Sunday, 29 July 2007

I'm Back!

Some Juicy updates to follow ASAP...

France Rocks!

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Nesscliffe Test

After our brief visit to Pembrok i really wanted to try some other hard Trad routes to see if the E6 was just a fluke. Nesscliffe it is! Tuesday morning we hit the road and as is the tradition with this crag we set up a toprope - although usually i hate this style of climbing the dodgey nature of the sandstone here requires a practice approach to the harder routes before committing to a lead. Dont ask me why, but for some reason the first route i try at this crag is "My Piano" E8 6c - an awesome overhanging arete with not much gear and fewer holds - Haa! Freaked myself out by getting it cleanly on a top rope (Eh??) - Now i've been thinking about leading the thing!! I have a project - it'll take some further practice before i get on the sharp end of this one but it's deffinately dooable! Then for a cool down i top rope the neighbouring "Tombola" E7 6c - this one has loads of gear and a 'Orrible 6c technical crux right below the top!Awesome climbing - How i'm climbing them i don't know - anyway - back to reality - gotta squeeze in some sports climbing before France!!!


In advance of our trip to France we took a chqance and headed down to south Wales last weekend hoping for a break from the constant Rain! We were in luck! Saterday morning we got up extra early (6am) to do an 8 mile run before having breckfast and hitting the road... Caroline did a load of the driving and Rocky even enjoyed the long 3.5 hour journey on winding roads through the welsh hills.

Rocky Enjoying the view out the car window

Another first this weekend was the fact that we decided to try another campsite - this time within walking distance from the beach AND the Crag! Check the view out from out tent...

The View

After checking out the campsite and pitching the tent we headed for the crag - 5 mins walking later we were ontop of St. Govans and basking in the Sunshine. the mission for this evening was to refamiliarise ourselves with Trad climbing... half a dozen Overhanging E3's later we still wern't pumped but our confidence on trad was back and the gear placements and ropework was back to scratch! We still got it!

Playing on the Beach

I managed to postpone the ritual swim in the ice cold sea untill tomorrow but we did go for a walk around the coastline - it felt like years since we had been here - Man i love that Place!

The Ab into Huntsmans Leap before the cloud-burst

The next morning we decide to go into the Leap to see if i can test myself on any of the long sustained Steep routes in the Mid E-Grades. I have done two E5's before down there and i felt like as the years have passed i've been getting better at them - the last one was a good solid Onsight over a year ago that left me pumped stupid and a fair bit scared in places. I ab in and check a line out but think better of it and sit at the bottom of the Zawn waiting for Caroline to Ab down - What will i do? we could do the E2?? as soon as caroline touches the ground the sky darkens and it LASHES Rain! SHIT!! Stuck down in the Leap with all the non-overhanging routes totally aturated and the steeper routes rapidly getting wet too! What to do? I start climbing - thats what. Some time later we emerge after onsighting an E6 6b with optional extra direct finish (Basicially i just climbed straight up on the dryest holds i could find). The Witching Hour into Bloody Sunday into Scorched Earth. Hmmmm.... Interesting, thats the Second Trad 6b route that i've onsighted in the last few weeks and deffinately the hardest one i've done and yet it felt OK.

Needless to say we were glad to get out and back to Rocky who wa tied up at the top of the cliff sheltering inder a little tent Caroline had fashoned out of my rucksact before she abbed in. After that we just spent the Day swimming in the Sea and chlling out on the beach - that was the Hardest route Caroline had ever been on and she was rightly scared even seconding.

What to do after a awesome day like that? Go and have a slap up meal in the Ever Friendly St. Govans Inn of Course!!

Man what a class weekend! Plus we got to test run out camping habbits before going to France.

Friday, 6 July 2007

I’ve snapped!

A friend of mine is just back from a week in the Gorge du Tarn and after receiving an email from her I’ve snapped! That’s it – in 7 days time we’re hitting France for two weeks of climbing and pocket pulling!!! Ferry booked, Dog sorted and topo’s downloaded. Having been to Tarn before I’m hesitant to go again so soon – theres sooo many quality crags in France it’d be a shame to limit yourself to only a few. The vague plan for this little road trip is to head south (hopefully escaping the rain!!!!) to look towards somewhere new – somewhere cutting edge – yet to be in the limelight – yet to be polished – somewhere like St. Leger du Ventoux, near Orange. And if that turns out to be not that great I’m moving onto Buoux or possibly even le Tarn or the best crag in the world, Ceuse. I know I’ll be low on stamina for this trip no matter what I do this coming week before going but it’ll give me a good indication of where I’m at. And it’ll also leave us with some strength and stamina in the tank for the rest of the summer either climbing trad in Wales or Ireland or possibly another follow up trip to France at a later date.

Last night saw us at an indoor wall for the first time in 8 months?? Good sign was that none of the holds felt too small! A quick stamina interval session later and we were pleasantly supprised as to how easy everything was feeling. Bring it on!!

Being Driven round the Bend

I’ve only been driving around 3 years. My parents and grandparents never owned a car, growing up in Dublin we relied on cycle power or public transport. But since owning a car, and being a climber, I’ve probably clocked up a good 10 years worth of miles under my belt (all with people in the car – carpooling, the way ahead). Last week i began helping Caroline to get to grips with Driving. It’s really cool to see someone going through the learning process – and doing it well! Aside from the obvious pitfalls and lessons associated with learning to drive; as a passenger to a learning driver I’ve noticed that being in a ‘L plate’ car allows you to see the best and the worst qualities of the other motorists on the road. Its like an amplifier for peoples characters. Some drivers are soo considerate and patient, while others just aren’t. It’s cool to just sit back and take it all in as the passenger.

Networks and digital footprints

Being relatively new to this whole blogging thing and also to sites like BEBO and Facebook I am still being surprised as to how effective they are at connecting people! It’s shocking! I’ve been flung back into contact with people I haven’t heard from in Years! Old classmates, climbing friends, people from all over! Plus it’s kinda weird getting positive comments and encouragement from – well complete strangers - who have stumbled across my blog! It’s cool! Thanks everyone! When I first tentatively began to write in this blog I went to some lengths to keep it all under wraps – only 2 people were made aware of its existence and I was happy with that. Now, I’m enjoying browsing through blogging communities and counting my hits – it’s a weird transition!
Also seeing myself mentioned in other peoples posts is kinda strange but great at the same time... It's all good!