20 May 2009

back to the grindstone

as Canon bodged the repair of my lens it looks like its words only .....

after two weeks not climbing i received an invite to go to the peak for some routes so here i am on the grit for the first time in a few years. What an effort it has been trying to get anything done though! first thing i thought when i wandered along Curbar; is this it?! the whole place has shrunk while i was away and looked pretty uninspiring. Two days of drizzle and increasing wind didn't help either. But eventually i found myself on a couple of undeniable awesome lines. Problem was they were in the E7/8 range which was what Marcin was psyched for. I'm not sure i'll ever do a line of that gravity and as a gentle warm up in to a summers trad climbing? Barking.

To relieve the stress of top roping these grades, or worse belaying, i did a quick session on an old and very very long term bouldering project (hmmm retro flash or retro quick tick possible i wonder?) and much to my relief did ok on it. So at least i have not got any worse from 3 months climbing.

After just about ticking a couple of E2's (that had a total of about 5m of climbing on them but felt like a full pitch of WI6 each (only more pumpy)) I could see that a change of attitude was required or at least a new mantra as my old 'at least you wont hit anything' wasn't fooling me here. Maybe tomorrow will produce a breakthrough?

A small breakthrough came after finding some dry cool rock at Gogarth (Holyhead mountain so not really Gogarth) then crimping my way a respectable way. Then was getting psyched for millstone and of course it rained as i was half way up the warm up at least it was HVS jamming and i was on a second.

If you are going to hurt yourself it might as well be on an E7 rather than an E3. (Marcin P)

never did do that bouldering project either!


There is nothing like a good weather climbing day in the UK and today has been nothing like good weather, however the climbing has been memorable. Despite the piss pour forecast i woke to blue skies and after meeting Pete set of for Gogarth to take a look at Quartz Icicle (sans piolet). Eyeing the slab across the zawn for the first time lead me to suggest climbing Wen instead but once abbed in and gripping the rock agreed on Concrete Chimney. So as i traversed from the ledges on the wrong line unable to feel my fingers or toes with the salty spray blinding me and the wind blowing off balance i got the feeling it was not going to be an average day.

As i neared the edge of the slab something was prodding me in the ribs, looking down i was surprised to see a number 3 camalot floating about in the updraft! the tensest moments on this trip was when the wind stopped and in the quiet i would hang on doubly tight waiting for the inevitable gust. Later Pete decided that a quick trip across the last pitch of Dream was in order and set about steadily traversing above the foam packed zawn at this point the sun came round the rib and provided some slight warmth to my belay, on my turn across i looked down from the warm and sheltered final slab in to the zawn and watched the breakers roll in.

If the coiled rope blows across the car park and the Coast Guard notice board mentions something about a Force 8 ..... go climbing.

back at the car a good looking wall caught our attention and I decided to take a look. The first bolt seemed a bit high and it was only when i reached it that i found out it was dodgy and now i was on a boulder problem with brambles for a mat. At least the bolt excuse allowed me to beat a dignified retreat.

As we sat in Petes Eats and watched the heavy rain we concluded there was only one place to go and climb in these soaking conditions. The Slate.
Ibex is the first Welsh slate dry tooling line (appx M8) it has been created on a steep wall on the RHS past Dali's by Owen and Rocio then, with their agreement, climbed by Pete. Good climbing on mainly drilled holds leads up the steep blank wall that luckily stays dry in the rain.

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