Sunday, 24 August 2008

More project blues

Here we go again! I find a project of sufficient girth to absorb the mighty weight of my psyche... and then it rains... and rains... and rains.
I figured that I'd lain my towel down on a perma-dry bit of rock (bar the fairly easy start), but no, visits on Thurs and Sat revealed ever advancing wet patches thrusting in from every angle. It seems I'll have to put the project to the back of the mind tank for a least a week and probably more if the summer continues as it has been. Rotten dog-egg!
So what to do instead? Other than finishing off the Sissy of an evening I really don't know. Hmmmmm.

Love Amongst the Butterflies - before the rains came. Pic courtesy of Ryan Edwards

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Fear the radj

If you should go to Rajasthan, you’re sure to meet the radjy man.

His fist of radj held to the sky and from his lips a radjy cry.

A radjy face with radjy cheeks, he’ll peck your eyes with radjy beaks

Of crows he carries in his sack, upon his red and radjy back

All bent and twisted from the weight, of radj, and piss, and rabid hate

For all you men and beasts and birds who’ll chance to hear his bitter words

That spit out from his radjy craw to fall and land on dusty floor

Then crawl to slip out through the door, and poison ears forevermore,

Will know you’ve met the radjy man and turn to flee from Rajasthan

But being blind from pecking beak will fail to find the door you seek

For bitter words with cruel intent have sealled the way off as they went

And trapped inside the Radj’s den, with bones of four and twenty men

You’ll rue the day you made a plan to see the radj of Rajasthan

Monday, 18 August 2008

Big bites! Too much to chew?

Buoyed up by last weeks success on Unleashing the Wild Physique I headed back to the Cornice on Saturday with south peak sport climbing legend Jon Clark. Initial intentions of going back on Ouijaboard were thwarted by fresh seepage so after a good warm-up I was casting around for a new target. Faced with the choice of cleaning up a line or going on an already cleaned and chalked one I opted to have a play on Love Amongst the Butterflies, which was already in good nick after Jon’s recent ascent and reliably dry unlike most of the other options. With the help of some much needed beta I had the moves figured by the end of the session and am pretty keen to get back on it. Funny how this route is not more popular really given that it’s an ever-dry, three star 8b, with long continuous but never desperate climbing on good rock with lots of bolts. I guess the vertical/technical nature, the long (compared to the Tor/Rubicon) walk-in and the element of un-known quanity serve to keep people away. Personally I’d always assumed it was very reachy which is not so, although there are a couple of sections where a few more inches would make life a bit easier.
Whilst lowering off at the end of the day I noticed a big juggy looking slot in the wall between RnP and LAtB. Further inspection seemed to suggest potential for a new line between the two routes, essentially a direct start to LAtB.
Come Sunday and my fingers were feeling pretty tired from the years first play on an 8b and I figured any attempt at climbing would be fairly lacklustre. With nothing better to do I headed back to the Cornice to scope out the potential new line properly. Bumped into Jon again who was down with his dad Pete working on Kristian’s new 8b+ called 32, which was just about dry enough for him to try the crux section. I stick-clipped and jugged halfway up LAtB to get a rope down the project and set about having a closer look. The slot once cleared of mud was indeed a very good hold and looked to be accessible by breaking right after the first bolt on RnP. Above the slot was a distant set of undercuts then a blank looking section leading into LAtB just after its rest i.e just when the hard climbing kicks in. More investigation revealed one good layaway and one poor layaway on the black section. A quick brush and I could hang the positions and decided it looked feasible enough to warrant bolting up. The rest of the day was spent putting in three bolts and cleaning up the line. The big undercuts turn out to be mostly a collection of disposable slats, stabilisation of the whole lot seemed impossible and in the end most of it ended up on the floor with only the a small solid section remaining which I then backed up with resin. The final verdict? Well it’s all definitely doable but it’s going to be hard, harder than anything I’ve climbed before, but looks like great climbing and worth putting some time and effort into.
So one semi-worked 8b and a possibly 8b+ project on the go, I’ve got my work cut out there then!! Is it too much to ask for the rest of the season – probably? Oh well it should be fun finding out.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


The project, which was initially dubbed Cake Of Power (the root meaning of chav-jar the original name for Caviar), then Cavi’arder or Caviar d’est, finally came to rest as Beluga, a classier, less flippant name which complements and balances with the other new Caviar variant Barracuda I think. Since doing it on Sat 02-08-08 it has had three more ascents, from the Harris, Roy and Ted, all with a different sequences but all going along with the 8a+ and quality assessment. This is just about the most repeats any of my routes has had, except for the lovely Midgard Serpent at Thor’s Cave. Quite mad really given it’s only a few days old and also probably my hardest new route (though I reckon Pistol Finger might well be 8a+ too, as does the only other ascentionist Jon Clark)! It’s a shame LTQ and Thor’s cave aren’t so close to Sheff, it’d be nice to get more feedback on Escape to Valhalla (I rate this as my best new route and as good or better than all the other peak 7c+s), Spear Of Odin, Mosey on Down The Crow Road etc. I do love new routing. It’s a lot of work and probably not the most beneficial thing for fitness but it is a mighty fun process. I have a few ideas for new/redeveloped things in the pipeline…