About me:

Originally from Hull, I now live in Llanberis, North Wales. Totally addicted to climbing, I work at the Indy Climbing wall and as a freelance routesetter to fund my dirty habit.

22 May 2011

Movement Mileage

The intended rest period after 'Release the Hounds' never materialised, and the next day I found myself heading to Angel Bay with Laura, Chris Carroll, and the notorious Gogarth abseiler and born-again boulderer; Tom Ripley. People and pads were jammed into the car like clowns into a mini, on top of this a late start and a hot sun meant we were eager to get there. Like four excited terriers, we dived out of the car and down to the beach.

Angel Bay is a small, enclosed, pebbley beach with a tidal boulder edifice reaching about 50ft at its zenith. Unfortunately the complex nature of the boulders means that a lot of the rock is unclimbable as it either rarely dries, is covered in sharp little limpets, or other boulders block potential lines. However what can be climbed is brilliant and the rock is often smooth and rounded from costal erosion.

Laura sending The Letterbox V4.

Conditions were perfect so we got to work. Max Stanley and Owain Atkins came and joined us. It was a proper social boulder session, everyone taking it in turns and moving from problem to problem. 5c wall was ticked by everyone to start (two V2's and a V3). Next up The Letterbox (V4) a burly little problem and hard for the grade. Despite its name sends weren't coming easy, and only succumbed to powerful prowess. Laura had tried it last year and failed to do the independent moves so it was good to see the progression in the form of a quick send.

From here a quick successsion of problems were rattled through including Ren Arete (V5) an unlikely looking, slopey prow, Tony's Through Trip (V5) a lip traverse into a jumble of boulders emerging through a man-sized hole to finish. We then crossed the beach to an undercut wall with an excellent row of problems. Maintaining the same pace we rattled through the classic V4's, Travel Light, The Bulge, Bridey Arete and the Mantlepiece. 
Me on Bridey Arete (V4).             Owain on The Mantlepiece (V4).

Then fish and chips and home. Friday now, and the rain forces a rest day, phew. By 6 o'clock the Sun's come out and we can't resist. Laura, Duncan and I head to Caseg Fraith in the Ogwen Valley for a quick hit. The ground is saturated from all the rain and it doesn't take long for the mats to soak up so much water that they weigh about 20kg each. Again we go round curcuiteering, ticking the problems as a team. There are 3 V3's in a row, all fiercely crimpy and hard for the grade. The first one goes 'first go' for everyone, the second takes a bit more effort with a tricky rockover move.The third, the classic Caseg Fraith Arete, another old nemesis of Lauras take a more concerted effort but she managed to dispatch it in good style in the end.
Lauras current run of good form seems related to the recent trip to El Chorro. Although the moves were easier than the boulder problems a certain level of consolidation was made, enough to push through to a new grade boundary. 
It is obvious how bouldering helps to get through the hard moves on routes, yet I reckon there are some currently ill-defined benefits of route climbing for bouldering. Maybe it's something to do with flow and tenacity?

Finally, and I shall try to keep this short now, I went to Yellow Wall on the Orme yesterday with George Ullrich, Sam Farnsworth, Matt Burdekin and a girl Called Jess who had never climbed before. Arriving at the crag around 12am we quickly got about our business. We fell into the same kind of curcuit-mode as is usually applied in bouldering and knocked out 8 routes in 4 hours. I really enjoyed the quick pace and multi-disciplined (trad and sport) day. We did Pale Shelter (E1), Melkor (E3), Pen Trwyn Patrol (E4), String of pearls (6b+), Pirates of Pen Trwyn (6c+), Crunchy Toad IX (7a+), Dive, Dive, Dive (7b) and Wet Dreams (7a+). Jess impressively managed to get up Pale Shelter and halfway up String of Pearls on top rope, not bad for a first effort. George flashed Crunchy Toad IX and Dive, Dive, Dive which doesn't seem that impressive on paper but these are intense and uber-fingery routes that are tricky to read. I got Crunchy Toad IX second go, and fluffed Dive, Dive, Dive on the flash. I did manage to get one over on George though at the end of the day on Wet Dreams. Sam and Matt and had been trying it, but the desparate fingery sequence had stopped them in their tracks. George went up and tickled his way through the crux but dropped it above without the knowledge of a blind pocket. With the beta I managed it, but willpower played a strong part in the clean ascent. 
I learnt a lot on this day about how tiny hand and footholds can be and still be used to keep you into the wall. I definately need to work on my contact strength and expand my idea of what constitutes 'a foothold'.

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