Saturday, 31 December 2011

Mandatory Navel-Gazing Retrospective Nonsense

So, it's the end of another year. It's been a bit of a mixed bag from a climbing point of view. Mostly good, but with plenty of scope for improvement next year.

Looking Back:
501 Routes, more than any other year, but almost half of those were solos.
77 Different crags, probably more than any other year.
Average grade of VS with a rope on, higher than any other year.
Didn't get out of England and Wales - boo.
9 Proper E-points. It would have been nice to get to 10, but the weather has been cack for the last few months. Maybe I'll just award myself the second E-point for Lucky Strike.
An almost identical number of HVS and E1 leads to last year, but they've generally felt a bit easier.
I also bouldered substantially more, and harder than ever before, which was nice. I even enjoyed some of it...

Highlights of the year:
Lucky Strike - A route I've been wanting to do for ages. It definitely isn't E2 though.
Altar Crack - At last! Now I never have to go near it again.
Manson's Wall - I'd never have thought I could get up a V5, but I did. Yay me.
Lunakhod - Ace.
Rock Dancer - Felt hard and a bit scary, but I kept it together and managed not to cry.
Great Crack - Well worth the wait for it to dry!

Looking Forwards:
Travel a bit more - hopefully to Lundy, Skye, Lofoten, Font, Fairhead and maybe a few other places.
Get some winter climbing done.
Lead some E2s.
Actually get a bit fitter instead of just thinking about it.
Climb more in the Lake District.
Climb on Cloggy.
Actually solo 100 routes in a day.
Climb more on slate and culm.
Actually get round to doing Tower Face at Stanage and Scavenger at Gogarth.

That'll do for now. I'm off to start my training regime with a pie and plenty of beer. Mmmm.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Another Friday, another dry day (whoop), but this time with added arctic winds. Hmmm. Jaime and I met at Curbar gap and had a bit of a potter in the small quarries at the Right end of Curbar before our hands and feet froze into uselessness and we headed further along in the hope that the trees might offer some shelter. They did, but only on a short wall covered in hard looking problems. After a particularly chastening experience with a heathery top out and failing to solo a VDiff (oh dear) we retreated to The Trench, home of slopers. Lots of lovely slopers.

The slopers. The horror. THE HORROR.

The easy problems were easy (remarkably), but the V2 took some working out. Eventually i managed it, but Jaime was unable to rock up onto the crucial foothold in spite of my best attempts at heckling. I had a bit of a play on the other, harder problems, but couldn't fathom how to use the baffling array of cack holds, so we decided to wander along to Froggatt.

On the way past I soloed Solomon's Crack, for my 500th route of the year, and then Grey Slab (with it's trivially easy, but quite amusing offwidth) for my 2800th route ever. Whoop. Statistically satisfied we had a look at Tody's Playground, a steep face hidden in the trees and plastered in jugs. The problems were all quite disconcertingly high (although all the top outs were on monster holds) so we only did an easy problem or two before heading back to Joe's Slab. I'd always looked at this, but had never had a mat with me before, so it was good to finally get on it. The starting holds are buffed to a high sheen, but I imagined they weren't and quickly got established on the slab. The crucial hold was tantalisingly out of reach, so after much pondering I tried some daft foot swapping and stepping through, which seemed to work. At V1 5c the onsight isn't that impressive, but it is a classic, so I was pleased with myself.

Tody's Pocket at Froggatt

We were back to being very chilly by this point so we headed back towards the car, stopping back off at The Trench en route so Jaime could settle her score with the V2. There were a few other folk there, so I roped them into heckling duties, but sadly it wasn't to be. They did give me some beta on one of the harder problems (comically overgraded at V5 6b in the BMC guide), so I gave it a proper go and somehow found myself holding the top wondering what to do now. I had a bit of a word with myself about the ground being not very far away and got my smear on. A desperate scrabbling mantel later and I was up. Whoop again. So, a pretty good day, even if it was freezing.