Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Since coming back from the peak district I've been feeling a bit under the weather which you could say is good timing as the heavens opened the other night and it hasn't stopped since. This has kind of throw my climbing off a bit, with the cave now completely inaccessible and the gorge constantly wet I have found myself wasting away at the hands of Uni work and my laptop.

The other things is the fear of hurting my thumb any more. Over the last couple of weeks I've felt a slight tweek in my right thumb and haven't been hurling myself at those hideous pinches and in fact anything long. This has influenced an extended rest this week which I think is for the best.

For me resting is a huge battle as I cant sit still for more than 5 minutes (unless I have my laptop) so I decided that I need something else to do to fill the time. Now seeing as I have been focusing on raw power and burlyness I was pretty keen to get back into stamina mode. But without gully wall what was I to do!! So It was about time to take a completely different tac altogether and out came the road bike.

Through the summer I had started cycling quite a lot and had felt it make a bit of a difference towards my climbing. As a few of you know I cycle to Uni most mornings which is a 10 mile round trip but I was hungry to sink my teeth into a absolute mission ride. Friday was the day to start and test myself so out I went out and without any real idea of where I was going and kept going. I was out for over 4 hours and played the game whenever I saw a sign for Bristol I went the opposite way. This was all very well and good until I found myself nakered and belting it along the A38 to get back before it got too dark!! All in all it was a great ride with some beautiful scenery and the added spice of a couple of cows crossing! But my god tiring!

With this added theme I headed on back to the shire to stay with my grandparents for a couple of days. The only problem here in East Devon is that the only rock availible is chossy sandstone cliffs, great if your a budding drytooler with not enough dollar to climb something somewhere cold, so it looks like I'm going to be running until I'm back in the safe arms of Gully wall and Pixies hole!

Whats nice is that after a tiring 6 and a half mile run I can relax without any hassle being brought mince pies and a sneaky G and T before dinner so I think I'll make the most of the next couple of days!

Cheers All

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Wet Peak Trip

Well I got back safe and sound from the North (just about) with sore fingers and a nice set of wet and muddy clothes to wash.

As many of you know I was extremely excited about missioning it into the peak district and slaying some "ard" problems which I have read and drooled about all these years. However the weather had a different interest should we say. As I got out of the bus with what seemed like 15 zombies from the uni climbing club we weren't greeted with the friendliest of welcomes to say the least. It was gloomy and dark with a horrible bit of that climbing repellent otherwise known as rain. This was a massive disappointment but I wasn't going to give in that easily! So we embarked on the march up to Stanage Plantation. Home of some narley ass problems and super cool arĂȘtes. As I wondered around the crag by myself I stood in awe under a perfectly formed arĂȘte. I knew instantly what is was without without looking in the guide book. Ulysses' bow. Last year I got Jerry Moffatt's biography for my birthday and apart from the being the first book I had read and really enjoyed it had inspired me so much it had changed the way I thought about climbing and my motivation! If you've read it, I'm not talking about being the best in the world (although it does cross my mind sometimes) but the times had when you're out with friends enjoying the scenery and the route, topped with obvious climbing banter. 

As I stood for a good couple of minutes recalling epics at Cornwall and the moors and indeed some not to be mentioned moments at Chudleigh it suddenly hit me. I am not going to be doing this today. It was wet and cold so I turned around and went in search of some other high prized routes and problems still with a big smile on my face. 

I searched high and low for various things and made a pretty impressive morning of route finding. Sounds strange really that climbing the routes wasn't the only part of it. For me, seeing as it was piss wet, just finding them and looking at it was enough. And some people wonder why I want to go into geology. Before my search ended I went and looked at Brad Pit, a famous V10/font 7c. An iconic problem with hundreds of different videos on the net. The one in which stuck out is the one with Ben Moon doing it. His exact words are "Brad Pit, well is hard but its not that hard". Well I can tell you now it is. Even though I didn't try it, it felt hard by just looking at it! 

Eventually I got back with the group and headed of with Hutch in a search of any dry line possible. We eventually found a dry ish Hvs up "some" crack line...I cant for the life of me remember what it was called but basically it's a big crack line which meanders left to the top of the crag at about 16 meters. Hutch said he would go first romped his way but the first 10 foot and placed some gear. This is where I knew it was going to get interesting when he turned around and looked slightly confused at me. When people do this it generally means the gear isn't that good, but with a hitch he carried on across the break to another placement at about 20 foot. His head turned and I was greeted by the same face as I had seen from the first piece. Surely he wouldn't carry on if the gear was "that" bad I thought to myself as he stood up and began to lay back the last part. Either that or he doesn't think he's going to fall! Oh god spoke to soon. As I jumped backwards re enacting the belay used to stop someone hitting the floor from the top more on the Indian Face all I heard was 

"Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit"! 

Then silence for a second


"Well the gear held" 

I looked at Hutch hanging there laughed and lowered him off and had a good old laugh about what had happened. I went up the route afterwards and examined him gear and could really see what the problem was when he placed it! (Thinking back to clipping old rusty seapegs)

After that we decided to call it a day as the weather got worse and I swear at one point looking into the wind was like looking into a burst from a machine gun! So indoors called and the edge got a pretty good seeing to! 

Just before we left Stanage I had a quick probe of Deliverance which was mainly dry ish and cant wait to get back to try it in better conditions along with all the other beauties in which the peak has to offer.

Cheers All