Monday, 6 December 2010

Day Two - Progress?

Caroline's project from Dave Ayton on Vimeo.

I think the key to making progress is constantly telling yourself that you are getting better. Maybe not better at achieving you goal but actively looking for things to acknowledge as having improved. For example, yesterday was our second day on and we felt trashed from a heavy day one. With sore skin and heavy arms we made our way to the crag. Although there were no sends i came home feeling like i had progressed. I was trying harder. I held that hold well. I read that move perfectly. I fought to control that swing and made the next clip etc...

Caroline picked a fight with a roof. All the moves have been worked and she has lead from the ground to half way through the crux section before falling. From hanging there she makes it to the chains every time. Time, thats all it's a matter of now. Her project (one of them) is at the point now where she knows it's doable any go - it's a frustrating period of working a route. You know there are no shortcuts, no hidden beta to unlock. The route has been distilled into a precise sequence of holds - your unique path through it's difficulties. Its at this phase in my experience that a few key elements come into play. Fight, preparation, rest and luck. If you can ensure fresh arms, good skin, a good nights sleep and are prepared to really fight then any go could result in a send. At the end of yesterdays climbing i tried recording a video on my phones camera. Don't know why i hadn't tried this before. Anyway, the video above shows the result... not Caroline's highpoint but a great effort at the end of two days on.

Inspired by Carolines drive on her route (and eager to keep some grades between our projects) i tried Gaz Parry's hardest addition to the crag, Bloque 8b. It blasts a direct line through the biggest roof on the crag. I tied in and began working - within 20 mins i was at the chains having done all the moves. It's brilliant! It's like doing 3 or 4 moonboard problems on top of each other with no rests or foot faggotry. The first 6 bolts climb like a powerful 7c+ or 8a in their own right and lead into the crux which feels about V9. After the start you cross over into a pocket with your right and span up to a kind of shoulder press sloper for your left. Hooking your left foot on a spike beside your right hand and squeezing everything lets you reach up to a right hand edge (the praying mantis move!). Cut loose to uncurl. After matching this it's a full on coil and dyno to another high right hand edge. I can keep my left hand on but the feet are well and truely off here. Cut loose and match. Hike feet up and deadpoint to a right hand crimp-pinch thing. Match left foot to hand and bring your right toe onto a mini edge. By this time you're horizontal. Dab left hand on mini intermediate crimp and snatch again to crux crimp (nasty). Adjust feet and spring sideways to a flatty hand hold, again with the left. Swing, match, heelkook, clip and pull to the lip and chains. Wow! I guess I've a project :o)

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