Thursday, 3 May 2007

Something’s brewing

…and it’s taken me quite by surprise! All year I’ve been focused on improving my fitness and applying any gains in my sports climbing. I’m almost afraid to admit it yet but I can’t deny that I’m feeling stronger, lighter and more solid on routes that I could never have even dogged a year ago. I’m a bit disappointed with myself for feeling and thinking what I have begun to over the past few days but I know I shouldn’t be. I mean its a natural thing isn’t it? I just wanted to prove to myself that I could be dedicated to something that I found hard and stick with it until I achieved the goals I had set. I’m not giving up – NO WAY! It’s just that I had envisioned myself concentrating on purely sports climbing until I had built up a considerable reserve of strength, technique and endurance and then unleash it on trad. I suppose I need to be flexible and moving with my wants and the seasons is a good and healthy thing. Plus, the training is going so well I know I’ll keep that up no matter what I climb

Basically – I’ve begun to think of trad again. I’ve not done a trad lead in… er… Hmmmm…. let me think… since July last year?!? I mean I went out the odd day during the winter and found myself at the top of an E6 or two after that dark part of my brain once again hotwired the controls and made me solo something stupid – but I don’t consider that trad. I’ve kinda grown to fear trad – especially over the last year or two. Not Fear Trad itself – more a fear of letting myself loose on Trad. I think this has come about as a result of a number of things. Firstly, even though I did next to no climbing early last year I was managing to solo routes harder than anything I had ever climbed before and secondly my brain had switched off… I was awake, dialing crux sequences, placing my feet, enjoying the feelings and the movements but I felt nothing in the danger part of my gut that used to let me know I was on something hard. Days like this happened with increasing regularity until as luck would have it life took over and I never got a chance to test the limits of this new mental playground I had been released into. Well I’m stronger, fitter and more experienced now and things are conspiring towards getting me to rack up again… knowing how I have always climbed on trad (i.e. at my limit) I’m fairly apprehensive as to how all this will work out.

How do events like this get set in motion? Gradually of course… like a ripple in a pond or a snowball placed ontop of a steep powder slope…

1st I watched E11… and I realised how much I enjoy the prospect of a good winger!

2nd Kev Mailed me asking about a North Wales climbing weekend and before I know it we’ve arranged to meet up and hit Gogarth – I’m not really thinking about that though because my mind is on other routes

3rd Neal starts mailing with type of trad protected routes in Oz and strange frustrating half-breed trad/sports routes that confuse and over-psyche the mind

4th Enda mentions that people were muttering that I had given up climbing? ME?!?! Then I calm down and realise that in Ireland “Climbing” refers to trad and trad alone – to them my adventures on bolts equates to nothing.

5th James Pearson repeats a Leo Houlding E9 in Llanberris and the web is flooded with pics that have really stoked my fires

6th Polish Gregor repeats forbidden Kink in the Burren – Ahh… the memories – Man I was weak back then!

7th Kev mentions driving me to the Head and already im dealing with the mental crux of the Complete scream

8th … a new E7 6c goes up at the head!

9th I stumble across the Pic of the first ascent of “Bad skin Day” (below)

That’s it!

Theres a whole load of new goals that need ticking along with my local sports ambitions!


No brains no headaches!

Viva la Training!

I’m being called back!

Ricky Bell on the first ascent of "Bad Skin Day" E7 6c - Fair Head

Mesmelf on "Primal Scream" E6 6b - Fair Head


Outdoor junkie said...

Nice dude, seems like you're getting psyched!!!!
Keep it going, enjoy yourself along the way :)

By the way, interestingly, the Aussie bloke who climbed Primal Scream (the bloke who did the direct on Rollerball and climbed with Ricky) thought it was a soft touch 24/25 for Australia! With the current system that's E4 if translated!
From my experiences over here, I'd have to agree, their route gradings are nails.... sniff sniff.

Dave said...

Interesting!I got some strange looks when i abbed down the route first time and said to Howard, Kev and Calvin that i thought the same! I walked back around saying i thought it was E3/4! They took the piss as i hadn't actually done it yet - but i did it without a warm up the following day - wet streaks and all... Maybe the Aussies know their stuff

Wasatch Girl said...

Awesome post.... I love the pics of Fairhead. I am so glad that Angela stopped so I could see it, but I wish I could have climbed there. Looks utterly fantastic! Keep on rockin' on Dave!