We warmed up on The Kicker Conspiracy (E5 6a); a meaty route with varied and unrelenting difficulties. I'd struggled like hell to second George on it a year or two prior so it felt good to lead with a decent degree of control.
Jon then led Killerkranky (E5 6b), a route best attacked with a proverbial 'run-up', it seems you can hang around just long enough to place some good kit, then it's time to move again. Then the midges descended and sucked the psyche out of us. I had chance to have a quick look at Surgical Lust, and it didn't look too bad, which is never a good sign! Just before we drove off I pulled onto Roadside Full Extension (V9) and first go (I had done half of it as a V8 before) managed to do about 90% of the problem. I came back a few days later and sent the full thing as my second V9 (although they are both more 8a+ given the length).
Anyhow, the day after managing Roadside Full I went down to Main Cliff to try Mammoth Direct (E6 6b). We passed some guys on the way down who said it was suprisingly cold down there, so I counter-intuitively wore my trousers down. Needless to say before I even set off I could barely lift my legs up as a result of sweaty kegs. First go, I made it out left through the first 6b section to find myself on undercuts with screaming biceps and more unobvious 6b ahead. I made an attempt upwards, but, lacked commitment and was duly taught a lesson. I ran all the way back to the bags and changed to shorts ready for action.
Back beneath the mammoth, exhausted, I tried again. This time I got through the second 6b section, sweating like a human percolator, to be met by a third 6b section. This last one being the most awkward, the only thing spurring on my glistening, wasted meat bag was a rusty old peg. Not for the peg itself however, in the description it said 'join the original at a peg by a pocket with good holds in it, and continue up into the originals' crux'. I gritted my teeth, stretching up, ready to recieve some good holds only to be met by a fistful of sand. I quickly slapped a quickdraw into the peg and took a hang. After a brief rest, I carried on with relative ease to the belay where I suddenly realised that, until I sat on the peg, I was on for a clean lead. In the moment I'd forgotten this and felt like I was taking 'just another hang'. At first I kicked myself for forgetting it was ground-up, but retrospectively, I should kick myself for giving up, simply because I wasn't on for the clean ascent. It's something I do a lot, once I've sat in, fallen off etc I find it hard to try properly. Weakness highlighted.
I set off from the belay with a paradoxical emotional mixture of excitement and tentativeness. Only a few metres up, on the least steep section 'the pump' was murmuring in the back of my mind. Moving further up, footholds began exfoliating, showering down on George, whilst the damp sand in hand threatened to depart perpetually. The mind-chaos began. The sounds of the sea and the birds whirred into an intimidating white noise, drowned out only by the conflict in my head; instinct screamed 'Down!' and desire whispered 'upwards' like a fork-tongued hyponotist, whilst rationality froze, insisting the only sane thing to do was to stay still and wait for help. Controlling the physical situation became an aside to the psychological, yet it was only at 'rests' where it was possible to regroup and restore sanity. After about an hour on the wall, the internal chatter began to acquiesce, this far up, the safest way was up. In a state of mental harmony I climbed into the final section, lured into a goey sequence, and yet, happy to accept the consequence either way. Fortunately this time, my body did its job and all that remained was to pass 'the suspect block'. With no visible connection to the face, it was a real 'off-the-wall' bit of climbing to finish. Triumphant and basking content, I watched George battle with his mental demons on a stage of gold, the rock, the waves, the sky all illuminated by the setting sun.
The rest of June was wet.
Here's a little video short from the International meet a few years ago with Nico Favresse on 'Me' and off Nightmayer (E8 6c).