Vivian: Failing and Flailing

Well I had another day out climbing, as the weather is just so good at the moment. Today was Vivian, after a usual warm up on Psychotherapy (If I had a £1 for every time I climbed this route, I might have enough to pay to park in the Slate Museum Car Park), we then went round the corner to Weetabix Connection area.

Weetabix connection is a funny route, given F6c, it feels like E4 to lead onsight, yet about F6b to redpoint. So I put the clips in with some extension on some so you could clip the bolt before you did the crux rather than from half way through it. I then let Si have a go, he got it second go after his foot popped of a hold.

I then went back up the route and lower down Two Bolts or Not to Be, a great F7b, that I have fallen off before. Well if I am honest I jumped off after I had done all the hard moves, and was about to rockover onto the slab, and got scare. Today, I tried to work the moves out and managed all but one on a rope with some old climbing boots on. The crux is a very long way for me, although be short helps step up onto very high holds.

The move is a big reach for a inch deep shot-hole, that I managed to scare on a couple of occassions today, but not actually reach. So I left and went to the climbing wall for some extra training. After the last two days, there are parts of my body that are hurting that haven’t done so for a while.

In the words of Stevie Haston I need to ‘Training More, Try Harder and Eat less’, although kebab and chips for tea with a Foster’s chaser isn’t going to help that much!

I am hoping to book a boat for Thursday to take some crag shots for the RockFax guidebook, around Gogarth. Just me on the boat at the moment, hopefully the weather holds.

Some Funny US based Rescues

I have seen a few reports out in the US about various rescues that have happened recently, the wonders of twitter. First up is a man who having been inspire by 127 Hours the epic film about Aron Ralston misadventure being trapped by his arm in a canyon, decided to head out into the same remote area of Utah.

The man fell and dislocated his shoulder, and after five minutes managed to relocate his shoulder before he got up to walk on only to find his ankle was broken. He then crawl for four days until he was rescued. The irony is of course that Aron told no one where he was going, so was pretty much on his own. Despite being inspired by the same story Wayne Richards had told no one where he was going either.

There are also two reports from the hip university town of Boulder, Colorado. Two groups of students on the same night in different areas requires a rescue after there drug taking went wrong. One was found with cuts’ and bruises 100yards from a track, and admitted to take LSD. The others were found at the top of the descent gully to the 1st and 2nd Flat Iron’s, having freaked out after consuming too much Marijuana.

Anyway, just thought I’d share these stories, the first one I think is very funny!

Diamond Daze: Flailing and Failing

The small dot of flesh at the top is Tommy close to finally redpointing his project on the Diamond

Whenever I have been down at LPT I have spent at least some time looking behind me at the distant and seemingly inaccessible Little Orme. Glistening in the distance like, well a diamond. It had been seemingly out of reach. That was until today, when time, tides and manpower came into alignment and a small team of hopefuls headed down into this other world of impossible looking steepness.

On the descent I had wanted an ice axe and crampons as trainers slipped on the wet clay soil. Like dancing on a banana skins at the top of a terminal drop; I was one all fours much to Nick’s amusement who was shouting for a camera to capture my bambina like struggle across the terrain he was walking over! I put it down to his Mammut approach shoes, versus a pair of cheap Addidas trail shoes.

Once on the fixed lines it is like a never-ending crab crawl across some impressive terrain. Some of this ‘Via Ferrata’ was fairly tricky, and some of the changeovers felt pretty burly with a large sack full of rope, and I felt like I had climbed a F6b by the end of it. Not good as that about my leading grade at the moment.

On the beach I collapse for ten minutes taking in the ‘impressive’ terrain, and wondering just how I was going to get off the ground. The F7a at the far left was damp, some Simon and I went for a F7b instead. To say it was steep was something of an understatement, as the ropes seemed to go across more than they went up.

First go I fluffed every clip, second go was better, but still fluffed the crux, third go I got to the crux, and realized that there was a problem with my sequence, in that on the link I couldn’t do the move the way I had practiced! I took some good air, managed to work it out, and I think the route will go. I just need to remember that 2nd redpoint is better for me, than the 3rd!

We escaped out along the beach, as I had the fear that if I tried the route one more time I might just be too exhausted to haul myself back up the F6b fixed lines.

The diamond is an awesome place, not a place for big softies like me, although I will be back ASAP. I also saw Tommy redpoint his project, F8a or 8a+. He looked steady on it, and despite some of the holds being not so much damp but wet, he cruised up it in very good style. I will get some photos up when I put them on the computor!

Anyway, made a change to try redpointing, as I am poor at this, but if I ever want to crank out a hard sport route them I am going to have to start loving the failure, and embracing the flail.

Tommy redpoint his new route at The Diamond - seriously steep and sustained!
Big Tim on Boat People - one of the finest F7c anywhere!
More of Tommy redpointing his project.
Three intrepid Diamond climbers

Llandulas Cave

Yesterday morning, I managed to not set my alarm for 8am, so was woken at 9am, by llion, who was keen for some climbing. So we headed straight out, me fuelled by a single small bowl of museli and more importantly no coffee. As we approached Llion mentioned that he hadn’t been there since a good friend of ours developed a certain nickname.

It was Llion’s first trip up from aberyswyth, where he was at Uni, with a young Matt Perrier. After living in a cave for the weekend, Matt has forever been known to us all as Ug, so for all his friends who may have thought that the name came from the fact that matt simply is a walking muscle, can rest assured that it was in part due to a cave dwelling weekend.

As I climbed the first route, and half way, having a hard time and obviously not enjoying myself, I have a hate-hate relationship with Limestone. I turn down to Llion, and simply ask with a wry smile. ‘Hey Llion, you eveer wonder why you haven’t been back since the mid 1990’s?

Anyway, as we ticked some more routes we actually managed to find some that were nice, including The Man with the Inidian Rubber Head, The Udder Head, all F6a. We then did the F6b which was called something like Radalrwin, which was an excellent route, and one of the best easy routes there.

I then remembered that there was a F6a in the back of the main cave, that climbs rather atmospheric terrain, up out of what was essentialy a blow hole type feature. It was a good and unconventional F6a, and to be honest rather soft. When there I saw Adolescent Stimuli, a F6b or F6a+ dependent on what guide.

That route was totally different from a lot of North Wales Limestone, as it was mainly based on tufa climbing, a rare event hereabouts, it would be worth 3 stars if it was a little longer, but it is a class route.

After that we climbed a few routes on the left side of the crag. Good day considering I was climbing badly, and half asleep for most of the day!

National Library of Wales

I recieved a great email last night, that reminded that I am a published author. The National Library of wales was looking for extra bibliography information on me to go along with the records they have for ‘How To Climb Harder’. Pretty incredible really, for a climber, who dare I say it nearly failed english at GCSE.

I was very lucky to have parents that cared, and got me extra tuition from our then next door neighbour, and old school teacher who spent a long time helping reach a reasonable level in english. I know readers of this blog might occassionally disagree, but thats more me rushing and forgeting to spell check things.

Anyway I have started work on a Gogarth chapter for RockFax in the last couple of days,

Rope Rescue for PYB

Well after a few days work last week on an ML assessment I was up at the Brenin directing a Trouble Shooting Techniques COurse, that looks at the basics of self rescue, and avoiding common mistakes. As well as having to deliver this course, I also had to juggle this with local BMC area Chair and Journalist Tom Hutton, who was writing an article on the course.

I forgot that I have met Tom on a few occassions, although not at BMC meetings recently, as to be honest after representing Wales on the National Council I feel I need a few years off the politics of climbing, and concentrate on just climbing. The first time I met Tom was on South Gully a couple of winters ago, we were part of a very long queue. Tom was climbing with a friend of my little brother Rufus, who’d been in a band with him. Tom’s partner is Rufus brother, or some other family connection, so it was quite funny seeing how small the world is.

Anyway chumming aside, I hope that the course went well, and we managed to fill the group up with information, although by 3pm on Sunday we hit the full point. A good weekend, and some challenging work although having done my PDF of rope rescue skills recently, meant that at least I had a plan!

ML Assessment

Well, I have had a busy four days working for Andy Newton on an ML Assessment for the Christian Mountain Centre based down near Harlech. Having never ventured south of the OL17 Ordinate Survey map of Northern Snowdonia, I have to say that the area when we drove through it look lovely, and much quieter than the Snowdon Area. There were even a few crags that I might pay a visit to.

I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday on the Moelwyns trying to avoid the high winds brought by Hurricane Katia, which we succeeded in. I even managed to get onto OL18, and explore the area around Creoso and Rosyth Slate mines. Its a great area for combining walking with a bit of industrial archiology. The group did well over the three days, showin gthat they can survive over and extended period in the hills, as well as navigate and manage a group in such terrain.

Today I was in Ogwen doing the Mountain Day, and the pair I was with managed to get me safely up Seniors and Down Y Gribin. We even threw in a littel ropework. I was looking forward to a few days off, but I am back to the grind stone on Saturday with a trouble shooting techniques course for Plas Y brenin at the weekend.

How Close is Too Close?

I saw this posted on a friends facebook. I have to say that as proximity wingsuit flying goes, the is perhaps the closest I have ever seen. If the general theme is to go closer and closer then surely someone is eventually going to touch down, and nail themselves. So do they win the ‘proximity’ catogory. If you remember the last video like this I posted then this guy somehow managed to get even closer.