Well snow often turns the grown men and women I know into teenage Take That fans at the announcement of their thankful split, unfortunately they got back together when the bank was dry. My problem with snow though is that whilst it excites it can bring out utter idiots. Year ago winter conditions meant winter condition, snow, ice, neve the whole works. This weekend before I left North Wales that had the most beautiful but essentially useless for climbing covering of Snow. That got the people out in droves, I am sure that V12 and Joe Brown’s sold enough ice axes and crampons to keep them smiling.
Interestingly though after a bit of a brought of rescues there was at least three callout this weekend, and that’s just with a few inches of Snow.
What i was amazed with, which isn’t the rush to the hills, as being in snow is great, it is the expectation that at the first sign of snow, conditions will be ‘in’. I am sure I will rant about this more over the winter, but essentially only a sprinkling of snow has fallen, its day two of the cold snap, it ain’t winter condition yet, so sure take yourself up the hill, enjoy the view, but be realistic. I saw a few people with full on ice climbing gear over the weekend.
WTF is that about, get real. Back in the day mixed climbing required Rime, now all it needs is a spattering of snow. If thats right why bother waiting why not just dry tool cenotaph corner in shorts and a T-shirt next summer and be done with it! Winter Climbing the clue is in the name, and it doesn’t happen over night.
Anyway as you can see the snow has got me excited!
Well I got a frantic call off a friend today, her daughter had been kick by her horse and she was unable to move, as I was closer I raced to the stables. I had all sorts of visions of what might be awaiting me, so when I got there and found her hobbling towards me, obviously in shock I was relieved, as at least she had managed to stand up. I got her in the car and took her home where some sweet tea and TLC help her recover from the shock, and frozen peas for the bruise which I imagine will turn a rainbow of colours over the next few days. Ouch!
I then decided to put a short piece on equipment maintenance over on my Coaching Blog, as I thought it better fitted over there. I have to thank DMM who gave me some time to discuss what they as manufatcurer’s say. The piece will eventually make it into my book, as I am still tidying up the loose ends.
I also book a hire car today to go see my mum in Bournemouth, I left it too late for the train which apart from being £200 return, for the times I needed, one journey was around 12 hours in length with changes all over, including a underground trip across London and a Bus ride from Southampton to Bournemouth. So instead I hired a car for £150 for the week with full collision damage waiver. If I was sharing the journey it would be half price, utterly ridiculous if you ask me, who would use the train?
Well over the last few weeks I have gotten back into beaconeering session, I have focused on bouldering to get my strength back up, after too long sat in front of the computer type out my thesis. It seems that my base level of fitness is returning so I started doing so problem links, and now can link several hard problems by climbing continuously up and down the wall.
This bodes well for my bid to climb F8a, I should probably get out and try a few and see exactly where I need to focus my training, however the weather simply isn’t playing ball at the moment, so the wall will have to do. I am thinking of a doing a week of easy routes to boost my aerobic capacity, and give me a rest from the bouldering for strength and strength endurance training, although I am heading down to Bournemouth next week, so hopefully will get to Calshot climbing wall. If anyone reads this blog down there then please contact me if you are heading there as I quite fancy using this opportunity to climb on there high and longer routes.
Anyway i can’t wait for a slight improvement in the weather to get outside with my increasing fitness.
I spent yesterday editing my book “How to Climb Harder”, up to about page 40 now, I had to write a new section on the care and maintenance of gear, so rather than use my general knowledge I went over to DMM factory and got the information from the horses mouth. It was very interesting, and I will probably put this information up on my coaching blog in the next week or so if and when i find the time.
I did go out on a mini pub crawl of llanberis last night as well, we started off in the Heights, which was pretty dead, I can remember a time when any day of the week you go in there and see a handful of climbers. Now it seems to be devoid of any character, whether that is an effect of the recession or the longer term problem of Llanberis house prices forcing climbers to the hinterlands, who knows. We walk past the empty Padarn Lake Hotel, and onto The Gwynedd, which was empty other than the three of us. So much for going out for a social life!
The music was a right trip down memory lane, a 80’s playlist took us back to our youth, although the beer prices didn’t! We finished off walking back down the High Street to my true local the Prince of Wales. A truly aweful pub in terms of decoration, but the busiest in the village it seems, as there was a whole bunch of people in there.
Anyway I should share with you the worse song from the Gwynedd.
As you can see one well used and abused caravan for sale. You need to collect yourself, as it is still insitu by the lovely idillic Afon Peris in the Llanebris Pass. It has successfully doubled as a white water kayak, kite and not to mention caravan. As a kayak it is good up to grade three rapids, and needs winds in excess of 80 mph to operate as a kite.
£5000 ONO for this rare hybrid Cara-Kite-Kayak-O-van.
Well, on Saturday I headed up to Llangollen where Uni of Central Lancs, has a new state of the art outdoor centre set up for the delivery of one of the most practical outdoor degrees I have every seen or heard of. 1 week in every three the entire year spends a week at the residential centre putting a practical slant to the theories they learn in Preston. Having worked for Plas Y Brenin, the national mountaineering centre done an MSc alongside the Bangor sport science outdoor activity course, I can reliably say that this course from the packaging is the bomb when it comes to setting you up for working in the outdoor industry.
I felt priveledged to be invited onto the induction day for freelance staff, as those present truly were the creme of people I have worked with along with some who whilst I haven’t worked alongside them reputations went before them. If you are thinking of doing a degree based study that looks at outdoor activities then I would recommend you looking at this course.
I finally got round to celebrating handing in my thesis on saturday night this pretty much wrote off Sunday, although I did manage to get a bouldering session in that evening. I was back at the beacon at 9am route setting. Hanging off ropes all day is tiring, ackward and uncomfortable work. The route I set weren’t the best unfortunately, the section of wall i was setting on is pretty difficult to make nice flowing routes, I shall probably try and get there tomorrow and adjust some of the routes if someone hasn’t done so tonight.
Other than that I am trying to avoid utter despair at the weather.
Well, my first day of freedom was a slow one, managed to get up early enough to do some work on the book, current at page 33 of 195. I sent a mass text out to all the climbers in my phone hoping that there was someone who could come play in the quarries this afternoon. Unfortunately despite living in Llanberis the heart of North Wales rock climbing, there was no one who could come out to play, so start trawling the streets and shops for anyone with half a clue of how to hold a rope.
I eventually found Helena, one of the Centre Assistants from PYB, and we went up and she lead Last Tango in Paris on the Dervish Slab. She put in a Sterling performance and managed to climb the route clean, and then I decided to attempt a direct start via the slab to the left. What was good about the route was it was awesome thin climbing, what was bad was that there was just enough gear to make it possible, although only just.
I am not sure if I will go back and lead it, but if anyone is interested in climbing a new eliminate of the dervish slab then I give you the Strictly Cum Pole Dancing Project. Which goes something like this, climb Flashdance to the first good wire placement above the traverse of Last Tango… make a passadoble right and shimmy up the slab past one hard move. Keep going, past several potential skyhook placements, until just below the crux crack of Last Tango… where a you can American Smoothie right to the crack and finish with relief and the first decent gear up Last Tango. It is about E6 6b i’d imagine if you got on lead, maybe harder, as the potential to crater certainly looks on from the last hard move!
Well i finally finished my thesis, and managed to get it bound and handed in both electronically and in hard form yesterday. Within an hour my life felt hollow and empty. No more getting up to write more or check references, no more looking at SPSS printout with a half confused look, no more worrying. It is afterall too late now to worry. I just have to wait and see how i do, although I am pretty sure that a pass is definitely on the cards . I should find out by march whether I have a few new letters to put after my name!
I have been unableto bring myself to read the bound copy of my thesis, although it looks good, although thinner than many other thesis I have read. I guess either brevity, cheap paper or both may have contributed to that. If you are interested in sport psychology i will no doubt put a edited highlights of my research on my coaching blog, however as a teaser I offer you the title.
“The Interactive Effect of pre-imagery Activation States and Individual Differences on the Efficacy of Imagery on Bouldering Tasks”
I am already being asked if i am going to do a Phd by my friends, or what I am going to do next. Well I am already on it. i have 195 page PDF of my book to edit. So taking my time to look through that and planning to get out climbing at some point. Talking of which i must go and try and find someone to hit the slate with this afternoon, as it looks liek the rain is stopping and we might get a 2 hour window for climbing?
Found this great film of the amazing Catherine Destivelle, climbing in various places but focusing on some funny story about climbing the devils tower, whilst self belaying and then having to untie and solo out. Couldn’t tell you the actual story, as it is dubbed in Japanese? Chinese?