Wednesday, 20 February 2013


A few things have happened since the weekend. I turned 31 (hurrah for prime number ages), I bought a road bike (part of my grand plan to be less fat and puntery) and some new rock shoes, mostly for climbing things where I might want some stiffer soles than my usual flappy Boosters. I also awarded myself the day off yesterday (for being totally awesome) and headed up to Caley with Jaime.

I'd paid a flying visit once before on my own, but I didn't do anything of note, so there was plenty to go at. Although a fair few boulders were looking rather verdantly green and lichenous, there was plenty of dry rock, even if there was quite a chill in the air. Having cunningly chosen a crag on a north-facing slope we were also out of the sun. So we had to try hard in order to keep warm instead of lounging around. To my great surprise this actually worked. Although trying hard currently involves anything above about 5a, I managed to punter up 23 problems, including quite a few V2 flashes. The highlights of the day were probably The Thin Slab, which was a bit of a soul-searching voyage into a smeary world of excitement, and a delightful mantel problem called Bob's Bastard. I was mostly drawn to it because it was a mantelshelf and it sounded like it might be horrendous, so how could I resist?

Jaime finessing her footwork

The initial lip was some distance above my head, so a substantial hoik was required to peer onto the slab above to see what lay in store. There was a mysterious pocket, and not much else, so I gave it some beans and threw for the pocket. I missed it and fell off. Twice. Then I hit it and fell off. Twice. Then I almost made it round the lip, but my hip got snagged and I fell off. On the next attempt I got cramp in my calf, but after a brief rest I gave it the beans and sent it like it had never been sent before. Or something. Anyway, it was fun. First 6a of the year as well. Whoop. May it be the first of many.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Gluttony And Sloth

If it seems like I haven't updated this blog for a long time there are a few good reasons for that. Primarily because, other than a cold and rather scrittly trip to Curbar in late November, I haven't climbed anything. Boo. A combination of University coursework and exams, dodgy weather and being on holiday all the time (oh the hardship) have conspired to keep me away from either any real rock, or even any fake plastic rock. Fortunately I have put the time to good use and have got exceptionally fat and weak. Yay me.

Last weekend I went to The Works. It was a very unedifying experience and I hurt for days afterwards. On Friday I went to Stanage, which was similarly productive and the highlights included failing miserably to climb several V1s I've previously flashed and ripping a hole in my hand. Still, it was nice to be outside.

On Saturday I managed to sneak out for a few hours with Jaime. We went to Apparent North to get some easy mileage in, which suited me just fine. Conditions were great and we knocked off loads of easy problems before heading home (and in my case drinking several times my own bodyweight in whisky).

So, contrary to my good intentions I'm fatter, weaker and punterier than ever before. I feel as though I know how to climb, my body just isn't compliant with my demands. Time to take evasive action. Well, maybe slightly less cake and a few more sessions at the wall. Most importantly - plan some climbing trips to give me something to get inspired for. Places I'm especially keen to go - Font, Red Rocks/Zion, the culm, Pembroke, Gogarth, Cloggy (maybe this year...), the Chew, the Lakes...