Sunday, 17 August 2014

The End Of My Time

Coming to the end of living back in the Moors for the last seven months, you'd expect to feel an unwillingness to leave. In reality though, I feel utterly exhausted; as much mentally as anything else. The Moors always seems to be about the future and for the first time in a long time, I really can't see where this future is going to be. There are still loads of routes, more of the same, piles of unclimbed lines, but after all these years, you start to want something new. Where is the hard AND bold going to come from? Where is Moors H11 going to be? I still haven't found that holy grail. I still haven't found that crux of Fly Agaric in the position of the crux of Sky Burial; my most brilliant move on the wildest fringes of the mind.

On Tuesday I will leave the area for a long time. What's gone so far has been spectacular, of course. It hangs on my memories half as conquest, half as a philosophical journey, but the lines that remain in the Moors as my documented friends still bring a smile. The Tormented Sole (E7 6b), Psykovsky's Sequins (H8 7a), Fly Agaric (H8 7a), Sky Burial (H9 6c), The Waves of Inspiration (H7 6c), The Hypocrisy Of Moose (H8 6c), Present Perfect (H7 6c). These, as the latter name suggests, are the perfect moments of my life. Moments of such exquisite daydreaming that they actually came into being.
The rain patters on the windows again, but for me, for now, it doesn't matter. That pressure of what is to come next, what I should be doing, whether I dare do it, I am momentarily released from. I've survived another Moorland year and the haul has been brilliant. There are still unknowns in the Moors. There are whole cliffs like Eskdale Crag untouched and with immense promise. At every crag there are lines not led. But what is that carrot that keeps you marching through the rain to clean? Is it a 45th H7? Is it a 12,000th new route? Is it a 5th H9? For me the carrot is a new experience, or a new level. I've climbed as bold as is possible on English 6c. I've climbed about as wild as is possible on Moorland quartz. I've found lines that have both this boldness and difficulty together, but they're not for me, they don't fit my body. And it's partly the body that this quest is about.

Find the rock that makes your body express itself the most it can. Find moves that require no movement up or down, just subtle body extensions and retractions. This will force the experience into your mind and give you new vision. There's a route like that out there for me, but I didn't find it and that is my eternal regret.

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