Wednesday, 26 May 2010

WASH OUT - 24th/25th May '10

Bekah had a long weekend off school and I decided to take her out climbing seen as we don't get out together very often.  The weather wasn't playing ball at all though.  The forecast had been so changeable, unable to make it's mind up as to whether it was going to be rainy or sunny.  At the start of the week it said that the forecast for Sat 22nd was going to be showery up in the NW, so finally I decided that as RB wanted a day at Ratho to practise on the comp wall that we would go then.  We were committed to going as I'd already arranged for her to spend time with her Dad afterwards, so when the forecast changed again and it looked liked Saturday was going to be a scorcher of day, it was too late to change plans.  As it was, the Sat/Sun would have been absolutely stunning for climbing but we sweated and huffed and puffed away at Ratho, RB leading a few 7's on the comp wall, a first for her as she normally only tries one hard route a day.  Sunday was a rest day, and unfortunately, by that time the weather was looking a bit crap for Monday!
We drove up to Kirstin's on Sunday night, and it was lovely to catch up with an old friend, then Monday morning we met up with Andy at Cummingston.
It was cold and it was windy and we weren't there for long at all when it started to rain.  RB managed to squeeze in a lead of a Diff beforehand and Andy a VS.  I was feeling all hormonal and hadn't slept well the night before due to back pain so wasn't feeling great at all and shook and wobbled my way up the Diff, feeling awfully exposed and shaky, not enjoying it at all!  I decided not to climb anything else and pootled about bouldering and taking photos.
Andy was slow to warm up too because of the cold and found the VS difficult.  RB said she found getting the gear out quite awkward but other than that it posed no problems for her.  After the heavy shower stopped, the rain had pretty much soaked the rock, so we headed over to the Prophet Wall area to see if the routes under the roofs were any drier, which they were.   Andy ran up and set a toprope up on the E2 5c called The Prophet.  RB had toproped this a couple of times last summer and had talked about wanting to lead it.  She toproped it again a couple of times and flew up it gracefully and stylishly, but although she can do the moves and reckons she could be in balance to place gear, she didn't want to lead it in the end.  I think she made the right decision as it's a big jump from leading a few VS's to leading an E2.   But that route is there waiting for her once she has more experience of leading and still wants to do it.
Andy then ran back around to set a toprope up on what he thought was another E2, but the rope ended up in the wrong place and on an E4 6a called Aesthetic Ape.  Andy thought he might manage to toprope the HVS to the left called Gripper, atleast up to the crux, but whilst he got his shoes on, RB decided to have a bash at the 6a.
She found it fingery as hell and it took her several goes to get up to the crux.  Once at the crux, she found it just too crimpy and was unsure where to go and what to do so came back down.  She studied the route from the bottom and we read the guidebook, realising that she'd tried to go the wrong way at the crux, no wonder it was so hard for her!  Not that 6a is easy of course!  But instead of trying to climb the rib, she'd gone too far left and was trying to get up a blank corner!  The rib looked steep and hard, but do-able as atleast it had actual holds.
Inbetween climbs, RB and I had a play on the boulder beside Left, Right and Centre.  There are some problems on this boulder but I don't know what they are called.  I only did one easy one and RB did a few.  Then Andy toproped the HVS and we decided to call it a day as we were all getting cold again.
On Tuesday, the forecast looked okay for the NW but I couldn't be bothered driving up there, and then having to drive home the same night.  The forecast also looked okay for the Aberdeen coast and RB and I were keen to try out our new bouldering mat, so we took a trip up to Portlethen.
I'd been there a few times several years ago, but this time, on my own and with nobody to show me where the problems are, I couldn't make head nor tail of the guide book!  We spent most of our time there trying to figure out where all the boulders were.  I found the Pit fine, and the Sea Pig, Pedie Prow and the Scallop.  We stopped off at the Scallop but I remember finding the 4c there hard a few years ago, so I certainly wouldn't be able to do it now, and RB was put off by all the sea beasties jumping out the cracks.  We headed over to the Sea Pig instead where I remembered an excellent and fun problem called the Ramp.  I tried it a few times, but I'm just so weak now that I couldn't barely get off the ground on it.  RB had a go after my first feelbe attempt and cruised it first go, even finding the hidden top out hold with no problem whatsoever.  Once I knew what to do with my feet, I fared a little better next time, getting to the end of the ramp, but I just didn't have the strength or oomph to push up for the top and gave up feebly.  RB then had a look at the Prow, but declared it impossible by look alone, then had a a bash at Crack of Dawn.  She found the starting holds too difficult, got one move up and then fell off.  Bouldering out is much harder than bouldering in.
I think if she watches better folk doing these problems she might be able to flash them, and if not she can certainly get them after a few goes.  We tried to figure out where the Ramp Extension went, but it mentions finishing at a jug to the right of The Groove, only problem was there was a couple of grooves and we wern't sure which was the right one!
By this point it had started raining and we slithered about trying to find the other boulders.  I was trying to find the Broccoli Garden and found where it should have been according to the guide.  But it was on about side pulls, undercuts and breaks, only problem was there were undercuts everywhere and breaks everywhere too!  So it was impossible to tell which problem went where, and the rock looked pretty lichenous.  I looked at photos of the problems later and it turned out that I couldn't have been at the right boulder at all, as the one I saw in the pics looked completely different!  Now the rain was on full force, my shoes were soaked and we were getting wet and more to the point, the rock was getting damp and rain splattered.  Getting back to our sacks was a task of slipping and slithering about where we called it a day and went to the wall in Aberdeen intstead.
I hate driving in Aberdeen!  The road signs are awful and they have you switching lanes all over the shop!  There are no signs whatsover for the climbing centre which is a damn nuisance for the first time visitor who's not sure of the area.  Getting into the wall is a hassle of masses of paper work and we were disappointed to hear that Aberdeen Wall does nothing to support the Scottish Climbing Team in their training.  We had a play about on the boulders which was fun.  The bouldering area is really quite small, but it does pack a lot in.  I managed all the V1's without difficulty and a couple of the V2', and a couple of ungraded things which looked easy.  The V3's were beyond me though.  RB onsighted a V3/4 and got up a V4/5 without too much work.
We then borrowed a rope off Ryan and RB led a few routes, a 6a and an overgraded 6b.  She tried a 7a but was all out of steam by then and didn't get very far.
After a complete and utter panic of losing my car keys, we called it a day.

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