Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Beast in Chains

So after a few days reflection I realized someone might want to actually repeat it, so I thought I had better include a description:

The Beast in Me - Hard Very Marvelous F7+ 20m

The Offwidth groove system leaving the tunnel of the penultimate belay of Scorpion- Mordor side.
Approach by abseil, climbing Scorpion, or deathly traverse (Twll mawr Side).

Protection is bolts and a Cam#2.

Climb the bolted offwidth groove to the Eagle's nest. Rest, then boulder past the roof to the highboard. Ponder, then tech your way to the summit via a jam or two (cam), some head scratching (bolt) and some welcome jugs (a way above the bolt).

Mark Dicken 24/9/2013

The timid could reduce the run out with a fiddly wire, but they are unlikely to arrive at this point.

The Collected Saga in Posts

I guess looking back at all the nerding and noodling certain lessons could be learnt:

1) Know yourself and accept yourself. I'm not the lunatic I once was, I don't think I could have ever climbed it trad, and no one would be bothered to repeat it anyway.
2) Accept pain.
3) Refining technique and protecting your skin is a lot more valuable than dangling from a wooden box.
4) Flexibility is great, but technique and craftiness is easier.

I intend to return at some point to see if I can improve my style on the vice section, and I'd like to get some piccies as a memento, so watch this space.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

September Sessions - Day 3 (of 3!)

"I'm getting too old for this shit"
-Roger Murtaugh; Lethal Weapon

The Deed is done. I hitched a lift to Bus Stop and met my belayer Ben, Then made my way via all the little rituals on the way. Looning the tube  col, touch my toes, up to the coat huts, touch toes again... abb in and do my kicks and flicks. Tape my elbow, tape my knee. squeak my boots...

In the end it was straight forward, as often these practiced things are, although the panic as I popped out the end of the offwidth section, and the scrabbling for the eagle's nest provided an ethical dilemma. My foot scuffed the bolt below me as I lurched to match the exit crimp. I didn't fully weight my foot but it still wigged me out, spoiling my pure ascent. In the end my solution was to down climb back to left hand on the crimp, hang it footless and swung into the match before climbing back to the nest a little bit happier, if panting a little harder.

So 2-3 years later The Beast in Me is a reality. Hard Very Marvelous 20m 5 bolts and a Cam#2, draws in place on the bolts, Cam placed on lead. All my favorite flavors in one route; offwidth, boulder, technical and a little bit of bold.

The Giveaways have left this my Last Project, and while I'm looking forward to getting on some classics and enjoying other people's work, it felt a bit weird finishing off the last runout.
Flopping onto the top, so in control and titanium, this sense of detachment troubled me. Now that all the adrenaline and bull has worn off, however, I see its just the tension between wanting the project to be over, and wanting the buzz of the chase to continue.

The game is still afoot, just with less cleaning and more stars...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

September Sessions - Day Two

"Let's go to Work"
-Joe Cabot; Reservoir Dogs

8 Days later and I'm back on the Fox Path. I've a bit of a cold, my scabs are still healing and its drizzling on and off.

No more excuses, lets put some effort in. In reality the meat of the route overhangs enough to keep dry in the rain, and the top half soon dries in the breeze. More experimentation with tape; wider on the elbow and a upper calf band to steady the kneebar (too much geeking on Widefetish). I also fitted in a warm up.
Bang! First melee straight through to last foot hold, hand in pocket. That's a bit more positive, and my preclimb burn on the upper crux had felt smooth despite my tiredness, its beginning to dial in. From the pocket to the eagle's nest is a short fight through a gurka bar. but I get there with a third of the rests of last time, and a whole lot of data to process. After a moments cogitating (and panting) I drop down to below the pocket and try to chunk it together. Bam. Minimal fuss and I'm savoring through to the belay.

So with efficient taping, Intelligent foot and bar work, and a very small amount of blood I've whittled the living end down to two overlapping segments.

Time to lead me thinks... However next sesh is set to be next Tuesday, if the weather doesn't play ball or belayer doesn't land it'll be fitness sesh or another shunt.

happy happy joy joy..

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Giveaway Project of the Month- September

On my stroll into the Beast I spotted this continuous slab stretching 3 levels at the back of Heavens walls.
 Easy access top and bottom, the ledge at 2 thirds height would suggest it would suit a 2-3 pitch bolted route rather than a single pitch. However, its what you make of it really. Unlike the south wall of Twll Mawr, this bit also gets a fair bit of sun (and less punters throwing rocks...)


Friday, 13 September 2013

September Sessions- Day One

"Desire is repressed fire, Drinking gasoline"
-Soul Coughing

1st session on the Beast last Tuesday, I was more keen to find out whether my pitiful efforts at stretching had any effect than getting any real progress. I was felling tired from childcare anyway, and I needed to develop some strategies for a prolonged siege.
Step one - The rig. I played with a mini traxion on the static with a shunt backup on a dynamic next door. This allowed free movement on the linked sections but I guess any mucking around on your own above a big hole feels wiggy.
Step two - Elbow protection. I'm not going to get many goes if I keep mashing what skin I have left. Neoprene turned out to be too slippy, and it came back to a good old fashioned tape job to allow some skin retention.
Step three- The Link. On the way down I did my usual play on the top section crux. This felt harder than usual, so I knew not to be too disheartened on my attempts below...

I still felt like giving up, but only for a moment, as the positives started to stack up.
1) a poor intermediate foothold, that allows me to reach a more solid bar, cut everything else loose, and lift the damn hoof onto the hold (If its good enough for Caff...)
2) the whole 8 or so meters has now been wriggled up in overlapping sections.
3) finding lots of poor scuffy foot torques that give a lot more than dragging up an open flared knee bar
4) my fingers have improved, so I can hold the poor pocket and cut loose onto the top crimp one handed without pinging off.

Small negatives like needing 10+ rests in 8m, and still aching 2 days later are going to have to be ignored, I'm back up there next week after all..