Thursday, 4 February 2021

Lockdown Diaries : Dementor's Kiss

 So the last blog was November, Lockdown number three kicked in and it all got a bit rubbish. I don't mean Christmas and all that, but this lockdown certainly feels more oppressive and negative than those before it. Fear and self doubt are well known adversaries of the climber, and since lobbing off of the Shard I've struggled to rediscover my confidence at height.

With the Lockdown reducing where I could play, I found myself returning to some local venues that also happened to be high... 

Obviously this involved me getting rather scared and gibbery, but it also provided the opportunity for me to expecto petronum their ass and claw back some confidence.

First spot was Ponc Yr Haul Coll; new name for an old school highball venue. Blooming scary for solo visitors, but could be tamed by a pad party. However it's lockdown, so scary it is. Great climbing though. 

Climbs in order are:

Flock of Flying Butt Monkeys 5C!

Best line here, in escapable and delicate with a pop at the top. 

The Groove of Smooth 6B!

Baffling and sadly escapable (although you can't return once gone chicken). Still very satisfying to complete. 

Maurice Chevalier 6A+! 

Very aesthetic line although fizzles a little after the crux. 

Got very scared here, but ultimately it was a very rewarding experience, and I'm looking forward to a return visit with a post lockdown pad party. 

Following this I got the opportunity to revisit Ymyl Gwyn, and take an appropriate number of pads. Unfortunately it started spitting on the walk in. The long walk in wearing wellies. Carrying a couple of pads. 

Maintaining happy face I slogged on and arrived dripping (abet mainly sweat) at the boulder. Apart from a bit of damp lichen it was climbable so fun was had.

I gibbed last time here on the niche nose project. An extra pad meant I  didn't worry about jumping off this time. This became Buster Crabbe 6A+ and is a little balancey with higgar like crimps.

The next problem right was Death by Monkeys 6B! It has a cool move to the upper arete, however, on the first ascent the top was wet and I quivered into the offwidth at the top rather than elegantly styling it out. This turned out to be just as hard as a dry regular top out would be, and was proper brown trousers. 

The offwidth is The Pig of Happiness 5. It's great fun and yields to good technique in its lower half and determination to fight through the top out.

So from dark times new resilience grows and perhaps a little self confidence. I'm looking forward the next step, whatever that is.