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.

28 July 2012

Deh-Shay, Deh-Shay, Bah Sah Rah. Bah Sah Rah.

Much to the suprise of my peers, friends, girlfriend, old school teachers (I imagine), lecturers and probably even dog - who've all seen first hand the bare minimum of effort I applied, I attained a 2:1 for my degree in Geological Oceanography. Interestingly, it was only my parents, who know better than anyone about my lazy, careless and hedonistic approach to life, who weren't suprised. 

Anyway, this gave me a real confidence in my confidence as I had always thought the best thing to do would be to scrape a 2:1, and having been bumped up from 59.3%, it's fair to say this was dutifully achieved. It adheres to my tenuously agglutinated, tongue-in-cheek philosophy, that the reality which pans out before you is largely and inexplicably a result of what you believe beforehand; we are the masters of our own destiny. Thus, if you want to challenge yourself, you'd better think you can do it before you try it. 

With this in mind I had a day down in Portland with Laura. After finding a crag which wasn't victim to the mud slides from all the rains we've had, I set about warming up on a few 6c's on Battleship Main. With a healthy blood flow, fluid motion, and drying rock I set about Dreams Burn Down (7a+). Mid-crux and chicken-winging like a mother, I fought hard to maintain the tenacity of mind neccessary for upwards progress. After a series of slaps of desperation I grovelled over onto a resting ledge, suprised. The same story unravelled on the adjacent Nihil (7b). Fortunately for my arms, the rains came so we scarpered.

The next day I met up with Dan Gibson for some steep shit at the most under-rated area in the UK - Swanage. We rapped down into the insanely overhanging Lean Machine Wall to be met by a centurion of riders on white horses. Taking sanctuary on a dry plinth we traversed into the meaty jug-fest, Sirius (E3 5b). Back down and Dan directed his attention towards Surge Control (E5 6b), a superb stamina test with testing moves between shake-outs. At around half height the lactic demons got the better of him, and unable to imagine recovering for a while, he returned to the deck and handed over the sharp-end. Knowing how handy Dan is, it was hard to fight intimidation; the catalyst of doubt. I breathed deep, inhaling self belief and surged up the wall, not necessarily in control. With half the gear in already, I reached Dan's high-point relatively fresh and was able to press-on to the top keeping the demons at bay.
Characteristically insatiable, I persuaded Dan to belay me on World in Action (E5/6 6b). Dan abbed down first, keeping quiet about the fact the wall was totally gopping, with sea-piss dripping out the cracks and undercuts. Given that the abb down is onto an isolated ledge with no other routes off it, I was left with no option. Chalk proved useful only for creating a slimy paste. I felt as though I'd been abandoned by a trusted friend.

After the lesson I'd learnt on Mammoth Direct, even after a hang I pushed on with full-bodied effort. I made it to the point where the route became vertical, where the abb rope met the wall, tempting me to grab it and haul out of this soggy cliff. I resisted, cranked on a chicken head and became airborne. Grappling at the rope by my eyes, I couldn't understand why I was still falling, until I realised that wasn't the rope I was attached to. I recalibrated just in time to get my legs out in front of me and save my face. Wanting more than ever to climb up the rope, I clawed out up the route to top-out jubiliant. I may not have got the route clean, but I managed to try hard with no incentive of a clean ascent and in terrible conditions - retrospectively, a greater feat.

Scooby graduating on my behalf whilst I was in Pembroke. Laura Perry Collection.

After a rest day George and I drove down to Pembroke intent on 'tearing it up'. The morning was drier than expected, but dampness lingered all around. After seconding Fitzcarraldo (E5 6a), I tried Magazine People (E5 6b), both in The Leap. It looked nails but Caff had said it was 'nice'. The route essentially saw me trade all my finger strength, stamina, finger-tip skin and 'toe comfort' for a bucket-load of sweaty-faced, dry-mouthed fear. 'Nice'. After seconding George on the stunning Big in America (E6 6b) on Bosherston Head, I was all but spent and managed to squeeze out Passion (E4 6a), at St Govans in one pitch and Slap up/Fitz in (E4 6b) back in The Leap. The latter of which had a superb first half, and if combined with the top half of Fitzcarraldo would provide an absolutely outstanding link-up.

After these four days in the South of England and Wales I began to believe in sunshine again. Just in time for 10 frustrating days trapped inside.

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