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Saturday, 23 May 2009

Motivation Lull and Confirmation

The last few weeks have seen one of my little dips in psyche that occur from time to time. I think i addressed this is in a sunday sermon. I never worry about these dips, they are part of the game and they usually occur after a period of no work and lots of climbing. Sometimes work can be a blessing and i was psyched to go back last week as i needed the spondoolees too! Last weekend me and Mule were at Malham and in the car back we had an interesting discussion. We both realised that we are punts in our approach to climbing. We expect great things to happen without putting in the required effort and dedication. For example i have been trying Liquid Ambar a bit hoping to improve every time. In the meantime though i have been doing little training. For a mortal to climb at this level requires a lot of effort and a lot of training. Me and Mule do not train properly we simply homme around jumping from one thing to another. I know getting out on the rocks is what its all about but if you have high aspirations you have to dedicate yourslef to training like Simpson and Jerry did. This will be hard for me as i work away but i am determined to train more and become more structured. As i'm not that keen to climb outside right now this should be a good time to do it.
Inspector Awesome Mawsons tried my route Masterplan yesterday, he managed all the moves apart from the crux so it looks like 8a+ is the correct grade. I have some pics but Raymondo Wood has requested that i don't put them online yet so you will have to wait to see them. Here's one of Mawsons off my phone:

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


Ever since i was a young rock jock i have always wanted to do a cool new route, something impressive and hard for me. In this day and age however do-able good new routes are hard to come by. My generation missed the boat in this respect. I remember scouring the Orme guide looking for blank sections. One day i went down Crinkle Crag and squeezed what i hoped was a newbie in, i gave it E3. I've done a few new routes in recent times, mainly at my old mans crag Penmaenhead. It was cool to do them but what i really longed for was a stellar line in the 8's something memorable. About 5 years ago Tony Schelmerdine tipped me off about an unclimbed line left of Moffatts classic Masterclass on Mayfair wall. It had originally been equipped by Tony and Mel Griffiths but it was a bit hard for them. Patch checked it out as did Adam Wrainwright. Perry Hawkins however gave it the most effort. I was intrigued. It certainly ticked all the right boxes, impressive and hard! I dogged up Masterclass in order to check it out and get a rope on it. It was pretty cool and there were certainly grips. After a crash course in resin bolting i abbed down one evening and placed 8 resin bolts. Soon after i came to try it. I encountered a problem straight away, i couldn't do most of the moves. Hmm i hadn't bargained on this. I tried it a few more times but was soon resigned to the fact that it was too hard. As my climbing style evolved and i became even less good on fingery climbing i started to forget about the project. It was hard and to be honest a bit of an epic, the hard moves being so high up the crag! I almost gave the route away, Caff and Mawsons expressed an interest and i was no longer that bothered, i had since found other projects to fulfil my FA dream. This year i was feeling pretty good so thought i'd get back on it. It instantly felt a lot more do-able and i quickly did the moves. Because the route is not a fitness route, (its basically a two bolt slab to a 5 move boulder problem followed by some good holds followed by another tricky move to jugs) i was soon on redpoint. I was feeling the pressure however and although it wasn't physically at my limit the stress of the first ascent was proving very real. I had to build confidence up on the route, i also had to skip a clip because it was so bouldery. Anyway i was making progress but my hand strain was holding me back so i had a break from it. Today i warmed up in the Cave and went for it. I got to one of the last moves feeling good when my foot popped. Next go i planted my feet better and did the cross through move off the pinch, this was it. I tried to relax. The decent holds i was on were not proving a good rest because the feet were so small and my left arm was severly powered out. I was getting worried. The last tricky move was a long stretch off my left arm with high feet. Not a powerful move luckily, more akin to a slate rockover. I stretched as if my life depended on it,i got the small crimp and battled to get my left foot up into the dimple. This was a 50/50 moment i udged my foot up but was almost off. As i grabbed the jug i was out of strength in my left arm. I utilised my 12 years of climbing experience to keep it together. A few worrying moves up the jugs and i was home. I let out a shriek of delight, i'd done it. The hardest route on the historic Mayfair wall was born. I've called it Masterplan and its either hard 8a or easy 8a+. I've gone for tentative 8a+ though because it probably is and if your any shorter than me (most people are) it will be 8a+. I thought it could be 8b all those years ago! Hopefully it will get some attention, its a 2 star route, really good. I decided to climb the route from the ledge as opposed to starting up Harry the Clamp as this is the tradition of the wall. Masterclass and the Screw Machine top pitches were both climbed as 2nd pitches starting from the massive ledges. So essentially this route is a 2nd pitch to Harry the Clamp. Climbing it from the deck would be an improvement in style but it was not something i was bothered about, if its good enough for Jerry....


Yesterday Ray and Si took me to see Shadowplay for my birthday:

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Round 4

Yesterday i climbed the starting slab and sorted out the moves on the Sika jugs. Not hard but can defo see how it takes the edge of you. I think i need to get structured on this route now. Doing it from the slap to the top would be a good goal but i'm in no rush to jump back on it. Might go and check the mwyn with the hommes today. Kowahhh

Friday, 8 May 2009

West Coast Gimps Outtakes3

Round 3

I last tried Liquid Ambar on 20th March. I hadn't forgotten about it, it has always been at the back of my mind. However being a long term goal and a bit ambitious for me at the moment i wasn't in a rush to jump back on. I knew what i needed to do. More power and a lot of power endurance. Yesterday i got back on it not knowing what to expect after such a break. I knew my strength was ok though so hopefully i would do as well as last time. I pulled up to the lower crux,it was feeling tricky but i knew i was still feeling cold. When i had worked the undercut to undercut pull with Paul i had worked out a different body position. I knew deep down however that although this way worked there was a lot of messing around with the feet involved, time lost that i couldn't afford. After getting the first small undercut i had to move all the way round and then when i got the next hold there was a hard foot move to get my left foot on the decent hold. This involved too much fuckin around. Jerry didn't do any of this, he simply stepped his foot straight onto the decent foothold and powered through. On previous attempts this had seemed unfeasible. Yesterday it was a goer though. After experimenting with body positions i latched the undercut and with the foot already being up pulling up wasn't too bad. Yes! This was a big breakthrough. I did it again, not too bad! I pulled up to the slap and managed it 3rd go. Matching is one of the hard moves on the route but i pressed on, i wanted to see what the top moves were all about. I hadn't been to the top before. I stick-clipped the lower off and went to work. Things weren't letting off much, it was still hard. The moves and the holds were still amazing, i imagined being up there on redpoint cranking 6c moves after all that. Each move took a bit of learning and working out. Thank god for the 80s DVD! I managed all the top moves eventually, i felt confident that they would get easier as i gained familiarity with them. I sat on the rope and gave the route some thought, it was definetely one of the best routes i'd ever tried. Amazing holds, style, moves and a incredible power endurance epic. I thought of all the strong bastards who spend so much time in the shithole cave when there is such a world class route ten minutes away. Ok its a bit epic with the tides and conditions but these are minor obstacles to overcome to climb such a great route. I thought of how many fitter, stronger and better climbers than me lived on this island and i was shocked that so few had even tried this route. 3 ascents in twenty years! I also wondered how things were going to progress for me on this route. I was taking a step into the unknown. I had skipped a grade when i climbed Melancholie but this was different. I had done a lot of 8as when i did Melancholie but this was probably as far as my potential goes. I don't know whether i'm looking at 6 months or 5 years on this route. I just can't predict how things are going to progress. I am definetely positive though after my initial forays. I think the route is within my abilities and to be honest trying it is no hardship, its so much fun!
Effort to The Inspector for nailing an old bugbear, Power Ranger 8b+ at Malham.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Me and Mule headed to Yorkshire on Saturday morning. My goal was to do some training and to find a cool project and Mule wanted to crush some routes. We headed straight to Kilsney where we met Steve Dunning and Dave Buchanan and Dal and Louise. We warmed up and i got on Subculture, didn't really like the crux bit but had some redpoints to no avail. The North Buttress was seaping so we left that. Mule tried to flash Comedy, he would of pulled it off he he'd got his thumb on one of the final holds. He did it next go.
Steve on Comedy:

Dave was trying All Out looked pretty meaty (well it is a Carson route!). I have never really got into Kilsney, i have always much preferred Malham, maybe one day.
Next day we headed to the Cove. I wanted to do some stamina training on my old nemesis Overnite Sensation. I've fallen off the last move of this route about 6 times over the years. I just find it so pumpy. Shit bastard. Anyway i soon got sacked with it and couldn't resist having a go on Austrian Oak, always fancied this one. Malham is the most beta intensive crag i've ever been to. If your going to try something hard there my advice would be to go on a weekend where there will definitely be a man there who will inform you which smears to put your feet on. Its so god damn complicated but very special climbing. Mule was on Raindogs, he dropped the move to the chain but not before he fell off by the last bolt with all the slack out clipping. He fell into the starting groove. The weekend was not going well for me, needed to take something positive from it. Magnetic Fields was my last chance! I have tried this before too, doing the moves when i was light but failing to do them on subsequent visits. What would happen this time??? Ted was on hand to shout out the numbers. I pulled straight up to the meat of the route, the famous pocket pull! It wasn't feeling too bad. I went to the top. The last move is a horrible stretch rightwards into an undercut off a backhand undercut. Very weird and very worrying. Anyway i was psyched. The route isn't pumpy like Overnite. It is basically a 7a+ boulder to the undercuts then a 7b/7b+ boulder to the third bolt, then a 7b/+ route to the top. The good thing about the top though is that it is tricky rather than pumpy. The next day i managed to link the crux YYFY. I worked out the start too, this is tricky! So i have always wanted to do this route, its famous and hard and i like the style. Will be back soon for another go. Mule fell off the last move of Raindogs again! Bugger. Lincoln had a shcok on the redpoint of The Maximum when he clipped a bolt and the hanger came off! Ha exciting stuff:

Mule on Raindogs:

Friday, 1 May 2009

Project Issues

Frustration is kicking in on Mayfair Wall. The main issue that i'm having is that for some reason two of the moves on this route (both involve stretching to crimps) have been making my hand strain from Spain flare up, so i fall off in agony not good. I've also been getting more redpoint jitters than usual, i think this is because its a new line and i want it so much. Anyway each day i grow more confident, the climbing isn't at my limit but i have to conquer all the other factors in order to climb it. Have found out some more history about the line. Mel Griffiths and Tony Schelmerdine first equipped the line and tried it. Its has been tried by Perry Hawkins and Adam Wrainwright. I'm also a bit unsure about the grade. I'd always believed it to be at least 8a+ because i couldn't really touch it. The recent seige however has led me to think it could just be a hard 8a. Danny tried it years ago and said it was defo harder than Masterclass (8a these days and rarely climbed). Recently Lincoln tried it, he thought it probably wasn't 8a+ but he didn't quite manage the crux and didn't do the upper move (i'm sure he could though). Also bare in mind that he's climbing well, Manchester Dogs in 20 min and more recently he climbed Militia 8a+ in a day. Tommy went up there yesterday, he's been eating up 8as downstairs quicktime and he thought my route was defo harder. So i'll probably stick my neck out and give it 8a+. Its cool, thats the main thing. Gonna have a week off it to try and let my hand recover.
Might be going to Yorskshire this weekend for some sport action. I'm keen to get some projects up there (have got one nemesis already!). Would really like to try Full Tilt, 8b up the middle of the North Buttress=amazing. Sposed to be a hard one though so we'll see. Mule is a very psyched man right now, he climbing well on routes and could be dangerous if he can utilise his font 8b strength high up!