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All hell breaks loose in the Peak

21 Jul 2008

My project at Rubicon has become tidal and the approach tree for Body Machine (maybe the best sport route in the Peak??) at Ravens Tor has mysteriously been chopped down.  I see from the thread at UKclimbing that there may be a price on the head of the culprits.  Unbelievably out of order.  Thank goodness I've done the route.

Anyway, back to the rising lake issue affecting access to my project Caviar.  After a text alerting us to the problem on Saturday, we made a quick change of plan to Cheedale.  But the river was so high I didn't dare cross it to get to Two Tier.  Below is a picture of Ben who made it over - Nic took the photo - but my stick clip was swept away.  This led me to spend the day at the Embankment climbing with Nick and Debbie from Wolverhampton.  The day however was not lost as I managed Stone the Loach (7c) on my 3rd go up the rope.  It would have been 2nd if I'd remembered the right hand and foot order.  Not bad in a day and especially as that was practically the only dry route at Embankment.

Cheedale epics

Nic and I were back again at Cheedale today.  Rescuing is my big weakness area at the moment for the MIA.  After a stressful practice at Chatsworth yesterday, today I decided to rescue Nic from an abseil.  The scenario:  Nic is descending the rope and his hair has caught in the abseil device (Nic did once have long hair).  I am on the ground; I need to get up to him, free him up and descend with him on my abseil device.  Not easy and after 2 attempts I almost did it - more practice necessary.

Competition incompetence

14 Jul 2008

My goal for Cliffhanger was to get into the final.  Competing in the final means you get more out of your entry fee, some spectacularly designed problems and if you're serious about it, a chance of winning.  I did achieve my goal, but it was a nerveracking affair, which I didn't really enjoy.  Its my first national comp in 3 years and I knew I was out of comp practice but I thought that more effective muscles might get me through.  Qualification rounds always are stressful, but I was supposed to be just entering for fun.  It didn't feel like fun.

Nic very kindly videoed me on my efforts in the final.  As one friend put it, 'it wasn't my finest moment'.  Watching back it certainly wasn't.  From problem 2 (which I should have done with some clearer thinking) onwards my head disappeared into a cloud of fog and I just lost track of what I was doing.  I just couldn't clearly make out what to do from the ground and climbed just hoping it would turn out ok.  Obviously it didn't.  I seemed to be having way too many attempts and every time landing back on the mat in a strange floppy doll style.  Mmmn... Nic says that what I always do when I'm bouldering - all news to me.  In comparison the top 4 women, Mina, Leah, Diane and Audrey seemed to be pillars of calm, style and elegance.  Audrey won with an awesome display of tenacity and skill.  I finished up 5th, which actually was ok and I won 50 quid.  What I hadn't appreciated were the specific comp skills you need, that I once posessed.  The level, especially in the men, is so high now that you have to be very fine-tuned.  Like onsight trad climbing or gritstone slabs - if you don't do it for a while you really lose it.

Back to reality... off to North Wales today for more practice - a mother and daughter team from Cheshire.  And in about 10 minutes Nic and I are booking some flights to my favorite destination... Australia for the autumn.

I must like pressure

11 Jul 2008

So with an MIA assessment looming in just 4 weeks time, I just seem to be adding more and more unnecessaryily pressurised things into my life, and have no way of stopping myself.  I can't get away from the fact that I must thrive on pressure and being busy.  On Wednesday afternoon I found myself posting my entry form through the post box for Sunday's British Bouldering Competition.  Its so the wrong thing to do.  My knee is knackered from all the scrambling, my wedding ring finger is constantly swollen (although that's nothing new - its been like that for over 6 months) and I've barely climbed indoors for ages.  There are all my excuses laid out nicely.

Whilst I have a serious love-hate relationship with comps I just think that I'll regret not taking part in what is shaping up to be a really exciting event.  I just don't like to miss out on things.

But there is one other thing I can't avoid - I seem to be climbing very well.  After climbing Why Me, a desperate 7c in Cheedale which I've struggled on for years (basically you have to be climbing about 8a to do it), I took it as a sign and decided to get on Caviar, 8a+, a vicous number at Rubicon.  Once again, why am I on that route?  Probably because my over-enthusiastic friend Rob suggested I join him on his endeavour.  Its stupid, but I am making steady progress and above all I'm enjoying it. 

Let's see what happens on Sunday...