Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Boulderers Anonymous

I've always been a pretty rabid anti-boulderer. Why would you spend all day falling off a small rock, when you can do worthwhile trad routes instead? With that in mind I have a confession to make:

I've been bouldering. And really enjoyed it.

After Carrock Fell and then a slothful December, I brought in the new year with a Bank Holiday visit to Crookrise with Sophie, young Dan and friends. It was baltic (there were icicles hanging off the crag) and I found myself smugly looking at the sole pair of trad climbers who had dared to venture out and who clearly weren't having any fun at all. After managing to somehow persuade my atrophied arms that they could propel me along a grossly overhanging, but very juggy traverse, I had a crack at Crease Direct, a classic V3 6a (I still don't really get these font grades). After quite a lot of falling off, and some crucial sneaky palming beta I reached the finishing hold (and then stylelessly gibbered my way along the easy traverse off). It was a great problem, and I really enjoyed the challenge of puzzling out how to get up it. I felt a bit dirty for having enjoyed a boulder problem so much, but mostly just pleased and psyched for more challenges.

This weekend after a huge amount of venue related indecision, I headed to Gardoms with Jaime and Dan. The boulders were a bit green and the rock a little scrittly, but we found a couple of nice easy problems to warm up on, before I went to investigate another V3 6a which looked suspiciously easy. I managed it second go, and it was really rather too easy, so tried a sit start. This also went on the second attempt, athough felt like it might actually have been 6a.

Sophie on G-Thang

Next we wandered up to the main area, where team Sophie arrived to join in the fun. As we approached some people were working on G-Thang, yet another V3 6a, and I commented that there didn't appear to be any real holds on the problem. A few minutes later I was clinging to the non-holds for grim death, and only a shortage of gumption at the top stopped me from flashing it. I was still really pleased to nail it on the second attempt, although I then totally failed to get myself up anything else worthwhile for the rest of the day. I did, however, have lots of fun watching others falling off the terrifying overhanging arete of Suavito from ever increasing heights. Eventually young Dan, Graham, Dan A and Tony all earned the very impressive tick.

Plummeting off Suavito

I now find myself in the somewhat conflicted position of being really psyched for more bouldering. Perhaps it's just a temporary madness caused by a lack of proper climbing, but while it's this cold it seems a lot more fun than getting hot aches half way up a VDiff. I might even have to adapt my spreadsheet to understand bouldering grades!

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