Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Swan Song

It's weird being free again and I'm fighting the urge to rush straight back to the Moors and find another project. Sometimes in climbing you get a real sense of what the correct thing to do is at that moment. Currently I have a very strong feeling that I need to take time. The last winter has been really hard on me - both body and mind. It's been cold and lonely. I feel content in Divine Moments Of Truth, but I'm not buzzing off of it. It was a valuable experience that defines me as much as any other climb I've done, but it is only one part of a fantastic and building picture.

I feel now like the North York Moors is where I want it to be. It has a good range of routes from E5- H10 and although there are many more routes to climb at these grades, the framework that is now there, in the form of the routes that are already climbed,  makes the eventual large-scale development inevitable.  I suppose you could ask what the point of all this is? Why do hard routes matter? A fair question, but I think the filling out of the Moors map is important in the psyche of the area - hard routes do define climbing regions to some extent. As I look east from Ingleby now, I see a land of memories and waiting opportunity.

This feeling of success allows me to be selfish. I can think about exactly what I want to achieve in what is now likely to be my last bold-phase of climbing. what I've been dreaming about for a while  is the idea of creating an unrepeatable climb. I'm fascinated by the experience of headpointing routes and the incredibly personal journey that accompanies long-term projects. I think the experience of being the first to climb a line allows for a deeper connection with the route than is possible on subsequent ascents. For this reason I reckon it would be possible to put up a route that is impossible to repeat.

Obviously, in order to achieve this, I need to find something that is right on my limit. I've had some misfortune over the years, with projects that I thought were at my limit being made easier by protection or by different sequences. It's part of the game of new routing and it might actually have saved my life on a couple of occasions. Having said this, I now feel that the time is right to try and find that perfect project right on the edge.

Because the choice of project is so important, it's going to take a long time to decide on one. I have a fair few ideas of lines I've seen that could fit the bill. There are some issues though - too easy/too hard/too safe/ not quite my style. For this adventure, I don't think I'm going to limit myself to the Moors. There are only a couple of places where a project like this could exist in the Moors now and I think it's unlikely they do.

Something positive, stretchy, lanky and fingery.... A solo...

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