Thursday, 22 May 2008

May Madness

May has been a bit mad, although I seem to have been busy and out climbing with amazing frequncy given everything else going on. This recent spell of good weather has inspired me to get on with some things, although I seem to be collecting projects and not ticks at the moment!

Early in May we had a Solomon Grundy weekend: Sport on Friday, Trad on Saturday, Bouldering on Sunday ( on Monday, unfortunately). Chasbo picked me up from work at a cheeky 4.45pm on Friday and we headed to North Berwick to meet Bong. Having the long, light evenings makes such a difference to morale...

Bong mid-dyno on Law of Gravity 7a

It was a bit nippy in the wind, and a bit humid, but we had a couple of good burns each on Law of Gravity, Bong doing the 7a and me (idiotically!) trying the 7a+ start, amongst the nettles and the broken glass. I was still top-roping, and still couldn't link all the moves, but it felt better second time, once I'd remembered how to climb on quarried basalt. We warmed up on the 6a+ in the far corner, which, like all the routes at North Berwick Law, is stupidly reachy for those of my slightly diminutive stature. Trying to find a way to reach through all the moves on Law of Gravity has taken a bit of time. I'm not a dynamic climber at the best of times, therefore I am never going to be persuaded that jumping for anything less than a huge jug, particularly on the lead, is a) possible and b) a good idea. I've now managed to do all the moves semi-static, which means I now have to try to lead it. One more project to add to the list.

On the Saturday we steeled our nerves for some trad. Face it, we have inadvertently turned into bouldering sport climbers. This wasn't really the plan; it just happened. One of those mornings when you wake up and realise that you're over 30 and you've got grey hairs and wrinkles.... ah, sorry, that's another story. Since both of us haven't done any trad for quite a long time, and have never done very much anyway, we opted for a 3 pitch moderate in Glen Clova. Ha, how hard can it be. We laced it with gear (in the name of "practice") and had a jolly nice time, thank you very much. Moderate? Not so sure. It actually turned into an epic route finding mission, since the people whoe write guidebooks don't believe in giving beginners any help with the easy lines. In fact I think we ended up tracing a random line which probably warranted V Diff at least. I landed the top pitch, which was exciting to say the least, with a fair bit of yo-yo-ing going on. Finding a belay at the top was also...challenging.

Threatening weather in Glen Clova

Having taken hours and hours and hours on our little adventure, we walked off just in time to run away from the lightening which suddenly came crashing down, hitting the top of the crag as we walked away from it. I wasn't sure whether it was the trad or the weather which scared me more!

One last comment about Glen Clova: I have never seen so many pheasants in one day. It could almost have been a pheasant dating convention!

On Sunday we went bouldering at Dumbarton. This was our first trip ever and one might say that it was a bit of a smack in the face. We knew that Dumbarton has a reputation for defeating some very cool people. As far as I can see, it deserves it's reputation! Admittedly, it was a warm sunny day, and the friction wasn't up to much. I have often been sceptical about the whole "conditions" issue, but it has an undeniable effect when climbing on basalt.

Cory on Requiem

While the rope was up there, we had a shot at Persistence of Vision. Another project..... Definitely harder than 7a in my opinion, but maybe I'm just not as strong as I was. Or maybe hanging out with strong Canadians just kicked me into touch! I probably deserved it. Persistence of Vision seems like something to come back to in cooler, less sweaty conditions.

Caroline at Dumby on a warm up something

Later in May we had a day on the Cobbler. It was too damp for climbing, but good for a walk. Caroline got home with her downies.....or some such nonsense - she's way too in with the kids for me to know what she's on about ;-)

Caroline and Lynwen at the top of the Cobbler - some awesome looking routes up there

Caroline trying to work out her downies homies finger thing

Another day at North Berwick saw me link Law of Gravity on a toprope. Given that it's a pretty stretchy route, I think it might be quite scary to lead. But I have to try at least. The chances of me falling are pretty much 100% and I hate falling. Ho hum.

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