RB climbed really well considering she had fractured her toe just 4 days before! The nurse advised that if she wanted to climb her comp, then she should take a couple of days off school so she could totally rest her foot, keep it elevated, iced etc. And the bad toe was buddy taped to one of the others to give it some support and it didn't seem to give her too much grief.
JaimeD demo'd the 11-13 final route and found it really tough, about 7b reckoned!! Only one girl managed to complete it, one girl getting the 2nd last hold, the girl in 3rd position touching the hold over the 1st big roof and that put RB in 4th position again. It was a great round, and nice that it was local.
RB and I drove down to Edinburgh the next day to check out Alien Rock where the final round is being held in a few weeks time, but we were both quite tired. Led a couple of 6a's and RB did her 1st lead belay (belaying me up an F5) and she toproped a few 6b's and 6b+'s, finding them pretty tough though.
Having car problems just now so a day on the Ben this weekend was cancelled, gutted, was looking forward to yet another winter's day after being convinced I wouldn't get another! Still, Andy came down to mine and due to crap weather on Saturday we ended up at the wall, doing lot's of leading.
Sunday saw some much needed sunshine at last, hurrah! We drove up to Clova at the late hour of 11am and set off for Flake Route to warm up on. After trying to lead this with Chris last summer and having a 'mare on it, and feeling hormonal/out of it/crampy belly'd blah blah blah, I was keen for Andy to lead up to the Flake, where the guide said you could take a possible belay. I recall the top bit being a bit run out but the climbing being easy enough, and so it was. The start was just as horrible as I remember it, with me being convinced I was going to fall off that off balance, thuggy, udgy, squirmy, yucky chimney at the start, and this made me feel shaky and less confident the whole way up to Andy. Came very close to getting Andy just to lead the whole route, but no, stop thinking too much and just get on with it!! And I was fine, a bit slow to get going, really having to think about each move and convince myself that my feet were going to stick but I got there eventually, happy that I'd made the effort as if I'd bottled it, it would have ruined the whole day for me I think.
Andy wanted to lead Proud Corner next, a bold VS, one that has a reputation for spanking those who aren't confident at the grade! And of course, this made me nervous as hell! Andy seemed to cruise up it though which made it seem not so bad and before long it was my go. WHAT A ROUTE!!! This simply has to be the best VS I've done ever! Move after glorious move on really small but positive holds, steep and sustained but never overhanging. Every move felt good and in balance and the situations were just mind blowing! Beautiful! A climb I will remember for a long time and one that is now firmly embedded on my tick list!
Was feeling good, feeling confident, sun was shining, good memories of The Beanstalk from last year, so I decided I wanted to lead it. Now, there are a choice of 3 finishes at VS4b, VS4c or HVS5a. I sure wasn't doing the HVS finish and I knew there was one reachy move on the 4c that I just couldn't quite get, so I wanted to do the 4b finish, but was unsure where it went. We decided that I would go as far as the big ledge where the route splits after doing the crux and set up a belay there, then Andy would lead the top pitch. It was fun! Up a chimney, with a couple of steep moves near the bottom (gosh, I didn't remember it being this steep!) Then up to a tree and up a giant flake, steep but you can wrap your hands right round the flakes and the climbing just superb. At the top of the flake comes the crux, a huge and committing step leftwards and a massive rock across, all above your gear, I was buzzing! Set up a belay and we were unsure which way to go next. The 4b finish looked pretty dubious at the grade and Andy thought going direct looked more plausible. I was sure the 4b finish must look harder than it actually is, considering I'd already done the crux, but these things are deceptive! Still, the gear looked good going direct. It was steep though, and quite awkward in places, def not 4b that's for sure! Turns out it was the HVS 5a finish.
And speaking of HVS, Andy then wanted to do Wander, an HVS 5a. It looked hard!
'I'm not sure I'll manage this!'
And I didn't.
Andy found it tough and shouted down that the crux was reachy. Great!!! He belayed on a tree so I could have the rope above me on the hard bit and not take a swing if I fell off. I didn't fall off in the end but I needed a god damn tight rope and ended up hauling on a piece of gear as I just couldn't reach a big jug at the top of the overhang, oh to be 5-6 inches taller! And there's no way in hell I could use intermediate pinches and slopers, not with the bulge pushing me outwards.
The tree belay was horrible too, I was feeling pumped, annoyed for aiding, and annoyed at the route full stop! But we got ourselves untangled and it wasn't far for Andy to lead to the top. I got a bit gripped, unsure of how to move across and away from the tree as there didn't seem to be much to hold on to. Ended up stepping down onto a ledge and moving across that way and eventually finding a 'thank god' hold to move up on. The rest of the moves were steep but positive, still reachy, but do-able.
Never want to do that route again though, utterly horrid!
Not horrid enough to spoil what was a fantastic day though. Feeling good about my climbing at the moment. That's 3 trad routes I've led so far this season, a Severe, a Hard Severe and a Very Severe and looking forward to a summer filled with many more :o)
No photos this weekend.