Monday, 9 December 2013

Keeping An Eye On The Prize - The Future Of The Moors

What is the prize? - A stonking line is one sort of prize. There are two types of new routes: the hedonistic and the scarring.

The former type is pictured above. A place where you can switch off, enjoy the rock and moves before and after the ascent; with embellishment and recreation occurring in the mind, moulding the experience.

The latter type is something that just scares you: before, after and (most importantly) during the ascent. These are the lines that hang like a carrot nudging you along to improve and to covet. They drive you a bit crazy, sequences spin in the head.

The hedonistic type of route can still be scary, with "fluffable moves" in dangerous settings. They're a bit easier than your max bouldering capabilities, but in a setting where you're really jiggered if you mess it up.

In the other world lies a place where the rawness of the experience has had a lasting, deranging effect on the being. If we assume that hard outcrop climbing is always going to be dangerous, then the main variable that affects the difficulty of the overall route is the difficulty of the moves themselves.  In this land beyond the bubble, the difficulty is at it's highest: as hard as you can boulder. Here the carrot helps again. You might even be able to climb harder moves than you can on boulder problems, due to being stoked off your face.
Beautiful Blank Wall
So where does that leave us? We need carrots. We need those routes that inspire us and are at the perfect level of difficulty: just possible. People have often talked about routes that are 'just possible', but what they meant were routes that were 'just possible for soloing'.  The new wave does not discriminate between maximums on boulders and maximums soloing. If you can do the moves, you can take the chance.

So when you're away, thinking about the Moors and the next step, you need a route. I don't really have one at the moment. The Mono Wall turned out not to be that hard, even without the protection.  H9, H10 maybe, but the moves were not at the total limit. The bubble had started to dissolve, but it wasn't corroded enough to spot all the answers we need.
Right now in the Moors is a very exciting time for those who like to get agitated about numbers.  There'll certainly be loads of E7s, 8s and 9s in the next few years. But for those who are really interested in the new wave, there needs to be a new carrot born; a notch harder than Psykovsky's Sequins. It's at this point that the hedonistic may help: a bit of therapy with some pleasant E8 plods to have another explore, another think, about what the next step in the Moors could be.