Friday, 12 June 2009

TIME TO COLLAPSE! - Fri 12th June '09

So, so, so, so tired. I'm sitting writing this and half concentrating on what I'm writing and the other half of me is already snuggled under the duvet with a warm cuppa, reading a good thriller!
So, my week has gone something like this;

Mon - 2 and half hour long exam, 4 mile run followed by a fingerboard session.

Tue - 3 mile run in 21 minutes, followed by gym ball exercises.

Wed - 3 mile run, with faster intervals back and forth (probably making it 4miles) Followed by 4 hours climbing at the wall. Several 6b's and 6b+'s
Thurs - 6 mile run, last mile was hard going!

Then today, Friday I went up to Ballater with Mel, to meet George from Glenmore Lodge and Andy decided to come down too, which was ace cos I didn't think we'd see each other this weekend and it meant we were an even number, so more climbing!
The clouds were a bit grey on driving up, and several idiots on the road later we finally made it there, where the clouds blew over and the sun shone. Nice, but the rock was a bit sweaty in places and regardless of slapping on some of Mel's sun block, I still got sun burnt! Can't find my factor 40 anywhere!
Andy appeared just as I was gearing up to warm up. I hadn't been sure what to do for a warm up. Razor's crack at VS seemed a bit too strenuous to start on and I'm sick of Ping Pong now, so Mel persuaded me to warm up on a 'Severe' called After Shave. I'd normally stayed away from this route, hearing tales of how awkward and hard it was for Severe, but Mel convinced me it was okay. 'S only Severe right? Can't be hard!
The starting moves are a bit awkward but on trying to place a bit of gear, I found myself in a horrible and out of balance position, unable to hold on *and* place gear. Hmmm, this one was going to need a rethink!
Andy asked if I wanted him to lead it for the warm up, but no way! If I gave over the lead now, on a Severe, it would be a bad knock to my confidence and I'd not want to lead anything else that day. I had to figure it out!
It just took a wee committing shuffle upwards of the feet, then I felt more in balance, gear in, high step on smeary hold and up for a jug, nae bother!
The top is a bit tricky too though, certainly not plain sailing and I can see why folk think this route is under graded at Severe. Feels more like HS, but I'm unsure if that's cos I'm not warmed up sufficiently.
George was leading Brut at VS 5a whilst I did After Shave and as he'd finished, Andy decided to have a go. He flew up it, with just a little pause at the crux, then it was my go. God it's hard! The holds are horribly polished and crimpy and it all feels really insecure, esp in the heat! Don't think I'll be leading that one any time soon.
Next it was time for Razor's Crack and boy did I faff! Managed to get a cam in from the ground but failed to reach high enough to get in a good hex to protect the crux moves. And then struggled to get down from the move I'd made up. I was up and down like a yoyo trying to place that damn bit of gear, getting more and more flustered all the while! But I finally managed to get it in, and move up. Very strenuous though, and I'd gotten a bit of tunnel vision regarding my foot until Mel, coming back round from leading Ping Pong pointed out that I needed my left foot higher, and had I not forgotten about a big massive foot ledge on the left, doh! Climbed it completely differently from the last time, and had a wee 'moment' trusting myself to get over the top of the bulge, but finally made it, phew! Heart going like the clappers I needed just a wee minute to gather myself before climbing the easy slab above.
Mel and George had moved onto the middle sector, and Andy wanted to do Cowardie Custard. I was keen to second this, as Mel had led it previously as her first HVS lead and had found it enjoyable so I wanted to see what it was like. Over a roof which was good, but the holds looked small to me! Andy took a bit of time figuring the crux and when it was my go, I did it completely differently to him, initially getting my foot too high and not managing to get over the roof, before finding a lower and better hold. I'd like to lead this one day, but not any time too soon!
I wasn't in the mood for Lucky Strike, just didn't feel at my best today. Felt very unfocused and almost like I was reverting back to my days of not feeling confident and bottling things and I seem to be getting easily flustered and forgetting to pack things into my sack when we were moving about.
I'm too harsh on myself though! I can't expect every day to be a good day, and my shoulder was giving me quite a bit of grief, with stabbing pains occurring at the back of my shoulder blade and into the top of my back, and my hands had been numb all morning and weren't showing any signs of clearing up. In the end I decided I'd go for leading Left Hand Crack at VS 4c. Not one that I was dying to do, but it would be an onsight for me, one of the few VS's left at Ballater that are there for the onsight.
Got my first bit of gear in, then climbed back down and gave it a damn good tug to make sure it wasn't going anywhere as it was a pretty crucial runner! Then it's a really good undercut, a high step and a big reach to a good hold, then up to a rounded hold. Eeeeeeek, this didn't feel nice to place gear from! I shuffled my weight more to the right, getting my fingers round a crimpy side pull in a crack and that felt more in balance and more secure, but hell it was PUMPY!!!
C'mon gear, get in, get in! Gear is in, but feck me, what do I do now? Looks a bitty blank for my feet! Can't remember what the hell I did, but sure it involved some trickery, before finally moving up to the most glorious jug ever, followed by a sinker of a nut! OH YEAH!
The next moves were easier and nice climbing, then up a groove/chimney-esque thing to the top. Now that was a nice lead :o)
George had just finished Pink Wall and I got some photos of Mel on her nemesis and then belayed Andy on Flibbertygibbet. It's a fab route! I really wish I'd saved it for the onsight as it's exactly the sort of thing I love. Steep and juggy crux, nice!
I was getting quite knackered by this point and gave over the next lead to Andy, who decided on Black Custard at E1 5b. It looked steep and hard! But the holds looked good. Mel was leading Original Route by this point so after I taking some more photos I went to belay Andy, trying to watch carefully how he did the moves. The start is easier than I thought it would be, need to trust your feet! But the hand holds are good, and they take you into a narrow and precarious groove, where you really feel like you're going to be spat out any minute! I managed to hold myself in though and eventually you can move out of the groove and into overhanging ground above with really good holds. The top is hard though! VERY strenuous, really teeth gritting and gurning stuff! I thought I wasn't going to make it, and came very close to shouting, 'taaaaaaake!' but I was determined to climb it cleanly. What an amazing route!
Time is getting on, so Andy and I went down for me to do Medium Cool, whilst George led Flibbertigibbet. Back down at the Western Sector it seemed to take ages for me to get my gear sorted, then I couldn't find my small cams, then I got the cams Andy had lent me for the route, muddled with his other cams and before I knew it, it was 3.40 and I knew I couldn't lead Medium Cool and be back in time for RB. Annoyed at myself for giving up my earlier lead, but can't be helped! Strip all my gear off and grab Andy's rack to take over to the base of the route where he's sorting the ropes. Andy is going to do Silent Spring at E1 5a instead, eeeeeek E1 slabs!!!
The start follows the same route as Medium Cool and I find it easier and the traverse less scary than first time round, and the overlap just as hard! Then it's up to the tree and up a curving line on utterly blank slabs above. Pure friction climbing, and the foot 'holds' are just clear enough of the black lichen that covers the slabs and I can just make out little nodules and nubbins to use as hand holds. Very tenuous, as only slabs can be, with a couple of reachy rock overs and then I'm up! Ugh, horrid!
Mel zooms me back down the road in time for RB. Quick bite to eat then RB and I head off to AVW in Dundee.
Can I boulder after a day's climbing, no way! So tired! I do try though. Traverse the whole wall, holding holds on each move for 6-7 seconds, holds getting smaller and smaller. Then RB and I have our, add on a hold traverse and we do it a bit differently than normal, adding on fun things like climbing backwards up corners etc. The game terminates with RB on the arch over the roof, doing a figure of four. Hah! I cannae do that! And off I fall!
Next we do an easy 4x4 on 2 VB's and 2 V0's. Pick 4 boulder problems and climb then one after the other, rest for 30 seconds and do it all again, repeating 4x. I'm finding it tiring cos I've been out all day, but know when I'm fresh we'll have to make it a bit harder! Maybe 2 V0's and 2 V1's. That's me knackered now. RB gets in about some volumes, with much wedging and so on but I can't get off the ground.
Tomorrow, I'm going for another run, then out shopping to buy summery clothes for a trip to the Gourette area in the French Pyrenees (watch this space!) and I'm looking forward to having a lazy lie in, sweet!

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