Sunday, 7 June 2009


Home alone Saturday night so was flicking through photographs of various climbing trips. I couldn't resist publishing these ones. They will only be funny for those who were there (and maybe even then only after a couple of glasses of wine!), but there you go. I write this blog as much to amuse myself as anyone else!

Friday, 5 June 2009


No matter how many additional hours I do at work, it always feels like a treat to leave early, especially when the weather turns in my favour just at the right moment.

Martin agreed to pick me up at 4pm so I was anxiously watching the clouds all day. Between the time I left my desk and the time I reached the front of the building, the sun came out and there was blue sky! We headed out to North Berwick Law, where I still had my project, Law of Gravity, to go at. Martin has said on many occasions that he used to do reps on this route by way of training, so I reckoned that I might learn a thing or two from him.

Although it was still sunny when we got there, it chilled off pretty quickly by the time we'd warmed up. Martin went up and put the clips in, seemingly cruising the long reaches and waltzing past the finishing moves which I find so precarious. Even the crimpy start to the 7a+ version is considerably easier than the top 3 moves.

When he had reached the top, he lowered down to the highest big ledge (the one on the left that you stand on in order to reach the two undercuts for the top move). Then I said, can you see the tiny hole in the wall by your left knee? The response to this was "yes, but I don't fancy it for my foot". That's what I have to use for my left foot, because I can't reach the right hand sidepull/undercut.

I went up bolt to bolt next, and showed Martin my non-lank version at the top. I'm not sure whether I felt a sense of trepidation or vindication at his proclamation that clearly these moves are much harder for me than they are for him.

The next bit is for those of you who know this route well. If you don't, apologies, this bit is geeky and boring!

Here is a bit of a fuzzy image showing where my hands and feet go in order to reach the top. It's a bit too zoomed in to be clear. This is definitely the crux for me. I put my right foot on the big ledge(RF1) and lay back (as much as I can, given the hold is level with my face) off the big hole with my left hand (LH). With my right hand on the low ledge (RH) I have to out on my left toe in that tiny hole (LF) and pull my right foot up onto a tiny smeary chip (RF2)and then slap with painful precision for the top hold which everyone else uses as an undercut (RH2). If I catch it wrong, I'm off. After that, it's a simple step up and through with the left foot and reach for the top edge.

Pulling faces at the prospect of the crux on another previous redpoint (September 08)

So first time, all the moves felt very reachy, unusually so, so I shook out for ages at every opportunity (while Martin chilled off below! What a saint! Thanks Martin). I was surprised to find myself facing the top crux, never mind finding the energy to do it! I faffed around, started the move, backed off, started again, backed off again, feeling that my left foot and left hand were both very precarious. When I did go for it, I didn't catch the right hand properly, and gravity took over. I have to say, that would have been a good day if I'd left it there. It was a new high point.

A previous redpoint in September last year

But having a long rest, some magic dried fruit stuff that Martin offered me, a bit of a run around and I found myself in the same place on the second redpoint. Cool! I was in danger of repeating the faffing, but all the previous moves had felt easier this time: less reachy, less effort generally. Having tried to rush the crux moves to start with, I composed myself and tried again only to slip and scrabble to a recovery, hanging on only by fingertips and willpower! Phew. That was close!! A bit more composure and I just went for it, remembering that I didn't want to have to do the whole lot yet again!

Whoops of glee echoed round the small quarry, and fortunately only Martin to hear them. With hindsight probably a bit embarrassing to have made so much noise about a route that people used to lap, but it was something of an achievment for me, and after all, we climb for nobody but ourselves. A lovely evening, and some success to boot. It's nice to feel good on a route given my recent bout of apathy, nonchalence and gloom. Maybe this is the start of my climbing rehabilitation? Here's hoping....