Saturday, 26 March 2011

A lot of pottering

Since the Roaches day out i managed to get out on tuesday and wednesday to stanage and curbar racking up another 30 odd routes (all Lead or soloed) Great couple of days out.

Stanage started lateish at 1130 with a lift from Bamf to stanage popular, the soloing started in earnest as we needed to get at least 20 routes done for Marks birthday. Notching up 15 routes we then decided to stick on a rope for harder routes that were beyond our soloing abilities. First for the keen kids was Hardings Direct off Robin hoods cave innominate. Really good route combining two 3* routes. Next came Tower Face Direct (another on my list) which fell easily as i had it in my head that i was going to get it done so i didnt give up an focused properly! Then we moved back along the crag to meet up with Matt and Sam, still soloing we ticked another 5 routes until we got to the tippler buttress. Mark was adamant on having a crack at the direct as its on his list for 2011. I was cool to belay and matt took up camera shots. Mark had a good few goes at the route lowering to the ground and pulling the ropes each time, and every time taking a nice fall as well. But as the light started to fade we retreated home happy with our collection of 23 routes (18 of which i hadnt done before).

Photo: Mark gurning before lurching for the next hold and taking flight

The next day with a lunch time lift out to curbar offered me and Mark dragged ourselves to Matts house to get into Fattys car and trundle out to the crag. Feeling slightly worse for wear but keen we headed to the Barons wall area, ticking a few VS' and HVS' (hard for the grade!) and then qucikly getting on the E1 Lamebrain, a definate classic E1 that seems barely climbed purely because of the stars i nthe guidebook, or lack of. Also a rareity in that its quite soft touch. Soon We headed over to the L'Horla area to try Maupassant and L'Horla. The Maupassant was a good fight even on second and L'Horla went badly. Climbing like a spesh i managed to get to the notch on the arete after much faffing. Getting there my arms couldnt pull any harder and my head seemed to not want to be there so i had a pussy attack. Bad timing so i slumped onto the bomber cam and lowered, pulling the ropes and going again cleanly soon after. Trying to salvage something of my brain i got straight on Kayak an easy E2 5b slab further along the crag but it didnt seem to do the trick, because as i sit here i feel like a massive girl.

Being scared of falling is pretty shit as a climber, means i cant push myself properly. I seem to treat all routes even if they're 'safe as houses' as death routes. This shouldnt be the case and im making it my priority to get on stuff slightly too hard for me so im forced to take the plunge and fail from falling not wimping out. Should be interesting!

Anyway for tomorrow ive got an epic charity / training event to do. 10 eastern grit crags and 20 bike! That should be fucking hard work but a good craic hopefully!

Photo: Me on L'Horla the second time around (M.Sharpe)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Week Of Life

The last 7days have been some of the best ive had in a long time. And it was all down to sacking off all my uni work and jsut getting a 'normal life' for a bit.

On the friday i managed to get on a cheapish train back to Cardiff for a weekend of climbing before my volunteer work kicked in on the monday. As my partner for the two days only had a few hours to spare each day (it was his sons birthday- thats dedication!) we had to go in all guns blazing. So the saturday started us off with a sport climbing session, dogging and attempting a soft touch Fr7b, which i didnt make in the end but got later in the week. The sunday was more of a proper day out as we only had 3 hours and a high tide to play with we did Exposure Explosion. A route ive been meaning and attempting to do for a good few years, despite its easy grade (HVS 5a) i had never managed to get the partner, weather, or tides right before for this 7pitch, rope drag mammoth.

Photo: Puling through the wet look cave crux
The route went really well with me getting the crux wet 5a pitch through wet look cave, it probably isnt 5a moves but the fact its always wet even in the sun makes it feel committing, especially considering you relaly dont wanna fall off at any point on the route. Finishing up the final corner i was pleased that i had finally put the route to bed and get started on my 2011 challenge ticklist..only 24 left to go....
On the monday my volunteer work started at Cardiff Outdoor Activity Team and it was really good, finding out about play centres dotted around cardiff and the work the people in them and behind them do is really inspiring stuff and makes me want to go and help out more there during the summer, which at the moment looks like it might happen. My volunteer work only lasted 3 days and so kind of stopped climbing play aside a quick hit tuesday night where i onsighted my first Fr6c at Taffs Well the route called Daggers goes up a faint groove line and provided ample interest in our game of grab and pull.
After my volunteer work ended on the wednesday i was keen to put Rise Fr7b to rest so phoned around everyone i knew in Cardiff and managed to drag Gary out of his sick-bed to come hold my ropes in exchange for a lift to Cwmaman to tidy up a route that was falling to bits.
After dogging up the route with 2 rests to put the quickdraws in i lowered down the route, and popped on another to get warmed up (only in South Wales do you have to take trad gear for sport routes- am gunna redo the route with jsut trad gear at E2 5c at some point). Had a rest and cruised the route, it felt easy! Redpointing makes stuff that seems impossible, possible. It did all feel a bit hollow though. Ah well another rotue down on the only 23 to go!
Once i was done and had stripped the route we headed over to Cwmaman to do Garys bidding. But when we got there the route was still in the shade, so whilst waiting around i abbed down a Fr7a, his mate had put up the previous summer, to give it a clean. Then did the route on the second attempt with no Top Rope practice, i must either be getting better or jsut hadnt cottoned onto this sport climbing thing before. They were both soft touches and it did feel a bit hollow but was in numbers terms a pretty good day out.
We then got down to the business of cleaning his route. Im not going to go into detail but i climbed it (about Fr6a) and lowered down as someone had said it was in a bad way. I thought it was a bit sketch but made nothing of it. Gary then jumared up the rope and pushed a lot of big blocks off, including one that had previously had a bolt in it. Nice. Heres a video of him cleaning...

After a day of rest i headed back upto Sheffield, the promise of a lift to the Roaches and glorious weather enticing me back up north. Getting to the Roaches on the saturday morning i held a sight before my eyes ive never seen before. The place was crawling. Like Stanage popular on a bank holiday but more so! After eventually doing Valkyrie behind some utter retards (from a London Uni club i might add) we ran away to the upper tier and had a much nicer day soloing about and occasionally getting the rope out for dirty or harder routes.
Good week in all, but am coming crashing back down to Earth now with the prospect of all the work i need to get done before my spring trip to Cham hits home.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

High Peak Marathon 2011

Well, its all come a bit quickly really.
On friday morning after a getting up at 9am to work i attempted going back to sleep for the afternoon so the HPM burn out wouldnt come to quickly. That failed so instead i read and got keen!

All too quickly 630pm came around so grabbing my kit and stuffing it all in a box headed over to Sharpies house for pasta and films. For some unknown reason we ended up watching Four Lions so our heads were full of quotes for the next 12hours of fun. At 9pm we got into the car and headed off, all getting slightly quieter as we approached Edale, especially matt the fresher who went visibly whiter...I dont think he realised it was as big an event as it is.

In the village hall we sat around chatting to people we knew an eating the last of the decent food before GO bars and energy gels became the diet of choice. All too fast though we had to don our ronhills, lycra and cats tails and ears (we were the Pussy Cat dudes so fancy dress became mandatory). At 11.16pm we left my cackling laugh echoing across the cold, crisp car park.

Hitting Hollins Cross we knew the race had begun and the miles started drifting by. Talking and singing became our way of coping, not sure many teams appreciated our recitals of four lions quotes and drunken sailor but it helped lift our spirits. Prior to the race we had instigated a competition with the people manning the checkpoints that they should theme and dress up to make it more interesting for the runners and that we would be judging them along the way for the Individual choice awards. Lose Hill got our vote as they had suits, top hats, an ironing board and an iron..Completely random but fucking hilarious!

From Edale to Outer edge the route went well and our times were pretty fast for a team of non-runners (i had been on 10 training runs, and Sam had been on 2...) but going upto Swains Head our navigation got a tad way-laid and some sightseeing took place, nevertheless we got back on track and found the checkpoint, a tad slower than anticipated but a good craic. Over Bleaklow we got back into the swing of things however when we got to Bleaklow head and they were cooking bacon we couldnt smell we did begin to wonder if we were really ok...

As soon as we got to Snake we knew it was game on!! We had 3hours to cover about 15miles and get back to control to get under 12hours..our target. Racing speed ladies.

We got faster and faster as we motored along Kinder and down to Edale cross. Rushup passed in a blur, although their checkpoint was apparently well decorated...we could only hear them singing and screaming from miles away! Running down from Hollins Cross to the road i managed to pass 4 teams, the finish line was in sight!!

We finally got into control after 11 hours 36mins of running 42miles over bog, hill, rock, sand and grass. What a way to spend an evening / night / morning! It was brilliant. A massive thank you to all involved for making it such a special event and one i hope to continue to do in the future!

Somewhere over Brown Knoll....Im not lost Honest.....

Fighting the bog monsters! (Left to Right: ?,?,?, Me, Matt the Broken Fresher, Sam)

This video shows our madness at running this most enjoyable of ultra-marathons.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Keen for life....

As im back 'learning' and have injured my A2 ring finger tendon i tend to spend a lot of time trauling the interweb for things to distract me. Things on twitter do a nice job of this and this morning, whilst waiting for my mate to turn up to go cragging i read this poem.

I found it on Vince Andersons twitter (absolute lege!) and its about how in life you have to go the whole hog and to succeed you will sacrafice, but it'll be worth it in the end. Sorry the poems quite long but its worth reading it all.

Roll The Dice (Charles Bukowski)

If you're going to try, go all the way,
Otherwise don't even start.
If you're going to try, go all the way.
This could mean losing girlfriends,
Wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind.

Go all the way,
It could mean not eating for 3 or 4 days.
It could mean freezing on a park bench.
It could mean jail.
It could mean derision, mockery, isolation.

Isolation is the gift.
All the others are a test of your endurance.
Of how much you really want to do it.
And you'll do it.
And it will be better than anything else you can imagine.

If your going to try,
Go all the way.
There is no other feeling like that.
You will be alone with the Gods.
And the nights will flame with fire.

Do it, do it, do it, do it.

All the way.
All the way.
You will ride life straight to perfect laughter.
Its the only good fight there is.

I hope despite the way the poem is, it speaks to a few of you out there that are trying to live everyday. Dont give in, you will get there, and any doubters will be left in your wake. Love life and do something with every day that will take you closer to your ultimate goal.