Sunday, 6 May 2007

My First....

...7a !! I have had the most awesome day today, at the Anvil; the best climbing day I've had...maybe ever. It's been a long day, I'm very tired, but still buzzing from near triumph. Sarah, Dave and I drove across this morning and walked the 4 miles from the road to the crag (I thought this is why I'd bought a bike!), to find the two other Daves working their projects. I swear they could wallpaper the ceiling using powers of levitation alone.

Dave Redpath making some interesting noises...

Concentration in the extreme! Dave Macleod on his 8somethingveryhard Project
(photo courtesy of Hotaches)

Sarah led Friendly Fire first, to get the rope up. It looked pretty scarily overhanging to me, and the first couple of moves were off little sharp quartz cystals, but there is a big pixie picnic ledge in the middle. So I top-roped it, three times in all, and with persuasive encouragment from all three Daves and Sarah, I had a shot at leading it. Despite some very long Zen moments on the pixie picnic ledge, I didn't get the redpoint clean. There are two cruxes, one just below the second bolt (which is clipped), and one apparently tenuous cross-through to a quartz vein above the fifth bolt (which isn't as hard as it looks). In fact both are fine and I did them both without any trouble. On my second attempt at the lead I did the first section clean, had some timeout with the pixies in the middle and then promptly fell off just two moves from the top! I just ran out of strength. Too much bouldering apparently...
Dave B on the first crux of Friendly Fire

Dave B stepping out right onto the top section. This was scary enough!

Timeout with the pixies...
(photo courtesy of Hotaches)

The Top Bit...where my stamina gave out.
(photo courtesy of Hotaches)

There are more pictures on the Hotaches blog and on Dave Macleod's blog.

Sarah also had a shot at Spitfire (now 8a+), which was very impressive. Dave B confirmed it was nails too. All very interesting to watch, especially with the first ascensionist on hand to advise! Oh, another first for me.... belaying with a Grigri!

Sarah on Spitfire (8a+)
(photo courtesy of Hotaches)

Dave B on Spitfire (8a+)

Sarah belaying Dave on Spitfire

Today was also a first for outdoor lead falls. Not big ones, thank goodness, but enough to make me feel ok about them. Jonni, if you're reading this, you'd be proud of me; I didn't squeal with fright...just with frustration!

Me and Dave Mac hangin' out!
(photo courtesy HotAches)

So, I can do all the moves quite comfortably. I just need a bit more stamina, and another attempt. While frustraing not to complete it in one day (given the two hour drive and the 4-mile walk!) I am much encouraged that this is clearly well within my capabilities. All this in spite of an injured rib, and no training for a week. I think Jules the Fizzy O would go nuts at me....

How's this for a place to climb...?

So much for leading 7a by Christmas; as Dave M said, "Christmas? 7a by 3 o'clock!"


Dave MacLeod said...

Very impressive to watch you on Friendly Fire Emma - your fingers are very strong! You have potential in your technique and finger strength to be climbing top end 7s right now - just need to tighten up on redpoint tactics, fear of falling and endurance.

We are going out next saturday if you are keen to get the send in the bag?!

Ian said...

I suspect that 'Dreamers fear is not of falling, but of the sudden stop at the end <chuckle />