Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekend climbing post

Sometimes I think I'm getting a bit bored with climbing. This normally lasts about 3 days, 4 at the most if I'm really down. I guess I'm pretty unimaginative and by the time the end of the week rocks around I just can't think of anything else I could feasibly be doing at the weekend that would be as much fun. And then after days like today I'm back in love.

Dave starts up "Noora", a soft-touch 6- (E1, but more like HVS) and future classic

Early morning drives along empty roads. Sun coming up on dewy fields. BBC news on the radio. Country petrol stations, coffee and donuts, laughing with mates. Chatting about respective families and the McCain-Palin ticket, biochemistry and Joy Division, furry ropes and belay jackets. Nothing and everything.

High up on "Noora" but still plenty to go

Autumn. Yellow leaves swirl down, the woods are golden. They sky a perfect blue after a week of monotonous gray. The rock is cool to the touch. Woodpeckers peck, and crows craw in the background.

Timo on "Pilli", F6b

Nuts slot deep into crack first time. Big moves, making you get your feet above the gear time after time. Be a man, go for it, make some shapes. And then another good foothold, another breath in balance, another nut slots perfectly in and all is safe again. Repeat until you reach nirvana, or at least the top.

Me belaying, Nora seconding on "Maria" 5 (HVS 5a), Noora's little sister

You win some, you loose others. Reach out as far as I can and feel for the crack. Can't see it but it takes my finger tips. Figure on that being about nut #3, place it blindly, and amazingly it stays in as I tug. Was thinking about going back to the slab for a rest but feel committed now. Clip the mystery nut - a hopefully non-lethal Russian roulette spin. Feet on little footholds - and I've cleared the roof. Eyeball the nut it looks, hmmm, OK-ish... Stretch and stretch, stab fingers into the crack but it's shit and flaring. Help! Take! Slump. Fail.

But the nut doesn't and that's the main thing. And the sun is still shining and the trees are still gold.

Simon climbs, Dave belays on "Reach Out" 6- (E1 5b). I had fallen off at exactly that spot

At least I tried and tried hard. That's enough. The next route is hard for me, but my head is in the game now and I send it - managing to keep my shit together above a zero cam on slightly grubby 5b moves. Good stuff. I lower off and sit smelling the leaf mulch and moss whilst enjoying a cup of tea from the flask.

Dave on "Summer Days" 6- (E1 5b)

The sun's getting lower, time for the last route. Dave starts in the gathering gloom of the forest but is soon high where the granite is turning red in evening rays. Finish the route, pack up and hike back past the woodpecker still pecking to the cars.

High on "Summer Days"

Back on the road, the sun has set. The autumn mists float thin over just the fields as entrancing as ever. Dusk turns to dark, and we head home.


Anonymous said...

"Nuts slot deep into crack first time."

They say there's no return from that....enjoy.

Stuart Ressler, M.D. said...

Nice pics Toby.

Anonymous said...

Hi Toby. The unnamed 6b is called 'Pilli'. The next right to the same anchor is 'Pulla'