Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Well it’s been another manic week here… The Estyn inspectors have come and gone and things on the work front have returned to normality for now at least! After the mad week in work I was bulling to get out on rock and start working the project again… it had been two full weeks since I had been on it by this stage! During that time I had a renewed incentive to hang from my board and had increased the weight on my hang belt to try and overload my training (while avoiding injury of course). Although I had been noticing constant, small improvements through my training I felt it was beginning to stagnate so adding some weight to the static hangs might be just enough to provoke an overload and adaptation by the body and spark the finger and arm muscles into recruiting again.
Well something must have worked because on the project on Sunday things started to come together with surprising ease – not that I’m saying it’s easy or anything. After trying the route for the first time I had identified 2 main areas on the route that would cause the problems during the redpoint.
First was the technical crux at the 3rd bolt involving the use of some tiny edges to get in position for a deadpoint to a sharp crimp. This section completely shut me down during my first attempt. This Sunday after a 6b warm up I tied in and climbed cleanly past the second bolt using a sequence I had thought of during the week – luckily the footholds were there that allowed the moves to flow. Before long I had unearthed a sequence that worked through the low crux and could I could climb the lower wall from the ground to the jug marking the change in angle above the 3rd bolt. The climbing in this section is not only hard on the fingers due to the tiny edges on offer but seems really physically powerful aswell – and complicated. More crucial movements than any other route I have been on. Each move from stepping off the deck has to be pulled off perfectly for me to complete the deadpoint to the crimp and there seems to be tonnes of foot movements needed between every hand move. In many ways this is exactly what I want, something that challenges my technique as well as my strength. Once I had decided on the final sequence for the lower wall I just practiced it until I couldn’t hold on any more.
Anyone who has never worked something this complicated before will think I’m a wuss or sap or something but I left the crag on Sunday more proud of that session and sequence I had found than of all but the best few trad routes I’ve ever done. This is the beginning of some thing different. I know this route is hard – a real hard route – harder than any of the other 8’s I had been on in the UK, Spain or France… probably why it’s 8b! But I’m on it and putting a lot of effort into it and enjoying the process. Now there is just the final powerful crux up top to dial and the redpointing can begin.
The top crux somehow seems more clear but just desperately hard. I know I’m going to need to spend a lot of time trying different foot sequences on this or I’ll simply never be able to hold the crux holds – 3 tiny 2 mm ripples in a row need to be snatched between to reach some more poor holds leading to the top. It’s gonna require a solid right heelhook methinks but that’s all I know for now. That’s the next session – when I decide on a sequence for the top I can begin to redpoint the whole thing – this is where the real work will have to be put in – I have to climb through the lower wall and mid overhang without getting pumped in order to snatch through those ripples to the top. It’s gonna be a battle!

After working the project I finished off with a handy toprope of a neighbouring 7c that I had played on before – even with a huge pump I managed to flash through it and was relieved to see such concrete proof that I had actually improved somewhere along the way since last year. After that the final test was to lead a 7a+ before packing up – what a fight! But then again I was pumped to bits tying in!

Why am I so happy that I can’t climb a route yet? I’ve a real project!


Neal said...

awesome dude and great to hear you're cranking hard!
Making me seriously jealous I have to say that you've got projects locally :)
Keep it up, I need to hear more to keep me sane!!!!

Anonymous said...

Even though I have never worked anything nearly that hard it sounds really impressive ..
Glad you found such a good climb/project
hey on another note what would be a good bolted crag near Hollyhead for a quick weekend of sports from 5's to high 6's maybe a 7 or two

Dave said...

Slate quarries in llanberis or Llandudno limestone would be the closest... When you comming over?