbers (all of the ones that i've met in fact), but not many of them have the interest in extending this to F7c new routes.

Bon bit of pondering then.