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Thursday, 26 August 2010


After the doom and gloom of the last post this one should be a bit more cheery! Had a really good day down the Diamond. Just me and Mule down there tonight and once again we were spoilt by good conditions. Not had a bad day down there yet, starting to think we imagined the grease of last year! I was feeling strangely confident. Strategy wise i was in a bit of a catch 22 situation. If i fell low down i really needed to pull back on and bust out a link for fitness purposes. However this would tire me for the next redpoint. I figured at this stage of the game that it would be more beneficial to save my strength and try and get through the crux section. If i could, this would do my confidence the world of good and the whole thing would not feel quite so daunting. 1st RP my heel slipped off frustratingly. Next burn up i crushed the crux and fell on a big move just shy of the pre-redpoint crux shakeout. I was inches from getting to last years highpoint. I fell there again on my next go, i was feeling fit and this was just the session i needed. Mule had a good first session on Never Get Out of the Boat getting a good pump on. Alas that is probably the last time i'll make it down until the next tidal window. Can't wait!

Photo by Matt Pickles:

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Unscrambling the Physche

I would liken my recent loss of motivation to a computer system suffering a massive crash. The effect is instant but recovery is not and often takes a bit of time to unravel the damage thats been done. At its worst i could no longer see the point of rock climbing and felt i was just going through the motions by doing something that i felt like i should rather than wanting to do it. I've had such feelings before but it just happened to be particularly bad timing this year with the onset of Diamond season. It is horrible when something that is such a massive part of your life seems momentarily pointless. And the worst thing is you can't force your way back, the psyche has to return naturally. Anyway despite all this i've been enjoying the early Diamond sessions, its hard not to get a bit of an urge to climb at this place. I stuck another step on the road to recovery today by getting a tick. Haven't had one of those for a while! Went down Pigeons and after warming up on Koo managed to dispatch Stark finally, felt fine too which made it all the more sweeter. Had that spring in my stride walking out that you only get from clipping a chain. Pete and Nodder continued the re-equipping work. Nodder learnt how to bolt on Koo and Pete started on Stiff Upper Lip and Follow the Prof. These need completing, we'll probably have to get a big ladder down there to finish them. The old bolts are so rusty we can't even use them to clip into to keep us in while we bolt, they just disintegrate!
Pete drilling Stiff Upper Lip:

Nodder on Koo, very fun 7b on big holds:

The boys and the tat:

The crag is in a right state with old krabs on every bolts and knackered rope and rusty chains hanging from the belays, some stuff Pete chopped off:

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sweaty Diamond

More Diamond action today as a big team descended on the steepness. Once again it was factor low on the grease front. I felt a bit more at home on my project today, should have made it through the crux really. I'm in a bit of a strange situation on it. I'm keen to go from the ground and see how high i can get but at the same time if i fall on the crux its because its hard and not because i'm pumped. Today when i fell i continued some linkage to the top but of course this then tires you more for the next go! Think i'll just keep on like this for a few more sessions. Once i start getting through the crux i'll just keep redpointing for the ground as this will provide sufficient pump. Boat People got a few ascents and onlookers were quite shocked as Dyer failed to flash Never Get Out of The Boat, must be hard! Later the sun came on the crag which was nice in a way but a bit sweaty also. Last year we didn't make it there til September and the evening sun wasn't quite as warm. I could resist no longer and had a rather shit flash burn on Boat People, not much left in the tank and i was soon hanging! We cut it a bit fine getting out, had to go down to bare feet to make it to the escape corner. Jeez those barnacles were sharp!

Ray escaping:

Neil on the 8a:

Friday, 20 August 2010

Pigeons Re-equipping

A few months ago the seed was planted in my mind to have another look at Pigeons Cave with view to regearing it. For some reason i'd always dismissed this place despite the attractive grade span and unique horizontal nature. I realised this was a mistake when i first went down to try Stark. Stiff Upper Lip and Follow the Prof looked great fun and Stark turned out to be a great route. I had done the 7b Koo before and that was dead good. So i sent out an email to see what resources the bolt fund had at the moment. Nearly all the resin bolts had been used to regear LPT. Pete Harrison sent out a group email and we got some more funds in through donations. Pete isn't one to mess about so he ordered 35 bolts to re-equip the place. They soon arrived and today we went and stuck new lower offs in the routes left of Stark. All that remains now is to rebolt the routes and get on them. The bolts are amazing 12mm twisty stems, very diddy indeed. Which makes drilling much less arduous!

Tiny bolts:

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Back on the Horse

Went down to the Diamond today with Mule n Pickles. Signs were good as there was no grease on the approach. Sure enough when we got there the rock was crisp and bone dry. The black rock which soaks up the grease usually, was a lighter colour. A one in 6 day i would say. The crag was looking fairly dry, a few birds were left on the ledges but it felt like Diamond season. I racked up for my proj. Was gonna employ the same tactics as last year, warming up on the easier sections putting the clips in and doing a few small links. I didn't know what to expect really. In my mind i was still falling off the high redpoint crux but i suspected this wouldn't be the current reality. The moves went ok, only felt a little rusty on them. I re-aquainted myself with the redpoint crux and soon remembered why i was so far off doing it last year. Its a long stretch off a sidepull quite high up the route. When your tired the last thing you want is a long move, locking and covering distance is always hard when your sagging. Plus on this move you can't slap, you need to go reasonably static. The next few moves are smaller on positive holds before a very drop-able finish to the jugs. Last year i was locking off a flatty up to a wide pinchy thing which i guppied before laying one to a jug. This move wasn't feeling piss this year and it dawned on me what a drop-able last move it was. I could see myself falling there for days. Today i worked a new sequence for the end which although was more moves felt a bit more secure to me, despite the last move being off a poor sloper. Think i'll stick with this for now as it feels a bit more secure. I was fairly pleased to get to the first crux of the route from the deck climbing through the boulder problem off the ground first go. Mule and Pickles did Rub a Dub Dub 7a and got on Boat People. Like most folk (bar Pete) from last year they went to the first lower off. Pickles fell just shy of the big corner on the onsight then got it on his first redpoint. Mule had a ok flash go but didn't get up it last go as the sea was lapping the bottom off the access corner and we had to go. I must say this route looks very meaty for 7c. I had earmarked it for a potential flash burn but i'm not so sure now. Can't believe that it only gets 7c if you go to the top of the crag. This top section looks tricky in its own right and you've already done what is probably a hard 7c to get there (there is a rest though). It started pissing down and we got soaked getting back to the car. Not good.
Well the route still felt hard, i was happy with how i got on as hadn't been on it since last October. Despite my best efforts to prepare well it was still feeling pretty meaty, but then it is completely at my limit (and beyond) for a power endurance route. Such an amazing style though! Also need to build up my confidence on the route again. Might sound a bit pathetic as it is sport climbing but this is a meaty wall, the likes of which i don't climb on very often. I reckon i'm in for the long haul on this route, need to build the fitness and muscle memory up on it and get up to that redpoint crux ASAP. My biggest concern however is despite being finally able to try the one thing i wanna do i'm not exactly feeling overly psyched. I want to climb but am not feeling the usual fire in my belly. Would be nice to get this back as it would help my cause greatly. Now is not the time for a psyche dip. I feel like i'm going through the motions at the moment, maybe an upturn in form will sort me out. Fingers crossed!

Rub a Dub Dub 7a:

Boat People

Pickles dropping the onsight:

Wet Exit:

Monday, 16 August 2010

Diamond Open for Business

Tommy and Nodder were playing on Temple of Gloom today, nice to go back and see the beast.

The bird ban date for the Diamond has passed so its game on (conditions,weather and tides dependent of course). Pete Harrison has already been along to check the handline. Apparently one section of the static rope was down to the last few threads where it had been rubbing over the winter. Pete has sorted this now and also put two new bolts in the last section as the original bolts were starting to move as a result of the forces being put on them. The new bolts have been countersunk and face the right way so it should be fine now. Me and Mule went down but forgot mornings were a grease fest. This little fella was left over from the bird season:

Friday, 13 August 2010


Spent the last week down in Devon working on Dartmoor. It's not often that there are after work climbing options when you're away from home so i was keen to take advantage of being reasonably close to Ansteys Cove. I always fancied checking this place out so came down a bit earlier on Sunday. After a five hour non stop drive there was only one thing for it and i jump straight on the famous 8a Cider Soak. Bit of a harsh warm up but i'm liking the moves, there are some great shapes on it too. Sparky's dishing out the beta which is very helpful as its quite a complex little number. I have a few redpoints but my attempts fall just shy of the top break and i vow to return. Next sesh i meet up with Jon and the exile Ted who has spent the last few months working on Jersey. I have a few more redpoints and fall coming into the painful fingerlock at the top. The other route high on my ticklist was the mega Empire of the Sun 7b, its getting pretty dark but i'm dead keen to get it done so jump on. Love this climb, my favourite 7b in Britain and was nice to flash as i don't flash much these days. Manage to coax Bob and Tim to another after work hit, first RP i fall going for the flat jug at the end, next up i get the jug, swing my feet, stare at the top of the crag an inch away and then lose my strength and fall! Can't believe i fell here, its been a long time since i can't hold such a jug. And so the tick gets away and i leave with mixed emotions. I felt quite fit down there but at the same time the epics on 8as continues - not a good sign for the impending Diamond season!

Jon on Empire:

Me on CS:

The Exile:

Thursday, 5 August 2010

LPT sending spree!

Good vibe down on the beach today. Mussel beach saw a couple of ascents from Blair and Keith and the Dyer crushing train rolled on. He scored a hat trick of 8a+s, Pas de Deux, Melon Beach and Bad Melons. Bout time he got on something hard if you ask me! Come on Neil pull yer finger out. I had a redpoint if Bad Melons but one of the crux holds was wet and i could do with being slightly stronger. Good link though, should be a goer. Did Bad Boy 3 times. Think the main thing i'm lacking now is a bit of actual stamina. Strength and PE are both reasonable. Had a return to form in the Mill yesterday, could do some of the old favourites again!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Ginger Jims Bad Melons

Headed to the Orme today determind to get some rock in. Nodder rang when i was in me pit enquiring about the conditions, all i could see was blue sky. When i turned onto the prom however the Great Orme was descended in mist! Bugger, it was spitting too! Usual story - headed there anywhere, team Llanberis turned up and headed down. Me James and Nodder weren't inspired by the weather so eventually we opted for a do on Simon Says, the new boy of the Orme. James in action:

I struggled with the upper crux (same as last time i tried it). Nodder was looking pretty good though. After we decided to head down Pigeons. I was a bit hesitant,another kicking on Stark was the last thing i needed but i needed some rock time so went for it. You can climb down Pigeons for quite a bit longer than LPT. Anyway a good session was had by all. Me and Nodder made new highpoints. I fell off the last move one go. Was pleased as it was feeling a lot easier to the last section. Felt like i was climbing it a lot better. Plus conditions were bon! I'll be going back soon to try and finish it.

After James took a dip in the drink!:

Spoke to Jimmy Big Guns Mccormack who is currently trying to crack Melancholie, he ticked Melancopout the other day and added another training link today. Bad Melons (8a+) starts up Bad Boy and then traverses into the middle crux of Melancholie which it follows to the top. Nice one la!