It's been a while and i've not been up to very much of note other than just getting by - without noticing it almost a year has gone by and i've totally neglected this waffle fest! A few thing lately have conspired to get me thinking about updating this blog...
- I've gotten really psyched!!
- There was mention on Climbing.ie about this yoke and i felt lazy
- I've been back to Fairhead and touched the holy rock
- Neal has moved to the UK... we're both in the same country and as usual - he's psyched and stronger them me!
- I've finished a project that has absorbed all my time
- Cragbaby has mentioned stoping her excellent blog
So Heres the highlights of 2009 so far...
I got out in the spring quite a bit and lead some sports climbs - felt good being able to lead 8a again after a bit of training - as ever - psyched for more!! A wet and workfilled summer came and i ended up getting no climbing done - AGAIN! But i did manage a chilled out week in Pembroke followed by a wet week in Scotland and a even wetter week in the lakes during which i passed my Mountain Leader assessment. I spent most of my evenings this year building a climbing wall across the road from where i now live - it's finally finished and i now have a custom built training facility to compliment the fringe board in the flat. I've been busy mopping up any outdoor qualifications going too... Mountain bike instructor Lv2, UKCC canoe/kayak coach, White water safety and rescue, Swift water rescue technician... really want my MIA now which would allow me to teach and deliver SPA training and ML.
Before i knew it September had arrived and i was back in school, only this time we had a new school day - finishing at a mighty 3:15!! By pure luck September also brought a spell of fine weather and i experimented with driving home from school via Llanberis - nice! Within a week i had worked and lead a possible new route in Llanberis pass. Inspired by the film Onsight and totally ignorant as to what i could climb on trad i took a wander up to Gravestones to look at Gravediggers E8. It looks awesome and i'm keen - however having only lead a handfull of routes in the pass i wanted to test the waters on something a little easier - i jumped on "Ring my Bell" E6... and jumped off it again quite quickly. Right - either it was harder than i was expecting or i was really shit. I end up throwing a rope down it and working the moves - lucky i did coz i was off the rock more than i was on it and the gear was best descrobed as dubious! After a while i frigged my way past the guidebook crux and landed on a slopey shelf at half height faced with a wobly spike, leaning headwall and some easy looking ground skirting off to the right i shouted down for directions. "It says finish direct but the topo curves rightwards!". OK, trying to avoid the E1/2 crack system to the right i got sucked out left and up the leaning headwall. On and off and on again - slopers, mono edge, using every inch of my full span from tip-toe to finger nail i unearthed a sequence i could repeat. Convinced it was a horrible sandbag i packed up and headed home no agenda. WRONG!! It was in my head and i hate leaving something unfinished. Next day i was out in the pass bouldering in the evening when two North Wales Wads turned up and started chatting - i asked the question "know anything about Ring my Bell up on Gravestones?" - Gets E7 - finished out right and the crux cam in the pod rips when fallen onto! Great! now i had a route in my head that i've been told is Choppy, very, very deck-offable and as hard as anything i've ever lead! Plus i had my sequence up that beautiful headwall!! That was that then! following evening i arrived after school to another perfect evening, abbed the route, rehearsed the cam placement, tied in and lead it. Honnestly the best feeling and best climbing i have ever been on - right at the top of the route, before mantling into a slabby groove looking down and seeing the rope swaying down to the last dodgy runner - wild! the first time i fould myself in a totally irreversable position and had to man up and climb hard or deck.
Is it a new line? Is it E7? Is it 6c? Havn't a clue - not done enough hard trad to guess - it was awesome!
Hot on the heels of this i booked a flight to Dublin and have 2 half days up at Fairhead with Kev Power! 5 years since my last visit there way back when i lead my first E6 - Primal scream. This time i was keen to check that it wasn't fluke - after a brief re-introduction with Hells Kitchen HVS i had abbed down and lead Hells Kitchen Arete E6 - 19 bits of pro and dirty rock made for an almighty pump and something that felt close to an onsight! Mega!!! The following morning Kev lead the pitch and we finished off with a quick look at Paralized Power and a swift lead of Main mast - both beautiful!
Back in North Wales i wanted to try something harder - something that would force me to spend some time on it to unlock it - a project. I decide i want to try Trauma in Llanberis but the weather turns so we retreat back east along the A5 and keep going to a dry Nesscliffe. An E7 and E8 are soom toproped and i manage a few clean laps on both routes - the plan is to return the following day and lead them - then it rains! I went out Thursday to try them again but they were still damp - too damp to lead and wet sandstone = breakable sandstone, not what you want. the plus side was that they both felt easier and safer than the route i lead in the pass! Sweet! anyway i ended up spending Thursday evening playing on Nick Dixon's latest addition to Nesscliffe - 1000 Setting Suns - E9 7a. Apparently a hold has broken off since it's first and second ascent making it harder. F8b to toprope and awesomely technical - I'm psyched!!!!