Thursday, 14 March 2013

Update on attempts at being an "All-rounder"

In reverse order:
Beer drinking - 8 pints:
Not had a big session since new years. Pretty sure i sank 8 beers (500ml measures, just shy of the pint mark) along with some whiskey on Sat before new year. This may have to be the starting date for the 8month time frame for "8 challenge" completion; thus i need to get the remainder ticked before 29th August.

Winter climbing - VIII:
Epic fail. I've had one single day out this winter; soloing the first 100' of II/III ground went just fine, but trying to lead off into unknown territory on a potential winter FA of a summer E2 was a bit too much for my winter skills repertoire. Basically i felt completely incompetent with tools & 'pons, and after 40ft or so i lowered off the first bit of gear i'd gotten in that i was certain would hold. Pete took over and lead another 40ft above my highpoint, but came down after finding unfrozen turf.
Running away with my tail between my legs was sufficient to put me off wintery stuff for the rest of the winter; that and training lots for the "real stuff" (This means Spanish tufa climbing to me, but something different to most other climbers!)

Thankfully Pete's efforts weren't in vain, as clearing the ledges of snow meant the turf froze and he got to climb the route a few days later with Nick Bullock.

Drytooling - M8
Not been. The weather in February has been too nice for that malarkey. Blue sky clear - perfect grit weather.

Trad climbing - E8:
Just one half day of trad in the Feb blue sky weather window; it's been too cold to ask people to stand around belaying most of the time. The half day was at Millstone, where i threw a rope down Masters Edge. I'd top roped this back in October, so armed with a black Metolius MasterCam I was hopeful for a successful lead. However, once I'd reworked the moves and the weak winter sun had raised the temperature sufficiently to dry the shady side of the arete, the tiredness levels had increased and the psyche was blown. Another time...

Sport climbing - F8a
At last, some success, though this is arguably the easiest of the bunch? I did two 8a's whilst out in Turkey over new years. Ikarus, 8a+ and Flat Rate 8a.

Bouldering aim - Font 8A
A couple of weekends ago i had a good day on grit; starting at Burbage West i was chuffed to tick West Side Story in an hour or so. This is the first "hard" grit boulder problem i've worked out the beta for in isolation instead of having locals/Gareth give me beta for.

I'm even more chuffed now i've done a bit of internet research and found that the Peak Bouldering on-line guide has got it down as 7C :-) See here:

As it was freezing in the shade at Burbage West i headed over to the sunny side (Burbage North) and did some of the classics around Banana finger including a flash of "Definitive 5.12". Interestingly, i faced the opposite way to the chap in the video below, which might explain why my thumbs & backs of hands fingers got mashed up quite so effectively.

(Off topic: This was also the first time my girlfriend Caroline had seen what hand-jamming can do to your skin and insisted on smoothing oodles of antiseptic into my weeping cuts - OW!)

The rest of the session was cut short after I fell off the Sphinx (highball 7A+) and twisted ankle. This was painful for a week or so and hence the following weekend I directed my attentions to the mainly low-ball venue of Parisella's Cave.

First off, let me congratulate Alex Barrows' on the 2nd ascent of Pilgrimage.

However, his actions have left a nasty taste in my mouth. If i hadn't been shown and subsequently used a kneebar across the starting holds of Rock Attrocity I'd have gotten my 8A tick (see ~1min into this video and I've had to settle for 7C+ for climbing Hatch Life in Parisella's cave. Not even doing it by lamplight after work could warrant the 8A tick I don't think.

I couldn't quite go no-handed using this kneebar and originally had a dilemma of whether to sprint this section, or shake out in the kneebar. Doing this gets a little back in the arms, but tires the core which is essential for the swing across into Left Wall, along which Hatch Life finishes. In the end, after doing sets of knee bar sit-ups at end of my sessions in cave, my core got fitter quicker than my forearms and I eventually I swung over onto Left Wall and finished off the problem off despite the mounting pump.

So, what of 8A? The Parisella's options open to me seem to be:
- Lou Ferrino sans pocket? I've done all but one move whilst working it, but again this is a fairly long link it up and it may take a while.
- Hatch Life High? Can i put myself through some of the same again?
- Broken Sam? I've done both halves of this problem previously, but again this is still another link-up dilemma.

So, there we have it. I probably won't complete "all the '8's" due to the massive fail on the winter climbing front, but might just make it with the f8a, E8, 8A subset. Only time will tell!

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