Sunday, 15 July 2018

Before the Word, there was the Tube(s)

So in my quest for retro pleasures, and to escape the heat, I enticed Phil and Emma down to the Tubes. This esoteric, frankly hardcore esoteric,  venue is situated just upstream from Betws y Coed.  developed in the 90's by the great and good of "the scene " it has mouldered in relative obscurity,  banished to the meirionedd guide and a brief mention in Boulder Britain.
The Upper Tubes are the ultimate gentlemens venue,  it only comes in to season when everything else is too hot, and lends itself to intellectual top roping,  and splashing about.
The first issue was remembering how I last got to it 13 or so years ago. Then convincing the others that it was "straightforward ".
However,  a small pine forest appears to have grown making pathfinding interesting.  Suffice to say, my premature attempts to enter the gorge were fairly exciting.  It's also probably a good point to suggest a new approach from a third of the way up the crash barrier is equally "easy".
 The team safely down the awkward ramp. This was the only pic I took, Emma's waterproof camera went into action after this. After using her non waterproof phone for our first ( and only successful)  challenge ; Inner Tube- a Paul Pritchard T1 (no normal grades here). However,  she has since dropped that one in the sea, so no awesome pictures of climbing fully enclosed Tubes, here. Or the Monkey Skull. Inner Tube involves a downclimb,  a traverse,  and ascending an enclosed tube. This makes top roping logistics really fun.
The Tubes are water polished slate, and therefore everything is about directional pressure.  That and falling off.
Exploring downstream.  At this stage we were quite keen to stay dry, and thus progress was slow. 

Phil staying dry. Our target was the Barbara Hepworth area, which has a dooable T2. However,  we got sucked into trying Original Route,  a Crispin Waddy T1. My rigging ability was sorely tested with my blinkered approach leading me up an xs style approach rather than the way round the back they all tell you about. The results was an offset and friction full top rope.  I trusted my belayer to adapt and set off..

Moss, undercuts and really directional foot holds.

My belayer made a slight misjudgement of slack, however it was warm enough to at least dry the rubber on my shoes for subsequent attempts.

Once we had our fill of gentlemanly pursuits,  we took to the water. More hilarity ensued,  as the tanin stained waters hid all obstacles.  Combined with subriverine Tubes meant that the water randomly changed depth from 2cm to 5m. 

Eels trying to climb around the cascades. I can't recommend the Tubes highly enough.  However, like the eel, don't expect to win much,  but enjoy the struggle.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Waiting for Vizzini

Life has got busy once more, and those days I could get out, I've preferred to spend with my daughter or the chickens.  I've become de motivated,  partially due to my only projects being a little nails.
I've been training,  but mainly towards a healthy body, and ticking off indoor goals.
It's gone a bit wrong.
However,  I have a plan...

"I am waiting for you, Vizzini! You told me to go back to the beginning… so I have."



Monday, 2 April 2018

Try Hards and Pebble Helms

I had one more attempt at trying hard since last time down at Skadoosh.  I'm discovering it takes a while to warm into the brutality,  I think when it's actually seeming feasible I'll have to give it more than an hour and a half. Nevertheless,  come the 80 minute Mark, I'd held two new positions and identified a significant limiting factor; namely hamstrings.

My foot is supposed to end up next to my left hand...

In other news,  a minor Pebble Helm reunion was organised at Porth Ysgo. #theonlydryplaceinwales.  AndyF and I and an army of Lancs descended on Saturday,  and we had fun.
This pic typifies the day's events,  where pistaking overshadowed the actual climbing.  Fun times.

Last time I was at Ysgowas at the NWBG Book Launch last November,  where I managed to lose a toenail establishing a new stander called Squishy.  This time I bruised my bum endeavouring to repeat it ( here's the successful video)


I then tricked the assembled wads into giving it a sit start so it wouldn't get ignored.  It was dispatched by keen and strong youth Callum Hamilton, but I was on Brian Spray at the time, so here's AndyF on it instead. 

Starts with left hand on a sidepull,  and right just above where Andy has his right heel. Barry Kershaw managed the second acsent ( despite being somewhat shorter than Callum)  and 7B was the hives concensus on the grade.
Good Times.
Keep Flailing! 


Friday, 16 March 2018

Quickish Hit

Unfortunately the one morning I had off this week was all wet and drippy. However,  my beloved wife got fed up with my moping and kicked me out at 5 O'clock for an hour or so of power.  Only one venue is fit for times like these..
Skadoosh! 
Dry and pretty.  Skadoosh is fast becoming my current Shed. Quick to get to, as comfortable on the psyche as some old tatty pompom slippers.  Everything from the chalking up to the warm ups are familiar friends, happy patterns repeated ad infinitum. The sharp eyed of you will have spotted the mismatch shoe combo. This can mean only one thing.. Projects are Afoot.  Basically I have to get from the chalk on the left to the chalk on the right. James' Sit down into skadoosh.  It's far to early in the process to actually try the crux,  so here's the bit after the crux into holds on skadoosh :
Fairly sure I can hold that swing, then it's the final bopp of Skadoosh.  Hence the left foot solution ( I nailed it earlier obvs).
My next challenge to solve is how to isolate some bits of the crux so I can build some belief.  This may involve using footholds I can't use on the actual sequence, but it'll give me something to flail at.

Keep flailing y'all!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Baby steps

Training is continuing. I've been mixing it up a bit as my body is protesting a bit. This has included a power endurance auto belay blitz and some of my old skool exercises from Liquid Armbar days. This basically consisted of 2 pull ups with legs raised swiftly followed by 4 press ups,  and the whole lot repeated 10 times. 20 pull ups, 40 press ups. In the old days the idea was to complete this in under 2 minutes.  Currently I've managed 3 minutes 10 seconds so it's a work in progress.
The battle against the cold is being won. I'm particularly smug about my crag hot water bottle.  It's basically a normal hotty stuffed in a £3 bottle cool bag off eBay. Field trials have it still effective 2.5 hours after Filling   ( 1hr walk in, 1.5 hrs use).

The field study in question was back up to Marchlyn.  This time the nexus of conditions and free time did not coincide with a knackered core from pilates. I got a whole 2 finger pads to the hold! It's progress folks,  but baby steps... 



Also whilst up there I knocked off the latest stander from my landscaping efforts :

Pebble Helm is about 6A and will have a very tasty sitter. 

In other news, I have a new brake on the boulder scooter,  as the old one wore through.  Initial impressions are it runs a little hot, and I don't seem to be able to go that slow... Could be exciting. 

Stay psyched 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Its Been Cold

Happy new year and all that! Bit late I know,  however, a lot of not climbing type activity has been occurring, without much blog worthy action.

January was mainly about training and trying to climb in nipply conditions.  Significant attempt one was to the Skadoosh boulder :
Too cold to put shoes on, but ok to put shoes in cracks. 
I then spent a while formulating beta and science to gain success.  This will be when it's warmer, and I'm much stronger.  Continuing the science bit, I built a replica section on the Beacon training wooden, and put some wads on it. The ones who failed to get the move, will get to work it with me...

Other training news it I'm embracing modern training methods like repeaters for the first time. Smallest rung of the Beastmaker 2000, 6 seconds on, 4 seconds off for a minute,  two minutes rest, repeat another 4 times then off to pilates...
So far so good.

One trip to Marchlyn,  and the patio is finished. All existing problems have a bo landing.  Seamus low start still evades me but here is my best effort :


Once I can make this move, I can send the project.  This gap in wrong conditions happened to be the day after pilates so my core was tired. This makes me doubly hopeful it will go soon. Once the wrong conditions stop again.
Heat packs are useful but I'm not cut out for polar bouldering,  may invent a thermos hot water bottle combo.

Stay psyched! 

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Brewing Next Years Psyche 2017

Things have come to a head.  I realise now that for the foreseeable future I'm primarily a blochead,  a pebble helm,  a kieselspanker. Sure I might tie on occasionally,  but this is my lot. I'm alright with this:
This was a key moment.  I'd snatched some free time and thought I'd test my fingers over on the Skadoosh boulder. This is the first independent move on the hard project I've held, and my face says it all really.  Baby steps,  but I'm keen to keep going with this one. 
Another big mass drawing me in is the Marchlyn boulder.  I'm really driven to get the Seamus low start in the bag before the fictious hoards descend. So I decided to try today:
Bit snowy, which meant no scooter,  but I was having to drag an extra pad up, so at least the weights exchanged well.
Ok not been up here when it's this wintery...
Bum. Connies stopped play, much of the rock was mint, but the freeze thaw of the last days wasn't the right kind, and soggy snow sat on the ledges above equalled yucky seepage.
However,  psyche brewed, I carried on completing the patio. Once this wing is raised level with the rest, it will be mega friendly.  
Job done. I'm psyched to train, pick off some treasure,  and enjoy all the fruits of North Wales Bouldering.

Have an awesome 2018!