Saturday, 21 September 2019

Kicking off my Marchlyn Season

So Seren had her 4th birthday party,  with able support / interference from her brothers.  It was hot and windy, and not a little stressful. So when set free, I had to do something..
However all the crags would be sweaty, unless I slogged in the wind and heat up to Marchlyn!
After all this talk of Foolery,  it certainly fitted,  as I was knackered and weak, but rather than settling for a bit of benchmarking on a random rock. I was keen for my first slog up the hill. I always hate it, but, the boulder was soo good,  and maybe I'll get some progress.  I left the scooter at home as I was having brake issues (I melted my wellies)  and the wind may make it dangerous.
It certainly made it arduous.  Being blown this way and that, a QL workout,  and rarely in the right direction.

A 50 minute slog took me into the shade and presented me with lots of very dry and windy rock!
My usual warm up circuit took place and the friction was ace. However,  fingers were found wanting a little,  and I struggled to drop into Tumbleweed.  It turned out I was trying to drop into the start holds of the stand(which is nails) rather than the correct sloper. That completed I moved onto Edgehammer which rather than requiring fine tuning,  went down without a whimper. 
Taking this as a good sign, Seamus was dispatched and I turned my attention (for the nth time)to the low start project. 

Crispy dry footholds! 

Some time away has somehow allowed me some detachment,  and I felt able to play with the sequence skipping moves to try going big and playing with the energy budget. 
This resulted in a much more workable high percentage sequence.  Not only that but I could quantify my deficiencies and see how to nullify them.
Game on!

It may be a tedious poo of a slog, but it's lovely up here. 
Let's see what winter brings..

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Quixote and the Art of Foolery

So as is by now par for the course, My first day I can have an adventure and the drizzle flobs on in. Rather than get depressed and do some house work I decided to follow my own advice and wait for Vizzini, Think what my younger self would do, go back to those activities undertook before age pissed on my fire somewhat.
To summarise, I decided to go and clean an old highball of mine. At the top of a hill. In the Rain.
Perfectly normal thing to do, if you can climb, prepare something for climbing. In the Rain.
I may have also decided to try and find a route up there that wouldn't require wellies, and I didn't think to pack waterproof trousers.
I got wet.

The highball in question was "Its not the Years, Its the Mileage". Star of I.N.S.P.R.E. Jan 2016 and while first tried in 2003, was eventually first climbed in 2011 after learning the importance of core fitness. I gave it 7A!, however, its never been repeated, and knowing how I was going back then, it might be a little harder. I would love to clarify this, but its at the back of the head of the Bint of Nant Peris (below) and the walk in  is somewhat steep.

The Bint is supposed to be a sleeping witch, in the drizzle it looked more like the mummy returns..

The journey up to the crag has been the subject of a "locals" fell race and they've got there and back in 30mins. I take longer. I was please to find that the approach has been effectively drained, and wellies are no longer necessary. However, the sedge and bracken ensured my legs were soon dripping. The three hawthorns that mark the end of basic slog and the start of the hidden sheep path drew swiftly (hah) into view.

Once in line with them, the crag came into view

Pen Dinas (Craig y Giat is my name for the bit in the foreground)

The first bit of rock was even dry (never climbed this bit)

The gate that gave the block its name has gone walkies, it used to be between these posts.

Not climbed this bit either.

40 mins after leaving the car, I was below The Years. It looked a little higher, blanker, and scarier than I remembered. Once there I quickly up ended my bag and got the kit out. The sooner I got working, the sooner I could retreat. The top is a clump of stone bosses, so its easy to secure the abb rope. I was surprised to find all the important holds, and with minimal digging. Although the top was mossy, and the lichen obviously is well provided for, it cleaned pretty easy. As I slithered down (I'd forgotten how scary abbing on wet ropes with a grigri was) I photoed the hold as I dropped. This was mainly to help myself psyche for a future repeat,but I realise it may give you lot a little beta and fire to come and grade it for me. If you want to onsight look no further. However, I forgot to photo the starting holds so here's an ancient pic:

Left hand a flake sidepull that was smaller than I remember, right hand a nubbiny flake that wasn't.

Next set up on the "Biro" hold

rock out to the finger stack ledge

Foot up and throw for the monoflake

Sorry. Horribly slanted photo that I couldn't fix. Rope should be vert. Right hand circle is the monoflake, lefthand the rest ledge edge.

Behold the rest ledge edge!

This hidden puppy is the flake you then use with the R.L.E. to gain some small stuff and go up

Up here to thank God hold No.1

From there a scary lank gains Thank God hold No. 2 and the ledge system of escape.

Here's roughly where they all are.

There you go, Lets Repeat it!

I also cleaned "Desire is Repressed Fire" a 6A! so you have a warm up.

The slither down was slithery, and as I stripped to my underpants in the Vaynol Car Park I had a big grin on my face. The reason we did these frankly silly, and potentially pointless adventures was inexplicable to the many. However I'm sure there are a few kindred souls out there chuckling quietly to themselves reminiscing about their own ventures in foolery. For myself I've made a mental note to try at least one foolish thing a month. That way my giggle-tank will remain full, and I'll remember why took up this daft sport in the first place.

Whats next, I wonder...