Monday, 3 August 2009

Sheep Sh* Shoes

Determined to get out last Saturday, somehow, someway and with someone, Penny and I left Edinburgh at 13.00 hours and scooted south to Hepburn. Penny had never been before, so I felt like the relative expert (ha ha). In short, I knew where the boulders were, how to get there and that the grades can be a bit random.

Predictably, there was nobody else climbing there. The bracken had shot up since I was last at Hepburn in June. The midges were out, but bearable, and most importantly the rock was dry in spite of a week of monsoon conditions. Yet again I forgot to take my big brush for cleaning things that haven't been cleaned in a while, but since we ended up doing the rounds of several problems I've done before, I don't suppose it mattered very much.

My disappointment in writing this is that the problems at Hepburn don't seem to have any cool names. Or am I missing something? I thought half the fun of climbing and bouldering was that what you did had a name. I can't wait for the day when I can say "yeah, I did Monty Pythons last week" (well, I can dream....!) but saying "yeah I did that roof problem on the roof boulder at Hepburn on Saturday" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. OK, so the right hand roof problem on the roof boulder isn't 7a+, but even so, you get my drift.

Penny on the "warm up" (!) 6b slab

Anyway, I was pretty chuffed with the RH roof problem at 6b. Quite a contrast to the slabby 6b on the warm up wall that I have tried and failed on every previous visit. For some reason, today was the day. A few precarious wobbles up the slab, furiously gripping the slightly sweaty crimpy sidepull, and the next thing I knew my heavy posterior felt quite comfortably balanced over my left foot, while I managed to squeeze one and a half fingertips into the mono above my head. A short step through with my right and a very quick pop, and the top was in my hands! What a surprise!! It was probably a good thing that nobod but Penny and the sheep were there to hear my squeals of delight. I should probably have been locked up for breach of the peace.

The final pop on the 6b slab

So, further surprise to do the roof problem too. The two problems could not be more different. Penny worked out how to start the problem and found the magic little foothold tucked way under the edge of the roof. The problem for us was that slapping for the nose meant that both feet were coming off. One is then left hanging with the prospect of campusing the next 2 moves at least. Some girls are good at campusing. I'm not one of them. So then we found a heel hook. It wasn't very good, and looked pretty worn, so we tried to be careful not to scrape any more off it. It worked though, so we were able to keep at least one foot on while effectively at full stretch horizontally. Another big slap to bring the right hand in and the left hand to join it, left only the reach back to a good lip, a crazy high foot and a hefty rock over to top out. Magic. It took a bit of piecing together, but it was worth the effort for the satisfaction. I hadn't even bothered to try this one previously, thinking it was far too hard. Mind over matter has never seemed quite so pertinent.

Psyching up to slap for the nose... RH roof problem

Having lost a lot of skin from all that slapping, we cruised home. I got to work on Monday and realised that the funny smell was coming from the Hepburn sheep poo on my shoes. So these weren't my work shoes after all....