Thursday, 22 October 2009

Hooked on Classics

Elgar's Bell Jar's - E4 6b with handy tree runner

The days are shortening and once more it has reached climbing wall evenings time of year. Bouldering will soon become the main focus again but for now the weather is still warm enough for routes and I intend to drag out the route season as far as I can. This summer has been a time for magnificent traditional climbing, mostly of a local flavour. It’s been a while since the last blogging and in that time I’ve done loads of classic, amazing routes, some of great personal significance. This has felt like a liberating experience. Regardless of how good some UK sport routes are they are concentrated on a small number of crags and I think perhaps I had got bored with the whole repetitive redpoint process on the same old crags. And of course numerous years seeking out the best sport routes has inevitably led to diminishing returns in terms of quality objectives. Suddenly having multiple guidebooks worth of quality routes at numerous crags to go at is a real breath of fresh air and has kept me constantly motivated despite the annoying ongoing wrist injury. So much variety of rock and movement. The whole intricate of protection game. The mental toing and froing of the bold and the cerebral and physical challenge of the safe and hard. It has also been a liberation from ego. Finally soloing Downhill Racer after years of avoidance will never sound as impressive as doing an 8b even if the 8b might only represents a couple of weeks intense effort, whilst DR has been a goal and a nemesis since the age of 16 and the reward is purely personal. Here are a few standouts from a lot of recent climbing:
Downhill Racer, Oedipus – Two long time nemeses done on the same day. Stepping off the ground was indeed the crux on DR and one that took years to execute.
Gigglin’ Crack, Left wall – A great day out at Brimham with the Rocketman. Extreme chicken winging on Gigglin’ and my first proper tricky offwidth. A good consulation prize for not being able to get my dupuytrens kinked hand into the first jam on Ray’s Roof.
Death Knell, Up the Swanee – A couple of the Roaches finest not so well travelled routes. The former a perfect solo which felt a joy once commited, the later done by mistake thinking I was on The Swan!
Elgar’s Bell Jars – A new route at Stanton-in-the-Woods. A couple of perfect moves on very shapely slopers.
Good Clean Fun – Just as the name suggests. Nice landing, pristine rock and each move easier than the last.
Space Shuffle – Not so clean but just as fun. Made a complete meal of it but got there in the end. Great to do anything vaguely tricky at the foreboding bastion that is Wimberry and good to see Miles and Ben in action.