Thursday, 12 June 2014

Big Clouds Of Doubt

It's getting pretty close now. The separate parts of the route are all coming together and it's finally starting to seem like a single thing. Conditions are bad and the moves still feel wild. What to do? I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get in the right mental state to go for it. You need to have a manic energetic kind of insanity for this route. You'd need to feel invincible and thoroughly convinced by the value of the climb.I'm sort of there, but need a bit more desire I reckon.

I'm trying it with Matt quite a lot, which adds a bit of a different feel to the route. We normally tend to have our own projects, which maximizes the amount of routes put up, but also adds a sense of loneliness to the whole process. It's a good loneliness mind you, as you really get to know the route. I'd normally stop trying a line once someone else was also working it, but with this thing it's not entirely clear that Matt is going to go for the solo and I've already spent a lot of hours on it, so have quite a rapport.  

It's quite scary to see Matt climbing it actually. He's a fair bit smaller than me and so has to use an even dodgeyier sequence that looks even more mad than the usual method. It will be interesting to see how he gets on with it once he gets all the moves sorted.

What kind of personality does the old arete have then? You could summarise with "fairly easy moves that scare the life out of you". The climbing is knacky and a lot of it is irreversible - so fairly hard to commit to when you have zero gear. There are 'no-hands' moves, there are very high smears, there are wild reverse barndoor moves. It's cheeky and mischievous. It's also loose and bloody dangerous.

It's been a funny old project. The climbing is right at the upper limits of the old-wave style routes put up in the 80s and 90s, but it's taking that philosophy to the extreme. Big holds and outrageously bold. It's the kind of line that will never be tamed. It's fitted in brilliantly with work and hanging around with friends. I'm out of shape, my fingers aren't even that strong, but I can just go there whenever I want. It's an excursion into the mind and the fact that the climbing is so easy allows you to fully loose touch with your body. The solo might still be a way off if this high humidity warmth continues, but I reckon, just maybe, when the time comes, I might just enjoy it! Me and the little arete on a pleasant morning stroll together...

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