Dry land is not a myth! I've touched my first rock of 2008 and it felt good! We headed down to check out Pantymwyn - our local steepness only 15 mins from my door. I suppose i never really took to the place before because it was too hard for me to get much use out of... but i am now seeing the small, quiet venue as kinda idyllic! Flat landings, steep rock, hard lines, riverside location and quiet! What more could you want?
Having not really done too much here before i was keen to test myself on a V7 i last tried probably two years ago and it felt Nails! Proper desperate and right at my limit (probably slightly beyond it actually!). Nothing too technical, just very steep and powerful with two cross overs and some small holds - basically theres nowhere to hide on these problems if you're weak. Reach, technique or balls wont get you out of having to be able to crank!
To my surprise, i flashed the problem first go, comfortably hanging the crux holds and even cutting loose to hang one-handed from the hold at the end of the crux sequence - it didn't feel right! i could pause on the hardest move to try different ways of holding the crux 3-tip-pocket before deciding the openhand it and reach left for the inverted letterbox pinch. Very weird and very good! something must be paying off!
Slightly lost (i had planned on spending quite some time and energy working this problem) i repeated the sequence a couple of times to make sure it wasn't fluke and went to examine some of the more beefy lines. 3 major problems begin out of a kinda big hole in the roof and all rely on a crucial pocket to gain the lip of the roof before splitting off their separate ways. The crucial hold seems to be a drainage point and was soaking - nothing my pink flowery rag couldn't sort out though! so after drying the hold and chalking up i had swiftly notched another V7 onto my belt by hanging the swing on the lip then campusing 3 moves to match the finishing hold on "Pantys down". Excellent! I now had a choice between what i know are going to be project worthy lines... the sit start to Be Ruthless at a powerful V10 or the foot free campus spectacle that is Thug Mentality V9, possibly leading into Mental extension, a V9 in it's own right resulting in Thug Mental V10/11! (check out http://www.northwalesbouldering.com/newsitem.asp?nsid=158 for some history on the grades and how they're settling). If you've watched the video of the mutant known as Sam Cattell arms only-ing through these problems you might get the impression that they're full of jugs - they're not! The first Big campus cross-over is actually to a sloper and i spent the remainder of my session working this trying a variety of sequences, some involving feet, some not - all powerful - I'm home!
After we'd packed up it was running time and handily, our favourite big hill overlooks my new favourite local bouldering venue :) up to Moel Famau for a soul destroying 14 miles over undulating forestry tracks, all the while thinking about movement over the rock and happy that i HAD gotten stronger somewhere along the lines. I have some projects!