Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Punch Drunk but Happy

Once I get the bit between my teeth, I tend to doggedly pull myself along towards death or glory. I will admit to being a little obsessive in that way. I was keen to get this crack done, I didn't want to distract myself with a myriad other projects. Get in, get the job done, then move on. First I had to get the crack clean, that meant cutting the log out. I borrowed an old pruning saw and went back with Ethan and Dave Fidler, a good man for boulder esoterica.

Ethan got a rope around it. It didn't pull out, the rope was a natural fibre fat hawser of shipping detritus. It got stuck.

We sent Ethan up with the saw. It was slow going. After we all had a go we stomped off to find something less frustrating to do.

Next month I was back with Dave, some large cams, a grigri and a shiny new pruning saw..

Unfortunately, the rope had been mashed by the tide into all sections of the crack. Cutting the log out was the easy bit. The rope was slow going, and I mashed my knuckles. Eventually it looked like we could tuck the worst of the rope out the way and have a go.

Buggrit, yet again the rope was found to be still in the way. One key jam was blocked. I was pretty cut up. Literally in fact. The blockage of jams meant my attempts were mainly leg driven, and the enevitable back and footing shredded my back. I checked the tides and gave myself a month's peace for psyche and skin to re grow.

May saw me furiously watching the forecasts. My supposed perfect tide day was at the end of a dry spell well enough. However, the rain was a-coming. It would be just my luck to put all that effort in only to be rained off. Taking inspiration from Caff, who'd managed a successful winter of first ascents by going to bed dead early, then sending in a series of weirdly dry dawn raids. I vowed to emulate this to get a tide window when the kids would be sleeping and easy for my wife to manage.

The rope was still a bugger, and the early morning dew had yet to completely evaporate, leaving the reversal of the down climb to set the cam a little eerie. The rope was hard to reach but I was able to remove almost all, and expose a key jam. I was on my own this time, and was a little perturbed that the pebbles had dropped again. Well, I'd brought all four of my pads, so I'd better make them count.

This was the first go. On reflection it was a good thing as since as far back as following my accident on what became the shard, I've been nervous about proper awkward lobs from height onto pads. Well this was that, and I coped. 
I was going to leave that as that. My analytical brain however chose to blame my left tape glove, which had gotten chunky through reuse and reapplication of tape. Out came the shears and I jointed and butchered it, and rebuilt something from its guts. I also realised I've fallen on my most squidgy highball, pad, so swapped it over, bringing the newest pads in my most likely fall zone. Comfy now eh?

Round two:

I called it Cherry Bomb, because it was fairly punk and rowdy. Also the beach is Porth Ceiriad. That, and Ethan is a big Guardians fan. 
I think 6C+ to fit in with other boulder cracks. It's easier than Tosheroon and requires less precision than Randy Roof, harder than Big Bad Bari and Maneater. Probably similar difficulty to Nefoedd Wideboy. Boulder crack grades seem so compressed with a world of difference between 6C and 7A. Maybe if there was more of them it would spread out a bit.
So happy and content, I can hobble away, wash away the blood, and look for my next fight. Probably a little closer to home.

There's Treasure Everywhere 

No comments:

Post a Comment