Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A blog a week until I'm up to date: Post 1 - Chulilla, November 2015

So, my exceedingly patch approach to updating this blog continues...

...I offer some pathetic explanation to this lassitude:

11 months ago, I went down to Dorset for a weekend of DWS, Andy's tasty home-brew and some hungover bouldering. The DWS was great, but the sun-burn healed much faster than the rotator cuff injury I picked up bouldering on Portland the next day. The recovery from this injury has been a long and winding road, without much logic as to what causes relapses from near full strength back to grumpily unstable.

Sun kissed Lulworth; just about the last thing I climbed before destroying my rotator cuff

Following the initial injury, I took a full fortnight off from climbing, something I'd not done for many years. After this, I undertook 2 months of weekly physio and made gradual improvement, but insufficient to commit to a planned autumn trip to the Red River Gorge, KY.

By the end of November, my shoulder had progressed well enough to visit Chulilla for a long weekend break.

Beautiful Chulilla, as seen from the upper, dam end of the gorge

My small amount of training for this trip was done very carefully, with the strong emphasis on remaining in complete control; i.e. static finger-boarding and foot-on campus routines, as directed by Coach Randall; hence, my expectations were very limited as I had no idea how well I'd be performing on rock...

...A retro-flash of the excellent Los Franceses (7b+) and on-sight of the bouldery El Muerto Matao (7c) constituted a highly successful re-acquaintance with rock on the first afternoon.


The belayer's perspective: Liz on the start of Miguel Gomez (7a+ now there's less holds on the crux)
The next morning, our team of four we shifted to the shadier sectors accessed from the dam where Liz completed the thin and slightly run-out Miguel Gomez (7a+), and I got back on Magica Montana (8a+); a route I'd attempted whilst tired and cold on the last day of a weekend break to Chulilla in Jan 2015.

This time around, I sketched wildly on the slopey tufa pinches where previously I had a solid sequence, but with the fitness gained from the super-boring foot-on campus sessions, I recovered at the jug rest, sneaked through the crux with improved beta before romping up the exposed crimpy headwall with a growing grin on my face. Clipping the chains, without feeling too pumped, I let my imagination run wild and gazed up at the 8c+ extension; maybe my climbing career wasn't over just yet...?

With no photos of me climbing in Chulilla, you'll have to make do with these couple of videos:

1) some random chap on Montana Magica (best viewed with the sound turned down)

2) The results of me drinking half a bottle of red wine to celebrate the redpoint - somehow I recovered enough to on-sight a soft 8a - El Agent Naranja - the following day!

Magica Montana red wine indulgence from Ally Smith on Vimeo.

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