Author Topic:  fiendblog  (Read 57041 times)

Offline Fiend

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #375 on: February 04, 2013, 12:38:23 pm »
 :off: :spank:

Adam most Scottish bouldering venues have potential for more hard things, get out and get exploring...
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Carrock Flail and Etive Excretions.
« Reply #376 on: February 14, 2013, 12:00:05 pm »
Carrock Flail and Etive Excretions.
14 February 2013, 9:45 am



Carrock... A sketchy wee problem above a sketchy wee terrace and long slope....If I missed the final move I would end up back down at the car!!

Monkey Trunk standing start.

The best winter friction bouldering in Scotland is....Carrock Fell?? Sure there are contenders around Wester Ross and Inverness and maybe Glen Nevis, but most of these still involve cranking hard or reaching hard. Carrock seems to have a fair amount of proper friction bouldering i.e. rough burly sloper problems I can just cheat my way up in sub-zero temperatures, which would otherwise be impossible for a fat weak puntersaurus outside of winter. Ignoring some arbitrary eliminates and sticking to the strong lines, it's rather good really.

So this was supposed to be another (link) day of awesomely crisp sending conditions, yet somehow I managed to noob it up... Warmed up, rock looked dank and dark but felt good, fingers went nicely numb and firm-skinned. Trotted uphill to recce other problems with gloves on waiting for the hot aches for the next round. Took gloves off and my left hand had gone totally soft and soggy WTFingF?? Pulled on to Terrace Wall, felt shit, had many goes on Kit's Grooved Arete interspersed with lying down waving my bare hands in the breeze, felt shit and failed on what is pretty much a descent route. Squeezing micro-drops of sweat out of my fingers, despite it being cold enough to freeze them... Eventually they dried up enough, I tantrumed my way through working Monkey Trunk, tore the same bloody micro-flapper on the same scar-line ridge on my finger I did last session, went down to Old Spice, worked out a possible sequence just in time for me to have to leave ASAP, and twinged my shoulder putting the mats on my back. PUNTER. Also fuck those stupid gloves, I've ripped the thinsulate inners out and not making that mistake again.

Etive...







Prior to this, last week's semi-aborted mission was to the Glen Etive boulders, again trying to maximise the icy temps by dabbling in some off-piste granite. Suffice to say that the Etive boulders combine possibly the most beautiful bouldering situation in Scotland - on the sun-dappled shores of a stream-fed sea-loch in tranquil and expansive glen, with the "extreme walking" of the Etive Slabs sitting entirely unappealingly above - with some of the most mediocre bouldering. For context: When TCA first opened in Glasgow, one of my few but valid complaints, aside from the hideous Holdz holds, was the few problems that spoiled the otherwise good setting by having ugly and unenjoyable sit-start crux graunches on pointlessly poor holds leading to easier proper climbing above. Thankfully these tedious aberrations have mostly been weeded out - indoor climbing is always training for outdoor climbing, and if you were faced with such a shit start outside, you wouldn't waste time on a shit problem, so why was time training for it?? The main Etive boulder proved exactly this, with most "problems" being horrendous butt-clenching cranks off miserable holds to gain proper holds and one more move to top out. A non-move wonder with a crap sit-start doesn't make a boulder problem it just makes a worse non-move wonder. Suffice to say it was actually a relief when I'd tried enough that it was time to go.



In between these two mighty expeditions, I had a mild stomach bug that wiped me out for a day and another day recovering and actually eating, a fairly dire TCA session where it seems all of my technique has been shat out of my arse along with any remaining vestiges of strength, another decent GCC session where it felt quite nice just pulling on holds, and a shockingly bad lack of motivation for the gym, hence feeling heavy and sluggish. Hmph. Still there is enough winter left and hopefully enough syke!



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Offline duncan

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #377 on: February 14, 2013, 12:10:57 pm »
Where are the Etive boulders?  I can't picture them at all. 

You're right about it being the most glorious venue but wrong about the extreme walking.  It's ace!

Hammer, P3.



Offline SA Chris

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #378 on: February 14, 2013, 12:15:18 pm »
It is extreme walking, but still very good. I always though it was the boulder on the little promontory in the top left.
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Offline Fiend

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #379 on: February 14, 2013, 02:47:47 pm »
Aye I think Chris is right.
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Inverness Incursion.
« Reply #380 on: February 18, 2013, 12:00:13 am »
Inverness Incursion.
17 February 2013, 10:23 pm



Raaargh Ruthven boulder.

The attack:

After the retreat (see below), I returned to the ever-reliable Ruthven (even more so now some sensible person has cleared some heather off the top). As always this gave a good micro-session of proper powerful bouldering on great rock above great landings, with the shady side providing essential respite from the shocking 10'c temps around Inverness. The Dude I hadn't really considered until a previous session in which a fellow boulderer pointed out if was actually quite reasonable. Which it was, but excellent of course. Slippery Sloper bollox problem had taken enough skin off on both visits for me to firmly decide it was indeed a bollox graunch of a problem and I didn't like it as much as it didn't like me. I'm not sure what happened this time as despite the relative above-zero warmth, I got the move sorted and actually enjoyed it. The Big Lebowski was wet at the end so there's still something to come back for.

The retreat:

Brin Done Before was the first truly inspiring problem I saw in Scotland (outside of Dumby which I'd already got slightly jaded with even before I moved up), and over three years later it is still mesmerising: A jaunty prow jutting precariously a long way above a decent landing, all funky angles and massive steepness leading to a wildly high finish. It's been on my mind since I spied it in the depths of winter, and I've been pondering how to deal with the highball nature without a spotter or half-decent pads. My memory must have been poor as I was envisaging a weird slopey terracey landing, and had planned to warm up by extensively patioing this with local tree debris. But it isn't like that, the landing is "okay", just gently undulating with a few minor rocks. The problem is - apart from the steepness and height - the weird angles of the roof and the weird off balance slaps along a finger seam to get through it. Each move your body could fly off in a different direction, without even getting to the finish. On my own I think I'd need FOUR pads (at least two good ones), with a spotter probably just three. So I will be rallying the troops for a return visit - hopefully it's very-top-end-of-three-stars classic nature, easy access, lovely location, and good circuit options will be enticing to someone.

The surrender:

The next day I went to Glen Nevis to try to mop up more new problems on the Southside. To cut a boring day short, the main problem I wanted to do was in theory a mini-classic - a short steep prow with a good landing, clean line, great starting holds for a natural sitter, nice slopey finish....the only problem the rock is so outrageously rough it is like fridgehugging up a giant cheesegrater that's been sculpted out of gravel. Despite baltic conditions, I don't think I have the skin for it, nor the inclination to keep wasting layers trying. After many attempts and just as much puzzlement I felt a bit too tender and battered and sacked it off. On the plus side the Polldubh crags are getting loads of sun now so it could be trad action soon YEAH.



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Offline Muenchener

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Re:  extreme walking
« Reply #381 on: February 18, 2013, 06:56:35 am »
It is extreme walking, but still very good.

Hammer was ok, but I'm suspicious of any route where my strongest memory is not climbing it but sinking the Friend 2.5 at the end of the runout.

The Long Reach was, I think, the most scared I have ever been. If was in the States you'd at least get one or two of those little hand-drilled bolts per pitch (and still be allowed to call it "trad").
jawohl!

Offline SA Chris

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #382 on: February 18, 2013, 12:04:12 pm »
And if it was Europe it would have about 6 decent bolts per pitch.
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Offline richieb

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #383 on: February 19, 2013, 06:38:20 pm »
Give me a shout next time you come up to Brin fiend. Even if I can't make it out you are welcome to call in and borrow some pads.

Offline Fiend

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #384 on: February 19, 2013, 08:16:32 pm »
Thanks dude, that's a kind offer  :)
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Good cranking at Glen Clova
« Reply #385 on: February 20, 2013, 06:00:14 pm »
Good cranking at Glen Clova
20 February 2013, 4:29 pm



Rad roofism.

Not much more to say except it really was that warm, even hanging out between attempts, but the rock was still cool and the problem was brilliant, another unsung gem that every Scottish boulderer should do as part of a Clova visit.

Skin is still tender tho.



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Gathering problems at Garheugh Point.
« Reply #386 on: February 23, 2013, 06:00:10 pm »
Gathering problems at Garheugh Point.
23 February 2013, 2:15 pm



Big Growly Thing V5 * , Garheugh Point

The hanging "bear's arse" at the left end of the prominent Barrel Roof in the roadside bay just N of the wee stream. Start sitting from a L sloper and R sidepull crimp, and gain the arete via a variety of shenanigans. Pull onto the slab finish and a short drop off. Slightly flakey rock around but fun climbing, decent landing, and a sheltered spot.

fiend big1

Tried this last spring I think, it took a while to work out a sequence, including pulling off a hanging fang where the roof undercling now is, and it was too warm for the upper sloper. Went back the other month and it was seeping. Went back recently and it was all good. There are many possible sequences, and it took me another hour of working before I remembered the kneebar. Overall it is a funky problem with the ground usefully rising up beneath you, so you get a decent amount of climbing for it's low height.

The funny thing about Scotland is there are so many decent-good new lines to do, some of them aren't even that epic, that distant, or require that much excavating, just putting a bit of effort in. But I tend to prefer new problems that will actually get climbed (definitely not guaranteed in Scottish bouldering), either a whole new circuit, or something truly classic, or useful additions to a current circuit. I've got a couple of other such lines up my sleeve but then again it's starting to get towards routes season soon and my 7aMax guide needs some testing...



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Offline davej

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #387 on: February 23, 2013, 08:13:31 pm »
Hi Fiend nice looking problem. Is this the barrel shaped overing right by the road?? If so has anyone tried to
climb straight out the cave?

Offline Fiend

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #388 on: February 23, 2013, 10:44:19 pm »
Yup that's the roof, listed as a potential project in the Scottish Climbs guide. As I replied to Goosejoy about the roof: "That barrel roof is an interesting feature, and it's got lovely rock, but it's not ideal for getting lines through it. A radical direct sitter from the very back is marred by the back wall being perma-soaking. A pull through from headheight onto the bulge and then over the next capping roof would be possible but probably not that pleasant. The best use might well be a traverse from a sensible pull on at the right end, along into this problem (or an earlier finish)."
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Offline davej

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #389 on: February 24, 2013, 02:05:37 pm »
Yup that's the roof
Thought it was looked at it a while back will try your problem next time i'm up that way

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Brilliant Brin, Funky Fleet.
« Reply #390 on: February 27, 2013, 12:00:10 pm »
Brilliant Brin, Funky Fleet.
27 February 2013, 11:46 am



Brin Done Before!

Over 3 years later I've finally got back to Brin with a bouldering partner (my first time out this season with a friend, too!), and finally done Brin Done Before (what a crap name for an amazing problem). It's not hard but it's high and committing and totally brilliant and I had to dismount into the tree a couple of times before working out the finish, just as the sleet came in and soaked everything.

From sleet to Fleet and the next day in glorious sunshine we drove up to Loch Fleet and trekked up to Creag An Amalaidh, a new crag in the 7aMax guide. This was developed by the guide authors so obviously all slightly overgraded and slightly overrated, but still a good early season venue, on interesting conglomerate that's more like Sarclett than Moy. 6 routes with shirt off and beanie on and hard to believe this was February in Northern Scotland.

Routes season open then!!



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Amazing Autumn Arete At Achray, And Aberdeen Adventures.
« Reply #391 on: March 04, 2013, 12:00:11 pm »
Amazing Autumn Arete At Achray, And Aberdeen Adventures.
4 March 2013, 10:12 am



Only the beginning of March and I might have reached the apex of alliteration??

Also I've quite possibly reached the apex of quality Scottish Bouldering....unlike last winter season during which I managed to studiously avoid doing any of the good problems off my list, this season I've put the effort in and got lucky with the weather and managed to do most of the best problems I was inspired by, and even sneak in a few others. Autumn Arete is a prime example - I'd read the entry on UKC and knew where Achray Wall was, but didn't know where in the maze of hillocks, inlets and woodland the blocs might be. The crag moderator declined to reply or post any details (now submitted) and I forgot about it until discovering it was listed in the Scottish 2010 Update thingy - it turns out the bloc is hidden in plain view just around the corner!!

Awesome Autumn Arete.

Once again this is a real classic problem - a great independent line with a good landing and climbing that is at once powerful, technical, frictional, and continuous. Once again I don't know any of my bouldering friends that have done it despite being roadside and less than an hour from Glasgow. And the Glengoyne distillery is en-route (literally - it sprawls across the A83) and their 12 y/o is not bad at all - spicey on the nose but mellow on the finish.

~{§}~

From Achray to Aberdeen for the first trad of the spring and whilst Achray was so warm in the sun I had to work the problem with my shirt off and wait for the sun to disappear before it was climbable, in Aberdeen we ended up getting chased away by the seeping gnawing cold. At this time of year it's all about getting to specific cliffs (often the best ones, especially on the Northern coast)? before the birds come back. Of course while March is guaranteed nest-free, it's not guaranteed to have good conditions, as the main rule of the coast is: Never the same thing twice! Two days of seemingly identical weather can bring two days of polar opposing conditions.
The first day at Red Band Cliffs was okay - merely greasy, but warm enough. The second day at Arthur Fowlie was harsh - early evening showers should have been negated by a breeze and morning sun, but it was fairly damp and the wind snuck around the cliff edge and seized my body up until everything was done in slow motion. Still, a few good routes at the former and a couple of easier (or harder, it felt!) classics at the latter, and two new cliffs checked out, and an early start to the trad season....it's all just mileage, warming up, seeing what needs to be worked on...

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Offline comPiler

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Ogling at Ogle.
« Reply #392 on: March 07, 2013, 12:00:19 am »
Ogling at Ogle.
6 March 2013, 10:59 pm



Yet another classic ticked off the list! This might be my best bouldering season ever for sheer diversity and quality...

Ogling at Ogle.

I spotted Pyramid Lip the first time I went to Ogle (2009? Or 2010?) for an easy circuit session. It looked too hard then and it got dark or I got scared or something, but I could see it looked waaaay cooler than it's meagre 1 star indicated, so well worth going back for. Suffice to say it is... I'm quite chuffed because it plays to my weaknesses as a short fat person - gut busting pulls around a lip - but it went quickly. A couple of goes where it felt impossible, a couple where I realised it was mostly about trusting the right foot, and then put the nerves about pinging off the reach up out of my mind, and sent the next go. Thanks to Tris once again for the now-long-term loan of an extra mat. And the soundtrack was what I was listening to in the car on the way back - Acid Drop by Freethinker, proper headbanging stuff, I love it.

So this leaves my spring/summer bouldering list looking mostly like:

The Bottler - Loch Lomond

Nameless Pimp Toy - Stronlachlar

??? - Loch Sloy

Abracadabra, Craigmaddie

Various - Glen Massan

Various - Narnairn Boulders

Various - Chasm Boulder

Various - Cammachmore

Various - Moray Boulders

With possible options for Reiff, Torridon, and maybe a bit more around Aberdeen. Sacking off the Arran boulders because I can't be fucked with the ferry, and adding Glen Coe's Chasm boulder as it's a reasonable journey and could be good for a power top-up, and Glen Massan cos it's a decent schist venue I got rained off last summer (on a glorious forecast day of course).

Having said all that the weather is now shit for a bit which is possibly a good thing as it will allow me to focus on much-needed stamina training for routes and much-needed gym work for my shoulder. I also need to start seriously rallying the troops for the spring routes season!!



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Offline Duncan Disorderly

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #393 on: March 07, 2013, 09:11:33 am »
Looks quite cool but, God damn! That music is terrible! I actually had to mute it in order to watch and my head still hurts! :chair:
What would Shark do....

Offline Fiend

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Re:  fiendblog
« Reply #394 on: March 07, 2013, 09:38:16 am »
Good good, my work is done  :2thumbsup:

I have to mute 80% of music on climbing clips because I don't like it or often outright hate it. To be fair if it was reggae or dub I wouldn't mute it tho.
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Fuck me, I have a five month backlog of watching Fiend dressed as a camp Serbian paramilitary climbing choss in Dundee. YYFY.

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Routes routes routes.
« Reply #395 on: March 08, 2013, 12:00:14 am »
Routes routes routes.
7 March 2013, 6:41 pm



What do I need to do to be able to do the following routes and visit the following places??

(Apart from the usual challenge of finding syked partners and getting suitable weather...)

Answers in the blogspot comments please :) Offers of joining me at these invariably excellent crags in comments / email / text / facebook / phone / etc etc...

Priority routes:

Ardmair:

Neart Nan Gaidheal

Burning Desire

Glen Nevis:

On The Beach

Other Wave routes

Triode

Risque Grapefruit

Aquarian Rebels

Creag Dubh:

Colder Than A Hooker's Heart

The Final Solution

Acapulco

Bratach Uaine

Ayatollah

Other routes:

North West:

Tollie Crags:

Each Uisge Direct

North East:

Moray Coast:

Lime Street

The Prow

Bat's Wall

The Essential

Senakot Rose

Old Fashioned Waltz

Aberdeen area:

Bob's Overhang

Downies' Syndrome

Smith's Arete

Central Highlands:

Glen Lednock:

No Place For A Wendy

Diamond Cutter

Glen Croe:

Edge Of Insanity

Short Sharp Shock

Priority venues:

Lewis - 1 week trip:

Dalbeg, Mangestra, etc.

Orkney - 3 days trip:

Yesnaby, etc.

Other venues:

Super crag (Lochinver)

Reiff

Loch Tollaidh Crags

Stone Valley Crags

Diabeg

Seal's Cave (pre-birds)

Black Dyke (pre-birds)

Cambusbarron

Limekilns

Finnart's Point (Galloway)



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Traversing the Trossachs, and training
« Reply #396 on: March 16, 2013, 12:00:09 pm »
Traversing the Trossachs, and training
16 March 2013, 11:38 am



...and no bloody routes, yet. Winter returned with a minor vengence - a possibly routes day with B last Sunday turned into scrounging "easy" problems at Glen Croe in between horizontal blizzards (with the usually beastly B confirming that The Nose is hardly the V2 warm-up the grade implies. Solid V4 and a solid classic). Good fun but hardly getting me ready for a season of trad awesomeness. So it's back to the blocs for a bit:

Crimpy Crystal Classics

I trotted into Loch Lomond East and did The Bottler, a bit disappointing not to flash this as I prepared pretty well and only muffed one hand sequence at the top. Cool climbing despite the obligatory step-off finish. I also went back to St Bride's wall and got a clip of White Matter, this is a powerful and accessible classic that's well worth showing (and doing!). Still pretty fierce too. Pimp With A Limp was done last autumn but it fits the theme of showing what's out in those hills.

LDV only legitimate sequence.

I also returned to Cambusbarron on a whim to try to arete project I found in 2010. Another couple of hours playing on it confirmed it was absolutely fucking nails and someone really needs to do it but that won't be me. The same applies to the Monkey Bloc slab, so I consoled myself by doing LDV the proper way, it's a brilliant easy problem too, better than anything on the grit ;).

Other than that I have started training for routes - indoor routes and falling practise and stamina circuits at TCA when my fingers can handle the pain of the crimps. I feel on pretty good form at the moment with all my tweaks fading and condensing solely into a left shoulder impingment which is far more aggravated by sleeping on it badly than by any climbing, and having a reasonable strength on the boulders that could be built on for route climbing.

The main issue is my appalling fitness and weight as I am stupidly fucking fat and heavy - now up to 12 fucking stone 2 fucking pounds, so over a stone overweight. Fucking infuriating as it is so hard to burn off.....yeah I survived another 10 minute run last night without passing out but really that does fuck all. Train heavy and then get light only makes sense when it's physically possibly to get light, and motivation is so hard when almost any form of CV is so hard....but I did get more inspired by the gym recently so maybe there is hope.



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Homecoming...
« Reply #397 on: March 24, 2013, 12:00:10 pm »
Homecoming...
24 March 2013, 9:40 am



March 2012....Jetty Buttress....First routes trip of the year to the North West. After a dire and soaking 2011, I was so happy to be back in my favourite area of Scottish climbing, I just sat at the base of the crag, soaking in the classic gneiss, the beautiful view across the bay, the quiet road scarcely 50m below, and felt like I'd come home...

March 2013....Jetty Buttress....First routes trip of the year to the North West. After a dry and satisfying 2012, I was still so happy to be back in my favourite area of Scottish climbing, I just sat at the base of the crag, soaking in the classic gneiss, the beautiful view across the bay, the quiet road scarcely 50m below, and felt like I'd come home...

I just love Wester Ross. It's felt special to me ever since 2008 when The Pylon King and I drove out of Torridon to escape the one morning of drizzle we had in a week of sunshine there, and happened upon the oasis of civilisation that is Gairloch, climbed at Gruinard Crag and Loch Tollaidh, and revelled in the spectacle of the mountains, hills and hummocks,  and the coastline of bays, sea-lochs and islands. With supremely accessible trad and sport cragging, the nearby delights of Ardmair and Reiff, and a plethora of classic blocs, it is hard to beat.

This time the weather was fairly brisk. Day 1 at Jetty Buttress was sheltered enough to enjoy sunshine and steady trad. Day 2 at Reiff presented the choice of sun and strong winds or shelter and shade, resulting in a lot of numb fingers on short routes, some great bouldering, and 10 whole minutes where we felt warm (2nd problem in the video below ;)). As well as useful trad mileage (I felt pretty fine on the routes, the climbing felt easy after plentiful bouldering, although I need to work on smoother gear placement), I managed to do yet another of my winter bouldering inspirations, and this one was yet again bloody brilliant:

Classic wall problems @ Reiff.

The swing around onto the unnervingly shallow "vagina" slot on Romancing The Stone was the highlight of the whole brief-but-fun trip :)



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Excellent Easter at Ultimate Ullapool...
« Reply #398 on: April 10, 2013, 12:00:10 am »
Excellent Easter at Ultimate Ullapool...
9 April 2013, 7:46 pm



A long overdue update from Easter! After a semi last minute panic not having anyone to climb with (the usuals being offshore / new-ish parents / away / winter climbing and other such strangeness), the weekend was saved by The Tightest Shorts In Ratho (you know who I mean ;)). A veteran climber who had slightly intimidated me by his seeming seriousness as much as the shorts, but turned out to be good company with the all important SYKE as well as safe climbing.

So we had a long weekend that went something like this:

Moy - amazing weather, did several good routes including some challenging and pumpy ones.

Reiff - amazing weather, did several good routes including some of the harder trad I've done this year.

Ardmair - amazing weather, did several good routes including some decent challenges.

Mungasdale / Post Crag - amazing weather, did two good routes and failed on one only due to missing a finishing hold.

Glemarksie - amazing weather, only did one route but yup it was really good again.



You might notice a theme with the weather....I think it was both the best conditions ever in the Ullapool area, dryer than Asahi Super Dry, crisp and warm in the sun and icy in the shade, and the most beautiful I have seen the area, with surrounding snowcapped peaks providing the ultimate backdrop to the mellowly sunlight crags and heather. Although warm in the sun, it was bloody freezing at night (literally, -4'c some nights), and I was very glad of Short's SMC membership getting us into the revamped and swanky Naismith Hut. A snip at £9 a night, and with morning views like this:



Climbing-wise, this was one of my best early season starts ever. I think I've learnt from last years concept that I will live up to challenges if I actually tackle some of them, and combined that with decent bouldering strength and some residual mileage from my Morocco trip, so I felt both a bit confident, and a lot motivated. I did some mighty fine routes and have the scars to prove it. Apparently there aren't any resting jams in the top break of Cleopatra's Asp at Reiff, but no-one told me that so I concocted some anyway and did the route by the skin of my teeth and that's about how little skin I have left on my hands. The only slight niggle was an over-confident school-boy error on the excellent Scoobie Dubh at Post Crag - at the top of the warm-up route, I speculated on having a quick look at the rounded finishing holds but SOMEHOW decided not to do that. An hour later I'm sliding off a desperate slap onto the impossible sloping top....all of 4 bloody inches from a finger jug. NOOB. Learnt my lesson from that one I hope.

Hopefully this good climbing will continue. I'm sure the weather won't, I'm sure climbing partners will be variable, I'm sure things won't go as smoothly as one good weekend, but if I stay uninjured, keep doing the crucial falling practise and fitness training, I might do pretty well on what inspires me. Tendrils crossed.



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Keeping a grip...
« Reply #399 on: April 11, 2013, 12:00:14 pm »
Keeping a grip...
11 April 2013, 10:46 am



Today I'm on a flight to Kos and tomorrow I'll be on the first ferry to Kalymnos - this is a last minute sub-£100 flight plan, thanks to Jade and Ross for inviting me along :). Having realised we're allowed to use laptops on board, I'm pondering more on climbing potential this summer, whilst listening to melodic industrial hardcore courtesy of Embrionyc, and before playing as much Torchlight 2 as I can before my eyes explode or we land, whichever is first.

I feel I'm onto a good thing so far this year with climbing. As well as an excellent trad trip to Morocco and probably my best bouldering season ever in terms of quality, diversity and consistency, I feel I've got started with my Scottish trad climbing pretty well. After a few variable but mostly good years exploring the breadth of Scottish cragging, I can focus my attention on a few select explorations, and a few straightforward areas to push myself in.

Of course, the feeling that goes in tandem with this is not wanting to let that good thing go! Climbing well and confidently goes so naturally with the passion and inspiration I have for it, maintaining that is an obvious desire. So I'm considering what could get in the way, and how to deal with that. In rough order of likelihood:

Bad weather: The spring so far has been spectacular where it matters i.e. North West Scotland. Truly inspiring but we can't rely on it lasting. It could be as great as 2012, as dire as 2011 or as reasonably average as 2010. While I have some tricky desires - Lewis especially - most of where I want to push myself is logistically simple if the weather is haphazard: The North West is fine for a weekend, as are the Moray and Aberdeen coasts, whilst Glen Nevis and Creag Dubh are day-trippable. Put enough LPG in the tank and it should be manageable.

Lack of partners: Always an odd issue in the scattered and minimal Scottish trad communities, and a couple of my climbing friends, Brad and Phil, have now dropped the K-bomb so are less available. Hopefully those who remain, with Ross and Robert joining the ranks of Tris, Simon, Brian and Jade, will keep the syke up. Additionally I'll have to keep in touch with people well and rely on the simple venues as harmonious climbing choices.

Lack of confidence: I felt confident Easter weekend, bloody hell I even committed to an unfeasible move and took a fall. All of 3m or so, go me. This is a rare treasure I don't want to let out my sweaty grasp. It could slip out due to circumstance, or being away from regular trad, or getting worn out, or whatever. The one thing is to keep up with the falling practise - this has been my main purpose of indoor leading recently, and seems to have worked subtly on each trip out.

Getting injured: Or MORE injured. I did pick up a slight A2 tweak at Post Crag boning the fuck out of a crux crimp, although after a near week's rest it is feeling better. With careful taping I'm sure it will be manageable especially on trad. My shoulder is still an annoying and persistent tweaky little fucker of a niggle. Generally it is fine on climbing and variably tweaky on anything else, sleeping being the main culprit. I will keep up with the various exercises, stretching and sports massage and keep very aware of any other tweaks creeping in.

Being unfit: Or being MORE unfit. Suffice to say that my bouldering prowess has hardly enabled me to break the crucial 12 stone barrier this year. I'm still overweight and my legs are still fucked, although from recent ambulatory ambling they don't seem to be getting any worse. I must keep up with all the usual tiresome and demoralising bollox exercises to maintain this low level....I'm climbing okay with it so mustn't let it get any worse.

Other personal / life issues: I can't predict them but I'm sure they're there, lurking. If I maintain a calm concentration, persistent patience, I should be okay....

Prepared, persistent, patient, passionate....well I can aspire and aim for that I guess!!

Edit: Couldn't fucking sign into Steam's offline mode, no Torchlight 2 for me :(



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