Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A mental headpoint

Cards on the table I’ve been a bit of prick recently. At work and at home I haven’t been paying much attention to anything or anyone other than the weather and squirrelling around collecting beta for Friday’s plan. On Monday and Tuesday the weather was very good with crisp conditions and blazing blue skies, or at least it looked that way seated at my desk through tinted glass office windows. The restlessness returns, resentment with employers, resentment of students and all the flexi-twats. You go to the wall and talk to people who’ve been out, later when you’re home you flick the channels and forums endlessly never able to settle on something, what you want cannot be distracted by a movie or dulled with drink. I realise its at those moments when it must be a real pain being a non-climber’s partner.

I hurriedly book the Friday afternoon off work, set it in stone and click send. I send a text to Oli who’s on half term asking for a belay, the reply says yes but a few days later he decides his teeth need checking. No matter, I’ll try another student, Barr says yes. Game back on. I go to the works and try moves that I think match the route before returning to foot on campusing which feels strangely nourishing when you’ve got an actual target for once (trip to Spain). I am fidgety at work and on the sly repeatedly watch a video on the internet, again and again, as if I can feel each hold. “He’s a lot stronger than me” “he looks smaller than me” “the footholds look good”

A brief respite on Wednesday evening down the Secret Garden, a lantern session with Chris but I feel awkward and inflexible, watch him shuffle up Left-Hand Man and catch a ricochet buzz when he pulls over the top.

On Thursday evening Chris bails on me, luckily Emlyn the Grit Lad says he’ll be there and I ask him to belay, phew. In the shower I’m looking up at the tiles and stretching out my arms trying to measure the distance I’ll have to jump at the top. I feel the need to do this as my confidence in jumping was shot down when I failed on Wings of Unreason 2 years ago. I jump and make my target but don’t try again, the image of the bath crashing through 2 floors below stopping me. Incidentally this did happen with my first student house, the leaking cubicle led to a rotten floor which led to a shower in the living room below (though no-one was present when the shower became a lift)

Friday. Flow through the morning’s work like an automaton and link the two buses home perfectly, briefly congratulating myself on a PB time home I read a message from Will who’s seen my requests for Burbage South devotees and says he’ll drive out. Brilliant. It’s softly snowing as we arrive and walk in, I don’t even worry when the flurry thickens as it all just tumbles off the dry rock. Will and Sean do The Knock, the final moves protected from the snow by a jumper, this is pulled away when you reach the top which gave the scene a strange vibe as if they were performing a magic trick. I fail where I usually fail but push a bit harder the next go and reach the crimp on the arĂȘte, I jump off as the left crimp begins to eat my skin, I really need my skin today.

Finally, I’m underneath Nosferatu and I’m leaning in off the now pad-strewn boulder. The crux sequence goes by without chalking or breathing and my only memory is watching my lace perfectly nestle itself between the rock and my shoe as I roll my foot into the last move. Don’t stop, don’t falter. Before I know it I’m geared up and eyeing the top, its ok I tell myself, its only 3 tiles away. After deliberating for an eternity I set and throw upwards catching the monster rail, the awesome wave comes now and I shout out, unashamed as my voice breaks. Excitedly topping out I forget about style and simply launch myself belly first, I apologise to an elderly dog walker for shouting and skip back down fizzing with happiness. It felt like a big one.







Will on the final unsettling moves of The Knock

Emlyn on Desparete, wonderful rock


latching the jug at the end of the hard sequence
eyeing up the last move before a spicy top out

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Oh Africa, Brave Africa



Fade in to colour. I had been stood in the shower for some time now, back to the wall, staring down at a near empty tumbler of wine. The embossed P on the underside of the glass, signifying an exclusive brand, had entertained me but what was the point? It’s possibly 1 of 50,000. I pictured myself, withered, bringing it along to an Antiques Road Show and the expert smashing it to pieces in front of me as a lesson, he was laughing like Jeremy Beadle. People who laugh and look around at the same time have always unnerved me. I had different aches dispersed over my mass and at this late hour I decided to conduct a damage report. Feet – slightly misshapen, corn healing well, permanent bruising under nail on big toe. Fingers - general tension and punterish callouses symbolic of a wet winter. Knees - shot. Elbows - fine. Shoulders - screaming for antagonism. Head - content with plan making. 




Woke up Saturday and everything was wet. Made plans for indoors but Jonny persisted with blind hope so we went out anyway. Everything was wet. Tried Stump hole cavern but psyche was lower than Findus stocks so moved on to Chatsworth. Sentinel crack fills me dread. I'll face you one day, hopefully as part of a crack climbing campaign where legends will fall or eat my hands, totally medieval what what. I remember reading of the problem Desperot's reliability in rubbish weather and we were not let down. The starting moves felt weird and took a while to become straight forward, the side pull was vague and unlike the rest of them I just couldn't weight the left foot properly for upwards thrust. Ach nein. Great to see it cracked though, always been psyched for this since reading the segment in the BMC guide.






Felt strong at the works, well, relatively strong. Went round in circles on the circuit board and gained a bit each night. 

Quite excited as I've spent a part of my/bank's fortune on flights to Zurich and Carcassonne.


The big piece we want to chew