Thursday, 17 June 2010


Well, that's the YCS over for another year, although RB wants to enter the BMC Open European Youth Competition on the 24th July, so we were finally able to spend time climbing outdoors instead of at the wall.  I was half looking forward to it, but half nervous seen as it had been a long time since I'd climbed outdoors, bar scrambling, and the last couple of times I had been out, my head just hadn't been in it at all.  I think RB was feeling the same way a little, a bit uninspired by doing all the easy things at Kirrie again, forgetting that she was a much better and stronger climber than last year.
We met up with Jon at Kirrie Hill, our weekday venue, around 4.30 and after a bite to eat for tea, I wanted to start of on the 3+.  Very, very easy but I wanted to get my head back into gear and get myself used to being back on rock again.  I didn't feel wobbly at all which was ace and really, both RB and I should be warming up on the 4's now, not the 3's!   Jon led the 6a called Spent and then RB and I both led La Plage, at 4.  Now, this is a route, that even though it's an F4, I've never been able to get cleanly 1st go.  It's got a really reachy move at the start and I have to do it differently to most folk, but I can never seem to remember the sequence that I have to use!  Well this time round I seem to find it easy!  My technique is either improving or my head is just improving with the ability to just 'go for it,' maybe a bit of both.  Anyway, I managed it cleanly 1st go today and was chuffed as hell.  I thought that even if I climbed badly for the rest of the evening, then I'd still be happy to have led this cleanly.  RB of course found it a doddle, even if she too can't reach the holds at the start and has to use a different technique.
We then went left of the central section where there are some new routes and Jon led one of the new 6a's there.  These new routes need ALOT more traffic!  They are crumbly as anything, I find that they are far looser and more crumbly than the 1st routes at Kirrie ever were.  Folk who climb then should be prepared for holds snapping off and I think that anyone who climbs them should also spend some time deliberately pulling off the loose crap.  Anyway, Jon really didn't enjoy this route as it was so loose.  He pulled off a hold on the crux moves and fell off, and then some rock crumbled underneath his foot and he fell off, think he was getting pissed off by that point!  But give him his due, he completed the route, pulling off more rubbish as he lowered down.  I declined climbing the 5 that I was going to try as the starting holds looked loose and the landing was a massive pile of nettles as tall as me!
Instead we went over to the mound.  I'd planned to do the 4+ there, but there was already someone on it, so I went for Mushroom Heads at 5+ instead as it's a route I like, especially the wee laybacking moves at the top.  RB then did the 6a over the roof called Grassy Knoll and totally cruised it.  She had one wee difficulty reaching the clip over the roof and was having to really, really stretch up for it, but then realised after that if she had just taken another step or two up, there was a nice juggy hold to clip from.  She got her leg up high as she does and flew over the roof like it was a stroll in the park.  Onsighting a 6a on her 1st day back, something that took weeks for her to work up to last summer. 
Jon then led the 6a called Another Green World and as I needed to go and find a quiet bush somewhere, RB and I swapped goes and she led the 6a+ called Spirits Drifting and I was back in time for her starting it off.  She had tried this on toprope last summer but just couldn't do the crux moves at the start.  This year it was little trouble for her however and after a few grunts she was past it and over the overlap and up to the top.  Next, I led the 5+ called Mound Over Matter which goes over the big roof on jugs.  I'd watched a big hold break off it when some other guys were climbing it and when I got up to the roof and saw that the crucial crux jug was loose, then it got quite exciting!  Hmmmm.  The guys below shouted that they had used the loose hold and it had held fine, but I was dubious.  I can't remember how, but I managed to clip over the roof so I could commit to the loose hold without a big fall if it came off. I wobbled the hold up and down a few times and it did seem to be wedged in place so I just went for it.  It held fine and I managed to reach the next jug up, was moving quickly, can remember throwing an Egyptian move in there somewhere to get over the roof and I was up and over.  Apart from a wee thin move to the lower off, the rest is easy.  Felt really chuffed to have led this cleanly though, even though I'd onsighted it last year, it still felt good to do.  I was really enjoying being back out climbing again and next time I'll push back onto the 6a's and might even try a 6a+.
Jon then led the 6a+ called Dogmatic which has got a really hard start, which I find nearer 6b, maybe cos I'm so short!  But he flew up it no problem at all.  RB then wanted to lead a 6b called Paws For Thought.  Jon had led this last summer and had taken a few goes to crack the start of it.  It's very thin, delicate and balancy and throws many people off!  There is a tiny crimpy slot in a very steep slab and you have to use this to get your feet high enough to then reach up for a good ledge.  RB tried to do it statically the 1st time and came flying off, taking her 1st fall outdoors, more of a fall and a swing though as the clip was near to her.  She then balanced up delicately, got her foot up and managed a small jump for the ledge which she caught.  No matter though as she couldn't have got the onsight anyway, having tried the route on toprope last summer.  But I'm confident that she can be onsighting 6b's no problem now.  And if I know RB, she'll be wanting to try 6b+'s next!  She found the next bit of the route okay but said that the roof was really committing.  She had to trust to tiny crimps on a slab below the roof and said the jugs on the roof were juggy (ish)  She then did the RB special by getting her leg up to head height and rocked over for all she was worth to get over the big roof at the top and that was it, her 1st clean 6b lead outside.
It was a fab session for both of us, and I was so happy to be back outside and actually enjoying it again, it makes me dream of mountain routes and warm, sunny rock.

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