Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Waiting Game

November has been a strange month this year. I find it very hard to remember what past Novembers were like, but I seem to remember having climbed at least a little in years gone by. This one though has been a particularly rancid one. High winds, cold, warm, wet: very wet.

It has only yielded a couple of half-decent sessions. The cold brought the promise of better conditions and there was a moment where I saw the future of the Key Heugh project in the bounding glory of completion. This quickly flitted away however and I was left with a pile of ming I really haven't wanted to get on for risk of damaging it.

The finest outcome has been my increments on the upper section. This was not my style, sketchy and I found it really hard. I'm confident that I can solo that piece of climbing now and that by itself would equal any piece of climbing I have ever done before (in both difficulty and quality); It's a mesmerising rise of beauty.

The aspect of the route troubling me the most at the moment is the fact that I haven't linked it. I keep telling myself to stop chasing arbitrary goals (such as the link) and focus on a genuine and heartfelt understanding of the climb. In the past this has always eventually bore fruits, but the lack of a link does really start to set the insecurities flowing.

So it's swings and twirling roundabouts at the moment, with hope and despair performing a canny duel. I'm kind of scared and a little bit excited.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Slog: The Full-Time Job Of A Trad Project.


Man, it's hard. Work, work, work and then your weekend is a pile of rain. The evening sessions have begun, but I'm determined only to get on the route if it's bone dry -  I really don't want to damage this climb and the holds are small. This doesn't leave a lot of time.

It's been great to get out and about in Northumberland. It's a fantastic place and I've bumped into lots of nice people - even a couple at Sandy Crag - determined! I've even been going up to Sandy on rainy days to check gear, keep the route chalked and just generally meditate in the crag's aura. That last one is really important at a place like Sandy (Key Heugh). There is a tremendous energy from unknown sources. They need to be friends, not something you're afraid of.
 Most new psyche for the route has come from Mark Savage. He tried the route years ago and was blown away with the quality of the line. We went up to Sandy together so he could watch my sequence and get some photos. It was great to get such motivation from one of Sandy's adventurers. Other people's words do have effects on you and seeing someone else so keen for this thing getting climbed fans the flames just that little bit more. I'm going to need that this winter.
 There's still been a little time for the wonderful lake district.
I'm getting to the point now where the link is inevitable and all I have to worry about is looking after the route and getting moves to feel secure. There's only one move now that I'm not happy with. Just got to put the hours in I suppose...