Wednesday, 28 July 2010

UK round up

Well it was so manic before leaving the UK that I haven’t written much at all this last month or so. It’s been probably my best time in the UK during the entire 6 years! Lots of friends and family visiting and great nights out, group meals and lots of fun days out on rock. The highlight definitely had to be the Irish invasion. Neal, Naomi, Niamh, Claire, Kev P, Sean and Kev M, Tricia, Daire and Grainne all came to visit and tear the crags up. Naomi, Niamh and Caroline in their 80’s retro gear, classic! It was brilliant catching up with everyone, especially those that I’ve not been out with in years. That night we ate a communal curry and hit the Wine bar for some spinney plate antics and general merriment.
Yes... even Rocky is pretending not to know them :o)

Climbing wise things started to taper off a bit towards our move and the weather began to show signs of weakness too. When I think back to ascents worthy of note only a few come up. Caroline kept bashing away at Bandits till the bitter end. Her best burn got her from the deck, up through the crux and above the 3rd clip before a foot slip spat her off. From there she lead it to the top. It’s a weird route to belay her on because the lower section is so obviously height dependant that I would say for Caroline it warrants it’s original grade of 7c. Either way the grade wasn’t what was motivating Caroline for this line – it was its climbing, its moves and its reputation as one of the most sought after lines at the crag. In the end the packing and bad weather prevented us from getting on it before leaving and it remains unsent despite my gut instinct knowing it was doable very soon.

I went back and repeated “Out of Body Experience” again after the loss of a large hold on the roof section after my second ascent. The start now feels like a much harder boulder problem for me and I have less doubt of it’s 8a status as a result – still a brilliant route and fun, fun, fun! I lead “Highway” again too as Vince was working it and I realised how blinkered I was to stay with a sequence I found nearly 3 years ago despite developing so much since then. I think I was making life difficult for myself! My original sequence felt 8a, Vince’s beta made it feel 7c! Lesson learned. Finally I left my very own little mark on Dinbren (other than a string of broken holds) by linking up two difficult sections of climbing to create a new line. “Elite Deviation” take in all the hard climbing of “Elite Syncopations” 8a before finishing up the crux section of “Bolt from the Blue” E6 6c (7c). This replaces the 7b finish of syncopations with something a little harder. Also the top half of the route is protected by 2 wires in the crack below the final roof adding a little spice to the mix. Although I feel the link is harder than the original I don’t feel it warrants 8a+ so I’m leaving it at 8a.

It has been such a productive 3 months of climbing that I feel I’ve passed a milestone in my climbing as we leave for Espana. I’ve sent every route I’ve really wanted and one or two I genuinely though were impossible for me to booth.

El Rincon, 8a(+)
Out of Body Experience, 8a (x2)
Elite Deviation, 8a
Elite Syncopations, 8a
Rivals, 7c+ (I’ve lead this twice - 8a after loss of good crimp?)
Highway, 7c+ (again!)
Rincon Orgasmatron, 7c+
Dyperspace, 7c
Extreme Ways, 7c
When Saturday comes, 7c

Chuffed! I’m going to miss Llangollen and Dinbren but moving onto bigger and better things. New places and faces are what it’s all about!

Monday, 26 July 2010


Well we´ve arrived in Spain safe and sound but ... a decent update to follow as soon as things calm down a bit and i can bring myself to sit down and type :)