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One week on

26 Aug 2008

On Saturday morning I woke and I was tired.  Finally all this MIA stuff has hit me.  On Thursday I travelled down to London to do a BMC Fundamentals at Amersham wall - the train journey back on Friday seemed to take forever.

You might think me lazy but this bank holiday I watched alot of Olympics and did very little.  You might think me crazy but on Sunday, despite great weather I went to the wall.  I have had my fill of the countryside recently and not using my brain pulling on some orange holds was great fun.

Yesterday however I was suitably psyched to get back on Caviar, but despite extensive efforts I couldn't find anyone else similarly inclined.  I didn't have a car this weekend so Vic and Joe dropped me off at Rubicon and I hoped to find someone there.  It was empty. It seems the weather has had its way again and whilst most of its fine, the bit under Caviar is still rather flooded.

Disappointed, I trudged the muddy path over to Raven Tor, which was swarming!  Lacking any ideas of what do to with myself I mingled in and started pulling on some holds.  Rather surprisingly I managed a 7c boulder problem, a direct on Weedkiller traverse on about my 4th or 5th go.  You can see a video >>here.  Vic was really happy as she did the same problem, her first font 7c.  She's put in a lot of effort and training this year, but then pulled a finger, recoverd and finally all her work has paid off yesterday.  Well done to Vic.

I've just written up my experiences on the MIA assessment, which you might be interested to read >>here.  Interestingly I reflect along the way about how I much I've been looking forward to pulling on some small dry holds.  I guess I did that yesterday.  I'm so desperate to get on Caviar though - I hope I can soon.

MIA success but an emotional journey

16 Aug 2008

I passed!  What a week - and what a process being assessed in the thing you 'do'.  On the first morning I had to find a VS at Tremadog; never before has such a task been so stressful.  Suffice to say I found Merlin...  The week continued and the days dropped by: Tuesday's rescues weren't actually as bad I thought they might be; Wednesday's teaching went well but with my poor timekeeping, a stuck rope and piece of gear I doubted myself, but by the end of the day I felt myself relax; Thursday's short roping went ok, but with a few mistakes on the way my mind took off on a journey though exhaustion, doubt and utter dread of the final day.  I could barely face it.  When I woke on Friday I just decided that if I failed navigation my life would of course continue.  I simply had to keep going.  At one point I was pleading with the ground for a water course to appear - it didn't, it had dried up.  Resigned to the fact that failure could happen I trudged on and eventually found my ring contour.

A big thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point, especially all the practice guinea pigs.

So I have now entered the post MIA phase of my life.  One day into it, I woke early as I have done all week, but without that bolt upright dreaded realisation of still being at Plas y Brenin.  Contented, relaxed lounging around is on the cards this weekend.  I will write up something more on the epic week in the next few days.

The final countdown

06 Aug 2008

So now there is no turning back - my assessment is next Monday.  2 years and 2 months ago I embarked on the Mountain Leader Award.  Finally I'm here ahead of the 'big 5 days'.  Fortunately I have all of this week set aside for final preparations.  On Monday I took desperate measures and employed James Thacker, a clear thinking and experienced instructor to help me with my non-mechanical brain.  The rescue side of things is not where my natural abilities lie.  But James worked hard to set me some scenarios and Nic did a good job of pretending his shoulder was dislocated, that rocks had hit him rendering him unconcious and that he was really struggling and too tired to do a VS.  Love is...

Today I meandered my way around Bleaklow to touch up on my navigation skills.  The problem is the weather was a bit too good.  No doubt it will be hurricane in North Wales when it comes to the assessment day.  Also my legs suffered somewhat - what happened to that fitness?

Bleaklow, Peak District

Generally however I feel quite relaxed - and funnily enough my 6 days last week in the Forest of Dean working on a youth leadership programme took my mind off things.  Even though I was working from 8am to 12pm every day it was a thoroughly rewarding experience.  The week resulted in emotional goodbyes from a great group of people, who's eyes had been opened to a whole world of new possibilities.

Youth Leadership

So what has happened to my climbing?  Not a lot!  Caviar (8a+) is still there in the background - I've had 5 sessions on it now over the last 6 weeks; spread over too long a time, but I don't have a choice at the moment.  Last Monday I had a RP effort and did really ok, touching hold 11 out of the crucial 15, but it was way too hot and I greased off.  I'll have another try this week - the forecast looks cooler.  Its something to divert my mind if nothing else.

Am I ready?  I have put so much time and effort into this.  I am a believer in effort equals results.  Whilst you can always do more practice, the end has to arrive at some point.  So I guess the next time I blog, I will know my fate.