I've not been posting of late regardless of my intentions to keep this blog going, due to exams and life in general and really not much on the climbing front to report! Well, I did have a trip to the Costa Blanca area of Spain but my climbing was so awful that I'm almost embarrassed to write about it!
Winter is well and truly over now, I'm enjoying the sunshine we've had recently, but hanging up my axes was particularly hard for me this year, I love winter climbing so much! And onsighting my first grade IV has just given me a taste for more and it's frustrating that I have to wait now. Only 6months before the first snows of next winter though :oD
So, Spain was dire.........I'd been looking forward to it so much as well, sunny Spannish limestone......yum! Let's see, sunny Spannish limestone was also so polished in the lower grades that it was hideous to climb on, and it was all that horrible slabby climbing with nothing to hold onto other than polished nothingness and trusting your feet on polish. Getting the idea? Of course, I know that Costa Blanca will have areas that arn't so popular and thus less polished but we seemed to go to all the popular areas and I really hated it. RB didn't like it either, much preferring the overhanging stuff that she is used to. I've just heard about all RB's peers in the competition climbing scene having an amazing holiday to Suriana and it wasn't so polished there so I'm led to believe and not as hot either! They had mid 20's where as we had 30's! Too hot!
We started off at Sella, then Marin, followed by Echo Valley and after a days rest, to Gandia, then back to Sella. Of all these places, I'd say only Gandia was enjoyable. And atleast RB had something steep to play on there. Mel set up a toprope for her on a 6b+ called El Sol, so they could both work on it. RB decided that she liked the direct variation over the crux at 6c+ and almost got it. There is clip over the roof but the rope that RB was attached to kept clipping in to the runner that the other bit of rope was attached to, so the toprope was set to run through a quickdraw to the left of the route, and it made it a nightmare to go over and unclip. She'd have got it cleanly if it wasn't for that. Anyway, she's now keen to try and redpoint some harder stuff at home, but we need to find a venue where she likes the look of something. There's a 6c+ at Kirrie she likes and I'm going to take her to Rob's Reed to see what she thinks of it.
I didn't lead much at all on our holiday, just couldn't get to grips with the rock at all, and my head was all over the place. Even toproping seemed to be freaking me out for some reason and I kept feeling all dizzy and sick. I've been suffering from pretty rotten sinusitis and I'd like to say that was causing me to feel dizzy and not enjoy the climbing, but I think the simple fact was that I just didn't like it and it messed with my head!
I've been out at Kirrie a couple of times since then though and my head has been much better thankfully so even though I was threatning to give up rock climbing in Spain, I can't see it happening :o) I managed to redpoint a 6a+ that I'd found desperately hard so I'm pleased with that and want to try working on some 6b's. Don't think I'll get out trad climbing much this summer as my weekends are going to involve lots of hills, to get fit for the Alps.
Speaking of which, D and I had a day in the Cairngorms bagging Ben Avon, which involved a long cycle, followed by an even longer walk, made longer by the fact that we stupidly followed the wrong spur off the mountain and had to back track to get on the right spur! What you get for not paying attention! Last weekend we spent a day up in Glen Shiel doing the South Glen Shiel Ridge, which involves walking over 7 munros and 2 tops. That was an amazing day! The sun was blazing with just enough wind to keep cool in places and I was going really well. We decided to the ridge from West to East rather than the more normal East to West, mainly because D was cycling back to the van and it meant he could cycle down hill at the end of the day rather than uphill.
Getting on to the first munro was a slog however and I was going slow, my calf muscles were so tight, they were causing my feet to go numb! I've been back running lots again but been lazy with my stretching which I mustn't do due to all the old nerve damage in my legs due to my spine! I always seem to have a problem with my legs on the up hills these days and if it's not my calves, then it's twinges of sciatic type pains in my sacral area or pains in my neck. But as soon as I got to the top, it just all seemed to vanish and I had my first hill day in the longest time that I can remember where I felt completely and utterly pain free. It was amazing! I've forgotten how good it feels to be without pain, my limbs felt so much lighter and I moved so much faster than I have been of late, it was a joy to feel back to my old self and D was struggling to keep up, which he never is on the up hill! Although, it transpires that later that evening he ended up with horrible toothache and an abscess forming. So that stopped us in our tracks for doing any hills the next day as he was feeling pretty rotten so I reckoned we should just head home and I couldn't be bothered going out on my own anyway.
We are hoping to get to Skye soon to try and go for a traverse of the ridge (watch this space) but it won't be a proper, 'pure' traverse as we aren't taking a rope and there's no way in hell I'm climbing things like the TD gap and Naismith's Route on the Am Bastier Tooth without one, so it will be more of a scramble and munro bagging traverse, avoiding Naismith's, TD gap and doing Collie's ledge rather than King's Chimney. D wants to see if he can still manage to solo up and down the In Pin but I'm not fussed about doing it as I've done it before and I don't think I'd like to solo down it and I can't be bothered taking a rope for 30m of mod climbing and one abseil! Unfortunately, at this point in time, the forecast doesn't look like it's going to play ball, and neither is D's tooth abscess! So I may just go off on a jaunt by myself into the Cairngorms if the weather is better. We have another week free during July, if next week is duff.
Other major plans are our trip to the Alps at the end of July. We're going for 3 weeks again and will be basing ourselves in Italy to tackle some of the Monte Rosa peaks and I also have my eye on Castor and Pollux. Andy has taken us out to teach us crevasse rescue techniques as I am insisting that we use a rope for crossing glaciers and I'm determined to get D used to tying knots and using the rope! Though he's digging his heels in at the moment, but I will get him there, kicking and screaming if need be!
Other news........RB has completed the 3 rounds of the Youth Climbing Series, coming 1st in the 1st round, 2nd in the 2nd round and 1st in the last round, making 1st place overall. The British Final is at Wolverhampton and is going to be an logistic nightmare! I will be working at my first clinical placement in Fort William and will have to get from there to Wolverhampton on the Friday evening, but I don't finish work until 5.30pm! I'm going to see if I can get a day off and fill in my lost hours during the 5week placement somehow as there's no way RB will compete well, if we don't get down there until 2ish in the morning! The Scottish Finals are also on the 28th May, watch this space.