There was something strange about Trollers Gill with it being a dried up riverbed. It didn’t feel like a place where you could stay long as the river felt just around the next bend, hushed up and waiting. Although it’s an oxymoron the stones really did look freshly water worn. This and the fact it was my first day back sport climbing after fingergeddom made me tense, I was going to get wet or broken. This narrow ravine nestled away in the Yorkshire dales has a compact and undercut sidewall with lots of good 7s and if I spied the line right a stellar hard route of Nik Jennings’ recent creation, the classic 7a Jim Grin was polished and had smooth climbing, it must have been an amazing trad route . The climbing was good and everyone had a great time, you should go. That evening we went to Gordale , being my first time I couldn’t contain an excited "fuuuuckkkinn’ hell" as rounding the corner it came into view, this has to be one of the best crag-reveals ever as until the very last moment you don’t know what’s coming*. Oli set off up Cave Route right hand in gusting wind, so much so that him calling down for slack was met with the wind taking him in tight. I wish I could blame all my short roping on nature. Save one fist-fight in the upper crack he blitzed it and it was a shame he’d completely fucked it up the week before. Tim and I did Last dog, an hor dourve 7b on the bottom of a big wall with a big route on it called Pierrepoint. Tim led it the strong way and I the way where I desperately try to put my toe upside down in a peg scar to get any purchase. To the left of the cave routes there is a massive route called Supercool. That’s the one, that’s the dream route right there, 40m or so of technical 8a+ climbing in a setting that makes climbing look like warfare, on horseback.
*a technique normally attributed to sea cliffs, when you’ve abbed in and can’t swallow the frog in your throat as even the HVS looks steeper than hunter house road **
**where Jerry lived
With sport and bouldering off the agenda for a time I embarked upon a sort-of-easy trad campaign in the last month, starting off with a day in the shade of Millstone. I hadn’t done Great North Road before which seemed a glaring omission for a climb so close to home.A big grit pitch and a proper route. Emlyn and I then headed down into the sweltering hole of Lawrencefield, suffice to say Emlyn spent 30 minutes on the suspense crimp rail seeing how long it takes for different things to melt, things like rubber and belayers. I couldn’t say for definite but I’m sure the pool was bubbling.
If this was the lesson, consider it taught. I don’t need any replays or more realistic injuries, this will do fine. 10ft and a commando roll is enough to make me daydream of ropes slipping through belay devices and bodies tumbling through space. No matter how high you’ve been riding it does always come as a surprise when a bad day knocks you on your arse. Exciting plans feel like scary prospects and improving injuries become stagnant ailments. Of course everything is the same, I’ve just cracked my head, but there is nothing like a cathartic blog spew to clear the rumbling grey matter; with that I WANT YOU TO IMAGINE STORM CLOUDS
As far as I can tell the human desire to wonder, speculate and discuss is crushed by daily work. I am now a basic trio of action, sleep, work and play. In an attempt to reignite a part of the brain long gone I send waves of nostalgic thoughts down through the synapses, however these sparks are dampened and become squibs with the main-brain counterpointing this expedition with brutally real questioning, “how will you ever pay rent?”
You can see yourself on the bus looking out of the window and actually sense you are thinking of nothing, unfortunately not in any meditative way but rather like the beady-orange-eyed pigeon perched on the bus stop. You cannot force character into pidgeons like you can with other creatures, they seem to deflect all personification in their desperation. Except woodcots, woodcots are little priests.