Every ounce of my body bows in disgust as I arch my way through the crux. The side of my index finger screams in rage, as it is forcibly squeezed and pressed into the crystal. Throwing my toe onto the crux smear, my stomach and legs threaten pure mutiny. My fingers sear. My back arches. I am approaching the sky below. The link has come!
To find and hold the crux moves of the Key Heugh arête was a quest into the psychedelic. To string them into the concept of a move was to uncurl the mind to fit perfectly into my body. At this point I thought the line was mine; If I could do the moves, regardless of whether I could link them, then the route was mine. I was wrong. It has been many months now to even link the central crux section together. No move is seemingly that taxing, but somehow it doesn't work.
To the outside world, not a lot is happening and life gently plods on through the interminable tedium. I've been trying to focus on training for the last few months. This is my biggest weakness. I can really enjoy the pain of effort, but I have to be feeling good and after work this is rarely the case. Luckily, I'm so close to being solid on the arête now that I only need to make little inroads in order to be able to lead it.
I've been visiting the crag far less, on the justification that I have the moves dialled, but that I just need to get fitter. It is easy to forget the line whilst training, which is saddening when I think about it. On the few little trips I have up to Key Heugh, the psyche just comes roaring back. I'm fortunate that the route is so beautiful.
I'm starting to think time-frames and gear. Autumn seems like the obvious choice for a lead - cooler and a little more time to work it. We'll see... Gear-wise, I've been giving some real thought as to whether to solo it or do it on hooks. There's a substantial anti-hook movement in Northumberland - for good reason. I respect this and can't think of many places where a hook would be appropriate. The blunt ledge on the arête however is pretty much made for a hook and I'm reluctant to abandon decent gear on the whims of others (when basically I think they're wrong). I'll arrange some tape, hardwood and blutac protection for the hold.