Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Rebellion

Since I climbed 'Frustration'  E5 6a out past Glenfinnan back in Nov 2010 I've been wondering about doing a direct finish to the route ,straight up the slab! Today that eventually became a reality. We left the Fort at 7 this morn to get in before the rock got to warm and it worked out well. I've been on the route a few times since moving back up the other week and I knew it was time to get back on the serious sharp end if I want to climb E8 before my next operation.

Quick drink before an apprehensive first top rope attempt

The first time I top roped it today felt a bit iffy so I was having slight reservations but got on a second time and it felt as good as these things do. I knew on the route there were a few moves that I couldn't afford to make any mistakes, I suppose that's why it appealed to me. I decided the best course of action was to just go for it. I listened to 3 tunes on my ipod, got into my headspace, tied in and set off.

Just about to place the only gear on the route

I climbed up to where the E5 goes left, took a few seconds and committed to getting to the only gear placement as I knew I could bottle it there in relative safety. I placed the wire and the semi good cam, no need to think too much, this is all I want in life. Climbing up past the first crux felt great, better than on top rope, I've really missed that feeling of utter focus and commitment. The tiny holds are just enough for me to balance my way up, into fingertip hand holds and toe smears but it feels easy in comparison with what's ahead.

Just on the scary (for me) high crux, well above the gear.

I reach the real 'on/off' crux and move quickly so as not to let the fear build, right toe on a tiny smear, part of  left hand pushing down on a sloper I become totally enveloped by the climb. I reach slowly and carefully high with my right hand and get the small but positive hold.Not far to go, relax, for god sake hope my left hand doesn't sweat in the growing heat.

On the final 2 fingernail move

Reaching the last section I chillout and chalk up, pull up, switch feet on another smear using small hand holds, get the 2 finger nails on and go for the final hold, get it and feel totally alive.

Myself, Glenda and Dave after the ascent

Having a swift dram to celebrate. It was called 'Mt Everest Whisky' described as "A blend of Scottish Whisky and Nepalese alcohol" it was simply moonshine!! Great day, thanks to Glenda for the pics and Dave for the belaying.

The Rebellion-E6 6b, Glenfinnan. Climb as for Frustration, at first horizontal break head direct up the slab, gear in right crack, no further use of crack or anything to its right.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Moving Fast

Back out to the project today with Glenda and Dave to see if I could make any progress. I spent a while warming up while the guys top-roped the E5. I went on the route with a top rope and no expectations and managed to link it first try and also found a better way of doing the last (crux) move which is exciting and fast progress.

Glenda took this shot while I was on top rope

Trying to get purchase, the difficulty increased the minute the sun hit the rock

Glenda and Dave chilling out between attempts on our projects

It's strange that only a few hours ago it seemed like a bit of fun trying to link the moves etc but now it takes on a new meaning as I know it's do-able but it's absolutely terrifying. It's such a stunning line though, I didn't expect to be considering this level of commitment or risk so soon after returning to climbing but it's making me very happy and psyched.

Standing below the crag chilling out. I was there on my own for a bit contemplating the route and the only sound was the wind whistling over the top of the crag and at that moment there was nowhere else I'd rather have been, I really felt totally at home there.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Good Times

Another cracking few days in Fort William, maybe the Mayans were right and the world will end in 2012 as it's all gone upside down when it's nice here and the rest of the UK is being battered with storms.  Yesterday Dave and I headed up the Ben again to do Tower Ridge, the walk in was sweltering which led to proper mixed conditions higher up.

Approaching the Great Tower

Crossing the Eastern Traverse

Myself and Dave on the summit

Today Craig, G, Dave and myself headed up Glen Nevis with plans to send plenty routes, however with the heat we were all too knackered so ended up just doing some easy solos then went for a pint.

Myself and Dave at the top of The Gutter

Not a bad way or place to end the day