Monday, 5 April 2021

The Awkward Shuffle

 So when you're a self confessed North Wales based offwidth climber, you do tend to get asked a lot about one climb..

I first tried George's Crack probably about the first time I owned a bouldering mat (bought 2nd hand off Ray Kay of all people). Actually if memory serves me I had also acquired a stunt mat from the 'set' of Clash of the Titans by that time. So that puts it as around 2009/2010. I remember lugging them both up with the stunt pad (spot pad thickness, but size of a single mattress) protecting the along, and my little battered Holdz pad protecting the up.

First session I think I got about 2 feet.

Second session was a year or so later with a pair of wide boyz who were touring the UK cracks on their road to free the chocolate starfish. They had repeated Liquid Armbar which made me happy, and proceeded to lap George's in a weight vest. I'd tweaked my ankle trying to repeat ToeBar, and was unable to emulate their fabled fix-all "the wide pony". Still made a foot of progress. 

Session three was 2015, and is documented here. I'd sacked off wide pony in favour of leading heals first and following with the stack; known as Trench foot. However I was convinced that I needed to emulate other www ascents; hang lower and be more flexible to reach into the crack.. 

I've really struggled with my flexibility over the years, and blamed my inability to fix it for my perceived general crapness. Some of it is left over niggles from my groundfall accident in 2004, some of it is age and motivation.

However, as babies and life got in the way, I sort of believed it was just beyond me. I moved onto fixating about the Tosheroon project instead.

First significant kick off the bench was getting the first ascent of Randy Roof. It's totally my style, flared with fun invert footwork, and while tricky I didn't think existentially at the time, but fast forward to 2020 and getting involved with the NWB3 feedback team. Kick off the bench number two was that Randy roof was supposed to be harder than George's Crack, and lots of arguing about my desire to see GC in the guide as 7A (it is, yipee!). I also was being asked opinion on other bouldering cracks I hadn't done yet..

Basically I had to stop the moping and get crack climbing!

Black County Crack went first (pics on my Instagram) and I knew I had to get my finger out and put George's to bed.

Trip number one (session four) was last Thursday, I was on my own and struggled up with three mats. I was going to stay trench foot and keep as close to the crack as possible.

Here's the fail vid..

I was psyched, as I had battered all the tech into submission. I knew where not to Jam and what to try at various points to Wedge my mitts in..

Enter the bouncing ball of Welsh Crack Psyche ; Eben! (you may remember him from Pinnochio Crack). So he sacked off a family day to be my wingman and pad assistant.

And Fifth session, second go, I dry heaved over the top..

Definitely indebted to Eben (topping up his account with session 2) on this frabulous day. 

So this milestone marks the start of a new road, gaining in confidence, bagging some more cracks, and ultimately leading to the Tosheroon.

Watch this space 


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