Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Salvage Operation

It's been a sleepless week. I'd been building up to getting on Pallor E7/8 6b again so on Saturday morning Conor, Cameron, Luis and myself headed up the steep hill to the crag. Too warm to think about a lead I simply practised moves and got a good dose of sunburn.

Typical scene on Saturday, Conor, Cameron and Luis chilling out

With no belayers I'd trust on such a route free on Sunday I had to spend a nervous day waiting to head up the next morning with Dave , Sean and Steve. A 4.30am start saw us up there in cool conditions. I did the route no bother first go on top rope then second go I just went to bits and my focus wouldn't play ball at all. I guess I've been out of practice from the mind control necessary for this kind of thing for a while now and need to play the game more to retrain my brain.

Attempting Pallor, stunning but dangerous climbing

Realising it wouldn't happen without some serious mental prep and some easier but still bold routes in the bag I decided to check out the upper part of Caldera. I abbed a line that didn't really need any cleaning, found some very marginal gear about a third of the way up the slab and decided to go for it. Steve belayed as Sean took pics and I set off over the initial thin traverse, I duffed the sequence a bit but sorted it no problem and climbed to the gear break where I dropped a runner, not ideal but dealt with calmly which was good for my head. The rest of the route went smoothly and was really enjoyable. 

 On first ascent of Arrakis Taught, E3/4 5c

I called the route 'Arrakis Taught' after a bit in Mark Twights book described a part in a novel, Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Sean and Steve before making the descent

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


I was back at the project today to try find a way past the utterly blank lower section.I rigged myself to my shunt and I made some moves that may be linkable to the real guts of the climbing. I may be able to place a skyhook midway on the runout section but I'd need to carry it in my teeth already clipped to the rope then bump it into place with my chin,hmmmm!! I hit the upper crux at the last few feet of the route where a deck out and serious injury (at least) is inevitable and spent a while battling trying to find any purchase for my left hand, nothing. I smeared it onto a 'hold' and pulled up and my feet both went into spasms of agonising pain, enough that I fell off, not what you want on this route! I let frustration get the better of me and started swearing at myself, who knows what the Steall falls tourists thought of me. I lowered off in too much pain to continue pissed off with my disabilities/injuries. Hobbling back to the car I felt like just giving up but I know that wont happen.

Cant be pissed off with views like this

Not happy at myself  getting frustrated with my hand for the first time in years and considering quitting I came home and beasted myself training on the bike and a few hundred sit ups to punish myself for being so weak!