Friday, 13 April 2012

Video: The Dark Depths Of The Innsbruck Boulder Scene

So this is how I spend most of my time in Innsbruck. A great resource at only 2 euros a time. If only such things were so cheap in the UK. Just a rough edit of the end of a session...

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Exiled Crusader Tormented By Obsession

Well, perhaps exiled 'filler-in of crappy lines no one else can be bothered to do' might be more fitting. Anyway... Obsession is an interesting topic.

People often proclaim themselves or others 'obsessed'- with climbing, a woman, chess - there are a fair few things that people get pretty 'in to' for sure. I've always steered well clear of saying I'm 'climbing obsessed' for three reasons: the first is that I find it a bit of a cliche; the second is that it infers a lack of control; and the third reason I don't like to admit it, is probably because I am obsessed- much in the same way that an alcoholic likes to shy away from his addiction, I don't really like to let on that most of my waking moments are ravaged by an insatiable desire to bring North York Moors climbing into the modern age.

The Unclimbed Kepwick Groove

This is only heightened by my exile in the German lands. Before, if I really missed the moors, I could just pop home and get annoyed at how far off I was from leading the Mono Wall, or some Nick Dixon death route, and that would satisfy my bubbling 'psyche' for a while. Here though, I am trapped. There is rock all around me; big cliffs of blinding limestone next to my window; to the south, intricate and beautiful walls of granite. But it's not the moors!
Generic Unclimbed Wall- This one isn't even on the list

I remember when I was asking around for advice on how to get strong enough for the Mono Wall (An unclimbed overhanging wall in the moors), some chap said:

"So you want to get good on the best climbing Austria has to offer so you can complete a project on Danby crag....WTF man! "

This reply made me smile so much and this is the obsession part I feel. I love the disbelief, the ignorance of most people as to what beauties lie in the hidden heart of the bountiful Moors (no doubt all over the UK) and of course the fact that there are so few people who have discovered her treasures.
A New E5 on a Crag where no routes had previously been recorded.

I often read the history sections of crags in the moors and it isn't uncommon to see "after a gap of 30 years X came to the crag and climbed X route." That's 30 years! In a sport which has only really existed for less than a hundred; A long time. What happened in that time? Did little Clemmitt's crag just go to sleep? Danby crag morph into a panda and went off for a bit of hibernation?

This is perhaps the wonder of esoterica- the completely untouched nature of the rock. There are routes out there that lie under a thin veil of lichen as good as those head-line grabbing walls, or those polished classics at Stanage that thousands of hands and feet have scrambled over. There are so many of them too. This is what makes me twitch at my desk in Austria. I can only train so many hours a day and so many days a week- the rest of the time I must sit here thinking of the enormous list of routes that are just sat waiting. The Magic Scoop, The Mono Wall, The Kay Nest Aid Route, Vulcan Arete, The Stoupe Rib... The list goes on and on. A life time of climbing that I can't spend my life climbing; The epitome of frustration.

One Buttress That is Complete- The Twin Aretes
(Hypocrisy Of Moose is the centre arete)

So I think I am fairly obsessed and I hope a few more people will get obsessed too and help me out on getting some of these lines climbed.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A Week In Arco

A Crag

As well as having its own collection of excellent sport climbing, Innsbruck is also perfectly located for forays into other world-class areas. One such area is the arco valley, north of Lake Garda, which is just over 200km away and more importantly only about 40 euros return on the train/bus.

With some chums from Manchester visiting this area for a week over Easter, I thought it provided me with a perfect excuse for a bit of a break from my bouldering regime and of course a bit of a holiday.
Fools in the Sun- getting shown-up by the super strong 'Craig', or Greg as he is more commonly known.

I didn't really climb that much- a few 6b+ - 7a+ routes - but it was interesting to see how differently you climb after getting stronger. My endurance was obviously painfully absent, which wasn't a big deal as it was a holiday, but the way I felt on moves was bizarre.

Everything just felt like jugs all the time. And even though I had no endurance, because I was used to such small holds, I found I could rest on way smaller stuff- which was good. I just felt more secure as well- even when being belayed by people I didn't really know (and hence trust), I knew that if I fell off it would be because I tired, not just slipped or my fingers gave in. The knock on effects for trad onsighting are interesting, just a bit of a shame I never go to the lakes or wales anymore...