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#950 fiendblogDropping...
August 21, 2020, 01:05:30 am
Dropping...

 
So last week I felt like I'd regained my fitness and strength and was climbing as good as I have in recent years - on sport onsighting and redpointing at least, I hadn't put it into practise on challenging trad, but I'd even got enough confidence back to be ready to do so. Not only that, I felt generally fit and good (digestion aside), and notably had walked out of Chee Dale to both Wormhill and Topley Pike without resting - almost as rewarding as the climbing, feeling that my body had re-adapted to regular usage and activity.

This week I can still walk, slowly, in a straight line. And that's pretty much it. I can't run, I can't boulder, I can't fall off, I can't do any sudden movements, I can't twist my leg, and I can't climb at any more than 30% capability (which feels more like 60% challenge as I've got to hang on every single move and test every single left foot placement to make sure it's safe and not going to aggravate my left leg). And I probably couldn't dance to gabber either, even if clubs were open.

What I've done is tweaked my MCL (the stabilising ligament on the inner side of the knee) on my left leg, doing a deep drop knee move. Or more specifically, doing a deep drop knee move that I'd never done before, which is the crux of a route right at my very limit, and in particularly doing it in poor conditions which forced me to try too hard as I was slipping off a handhold, and twist the drop knee far deeper than it should have been and far beyond what was safe. It is hopefully a relatively minor tweak, as there just a mild twinge - an unusual warning sign which caused me to drop off immediately - and no sharp pain, no pop, no sudden loss of stability, and no noticeable swelling. Nevertheless, it is definitely injured and inhibitive as above (and any inwards motion, especially with a bent leg, is definitely painful), and will take plentiful rest, rehab, and avoiding relaxed climbing motions.

I could write about the usual bollox this entails: how gutting it is to go so abruptly from good climbing fitness to hobbling around again, how particularly gutting that is after fighting to get that fitness back after lockdown, how even more gutting it is as I'm coming into potentially prime late summer / early autumn trad season (Red Walls and Range South unbanned etc) rather than coming into a dank winter, about how, despite what people say, I *WILL* lose fitness and strength that quickly (reading DMac's Make Or Break, there is some acknowledgement of this: "It is well understood that training gains in muscles strength and endurance are reversible, and that the losses of tissue status begin within a few days of ceasing training" // "Climbers tend to underestimate the effect of even a week of de-training on your ability to absorb hard physical work"). So far so dull.

Instead there's one issue I want to write about that isn't actually an issue. In the depressive state this sort of "emergency stop" injury brings on, it would be easy to lament "I can't try hard in climbing, I can't push myself too hard, my body can't take it, if I'm getting near the top of my game I'm just going to crash out again". Thankfully, this one worry isn't actually true (although it can happen that way).

In this case, my body was coping with and adapting to the demands of regularly fighting hard pretty well, and what went wrong was an outlier:

1. Drop knees are a risky move. Apparently so. I've heard rumours about them. Referring back to MOB: "Drop knees....are the most dangerous movements on rock" // "Drop knees....are used comparatively infrequently, yet demand large forces when they are used" // "Moves where you drop the knee and then move the hand all in one rapid motion may be particularly risky for knee ligaments" // "Possibly the most important preventative measure of knee injuries in climbing is awareness and concentration during dangerous moves such as drop knees."

2. I've never done proper drop knees before. I've done egyptians, sure. But never a proper drop knee where you dip the knee right down. If I have it was very brief and I can't remember it and I certainly haven't used one to try hard. I tend to climb either a bit more flaggy, or a bit more front on and squatty and rock-overy which suits my heavy but relatively un-weak thighs. So I have little experience in the technique and no whatsoever in the limits and risks. 

3. I was pushing too hard and losing judgement in poor conditions. I was, somewhat shamefully, getting a bit desperate for "the tick" and "getting the route done". Sure I was still enjoying the experience of the climbing and of trying it, but part of me was getting a bit obsessed and wanting to get it "out of the way". Shallow motivation that is easily aligned with a weak state of mind, including ignoring the increased difficulty due to poor conditions and still persisting to try to get that possibly unsuitably distant end result.

4. I may be more susceptible due to lack of gym training. According to the physio, the cruciate ligaments are the primary stabilisers in the knee joint, whilst the joining muscles are secondary supportive stabilisers. I don't know if regular gym work helps strengthen ligaments although it might well stimulate them, but the sort I do (short sets of heavier leg work) definitely strengthen the muscles and certainly tests knee stability on squats. I haven't been to the gym for 5 months (the longest period I can remember) due to the lockdown and gym closures and this might have been a problem.

5. So the cause was pretty much ignorance and susceptibility on a risky move. And that is both something that's not a particular problem with my body nor climbing, and something that I can learn from and be aware of. If I'd had a heel-toe in on a similar move in similar conditions, I'd have probably sacked that session off already due to the risk of ankle amputation - because I know the risks. Same with a high heel-hook. If I'd had to do a slap or lunge on a similar move in similar conditions, I'd have probably been fine as the consequences would have been a flapper or something minor. 

So now that's out of the way, what now??

Rest. Rehab. All the physio theraband / wobble board / straight leg etc exercises. Try to strengthen the ligament and the muscles. Avoid re-injury. Train my upper body as hard as possible whilst also avoiding injury. Gently experiment to see what climbing might be possible as I start to recover (my gut instinct is that the ledgiest and shuffliest ledge-shuffles of Anglesey and the Lleyn might be the best as the nature of the terrain not only rarely requires excessive exertion through the holds, in some ways it actively discourages it - whilst at the same time providing enough beauty, inspiration and fun to nourish my soul). Remain diligent. Remain open to possibilities. If recovered enough, try to extend the routes "away season" into autumn as far as the weather allows, and similarly try to start it as early as possible in spring, taking advantages of available sun-traps. 


Source: Dropping...

moose

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#951 Re: fiendblogDropping...
August 21, 2020, 11:27:36 am
....despite what people say, I *WILL* lose fitness and strength that quickly reading DMac's Make Or Break there is some acknowledgement of this: "It is well understood that training gains in muscles strength and endurance are reversible, and that the losses of tissue status begin within a few days of ceasing training" // "Climbers tend to underestimate the effect of even a week of de-training on your ability to absorb hard physical work"). So far so dull

There is hope that it might not be so deleterious... I posted this a few months ago:

The new Ross Tucker Science of Sports podcast might be interesting listening for those concerned about a loss of form during lockdown.

https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYWNhc3QuY29tL3JlYWxzY2llbmNlb2ZzcG9ydA&episode=NTdkMGJiZDAtYzUwNi00M2Y0LWI5YWEtOGMxNzA0MmJhNjQ4&ved=0CAcQ38oDahcKEwj4lvDCoeboAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQBQ&hl=en-GB

The TLDListen version is that doing nothing for weeks results in a significant loss of capability but even a small amount of training (15-20% of "normal") hugely mitigates / eliminates any deterioration, and the "little goes a long way" effect is greatest for old-timers whose level is more deeply engrained.

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#952 Re:  fiendblog
August 21, 2020, 11:55:28 am
1-4. are good self-analysis but don’t beat yourself up about 3.  Nothing wrong with being keen. It follows you should be trying to get back to your gym exercises - ie low-rep./high load squats, or similar - as soon as possible. Do you have weights at home you can use if you can’t get to a gym? Therabands/straight leg work and wobble boards are useful for early stage rehab. but don’t offer the load or specificity you need. You should be working up to putting more than your body weight through a flexed (bent) knee.

‘Front pointing’ up trad. routes is  a good way back in to climbing as you say.

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#953 Re:  fiendblog
August 21, 2020, 01:32:08 pm
Thanks guys.

Moose: good use of the word deleterious! I will check out the podcast. I have personally found that unlike some people (including a couple of people on here who mentioned they can often do a solitary fingerboard session in a week off and maintain form), I start to de-train pretty rapidly and conclusively - probably metabolism / weight / legs / lack of supporting CV fitness etc. Conversely once I'm at full steam I tend to respond well to multiple days on. Despite some fingerboarding and regular walking / running during lockdown, I felt like I had a huge drop in form (admittedly it only took 4-5 weeks to get back up to reasonable capability, rather than the 7-8 I expected). I'm definitely going to keep training tho...

Duncan: Thanks for a good post. I'm not beating myself up too much about 3. - or even at all for that matter. But it was definitely a contributing factor, I was already feeling myself getting disproportionately obsessed in a very very pale shadow of the puritanical Oak-style masochism which didn't sit comfortably with me, and this was one of the factors.

I will try heavier gym work (with strict form!) sooner rather than later - will those benefit in general stimulation and re-strengthening the supporting muscles, rather than stressing the MCL?? Initially I've just been focused on what the physio suggested, i.e. working the MCL-stressing inwards motion in a very gentle way.

I've been on the Depot circuit boards a couple of times, just traversing along the bottom, and I've found having a large matrix of decent small footholds (not FFH) has made it very easy to avoid any twisting / dragging / outside edging, and haven't felt any pain traversing back and forth along the bottom (although a few times I've had to abort moves as I'm unsure about the motion). Getting back to pure "kicking steps" style trad would be idea :D

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#954 Re:  fiendblog
August 21, 2020, 07:48:15 pm
I will try heavier gym work (with strict form!) sooner rather than later - will those benefit in general stimulation and re-strengthening the supporting muscles, rather than stressing the MCL?? Initially I've just been focused on what the physio suggested, i.e. working the MCL-stressing inwards motion in a very gentle way.

Joint stability is determined by a combination of both ligament and muscle function as your physio. said.  Strengthening the muscles will improve joint stability and make you less injury-prone: it's not a complete surprise your knee was more vulnerable after 5 months of not going to the gym. Squats or similar might help the ligament a little too but this is more speculative: a work colleague had some interesting preliminary findings suggesting anterior cruciate ligaments became tighter after a knee rehab. programme. My august institution sacked him and don't think he was able to take the work further.

You don't have an unstable knee but it's possible to compensate to a surprising degree for lost of ligament function by developing well functioning leg muscles. I have no functioning posterior cruciate in my left knee and my brother-in-law has no anterior cruciate. We are both pretty active and are not let down by our knees.


I've been on the Depot circuit boards a couple of times, just traversing along the bottom, and I've found having a large matrix of decent small footholds (not FFH) has made it very easy to avoid any twisting / dragging / outside edging, and haven't felt any pain traversing back and forth along the bottom (although a few times I've had to abort moves as I'm unsure about the motion). Getting back to pure "kicking steps" style trad would be idea :D

Perfect.

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#955 Re:  fiendblog
August 21, 2020, 09:28:01 pm
Thanks guys.

Moose: good use of the word deleterious! I will check out the podcast. I have personally found that unlike some people (including a couple of people on here who mentioned they can often do a solitary fingerboard session in a week off and maintain form), I start to de-train pretty rapidly and conclusively - probably metabolism / weight / legs / lack of supporting CV fitness etc.

I might be one of the lucky ones then - I just did bodyweight exercises and finger-boarded for the 8-9 weeks of "strict" lockdown but recovered reasonably quickly afterwards.  I climbed like bad stop-motion animation for 2-3 weeks but managed the low level boulder traverse I was trying last year when you last saw me at Kilnsey soon afterwards. I think / hope you might surprise yourself - so much of climbing improvement for me is "neurological gains".  E.g. a bit of fingerboarding results in improvements that are far too rapid to be due to stronger tendons - I'm probably just convincing my brain that I can pull that hard.  Perhaps similar applies with you - you will feel weak and detrained but it's more that you're not used to the load you're actually still physically capable of - keep with the rehab and a responsible level of effort and you will not decline too much.

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#956 Re: fiendblogDropping...
August 25, 2020, 05:49:12 pm
The TLDListen version is that doing nothing for weeks results in a significant loss of capability but even a small amount of training (15-20% of "normal") hugely mitigates / eliminates any deterioration, and the "little goes a long way" effect is greatest for old-timers whose level is more deeply engrained.
Well let's bloody hope this is true because I've also got golfer's elbow reappearing (in the other elbow to whence I had it previously) - exactly what I don't need right now when all I can sensibly do is train - so 15-20% is about the absolute bloody max I can do.

Moan moan moan. My own stupid fault, deadhanging after a slothful day (last Sunday) without properly warming up, ignoring discomfort, and also doing some quite anti-elbow exercises at my first gym session. Fuck off to it.

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#957 fiendblogCan / Can't
September 01, 2020, 07:00:28 pm
Can / Can't

Things you CAN do whilst recovering from a torn MCL:

  • Fingerboarding
  • Campussing
  • Intense upper body work
  • Intense low-level traversing
  • Systems board training without going too high

Things you CAN do whilst recovering from golfer's elbow:

  • Hard slabs / vertical walls
  • Thrutchy routes with a focus on legwork
  • Run-out routes with good fall potential
  • Falling practise in general
  • Running and similar lower-limb fitness

Things you CAN'T do whilst recovering from golfer's elbow:

  • Fingerboarding
  • Campussing
  • Intense upper body work
  • Intense low-level traversing
  • Systems board training without going too high

Things you CAN'T do whilst recovering from a torn MCL:

  • Hard slabs / vertical walls
  • Thrutchy routes with a focus on legwork
  • Run-out routes with good fall potential
  • Falling practise in general
  • Running and similar lower-limb fitness


Hmmmm.....

So yeah I was heeding the DMac advice "If you come out of a lower limb injury without getting stronger, then it's been a wasted opportunity" (more like "If you come out of a lower limb injury without sinking into a pit of slothful, comfort eating, nihilistic depression.....then well done" - I think the first quote was in the era when DMac wrongly assumed that all other climbers, irrespective of grade, had his robotic dedication to training and militant self-discipline). At any rate I was motivated to try to maintain some of the strength and fitness that I'd clawed back since the end of lockdown, and thus jumped straight on the fingerboard a couple of days after fucking my knee.....after a sluggish day doing fuck all, and with the barest minimum of warming up. I tweaked my elbow a bit. Then climbed the next day. Then went to the gym the day after and tweaked it further on elbow intensive stuff. At the time of the last post I hadn't realised....but yes I fucked it too. 

Depending on the circumstances, the elbow is more of an inhibition than the knee. On the Depot circuit boards with their convenient matrix of footholds, I've managed to carefully front-point and inside edge my way along the lowest level without any knee pain.....but increasing and subsequent elbow pain as I ramped up the difficulty. Same with Awesome Walls with the vertical lead wall of endless controlled rockovers (fine) and deep locks (less fine). On the other hand, after walking on flat ground, uneven ground, uphill, downhill, upstairs and downstairs (the latter at a distinctly normal pace compared to a week ago) all without pain, I tried a light jog the other day and lasted 1 (one) step before a sharp pain stopped me, and now my knee has felt the worst it has since the first tweak.

So whilst last time when I had tennis elbow, I could do some cool slabs and highballing and running and stuff, and last time when I mashed my leg I could do plenty of deadhanging and campussing (which I did feel progress with) and weights, this time I'm not sure what the fuck to do (apart from burying my head in the sand and pretending it isn't Sendtember because that ain't fucking happening). What I am doing is antagonistic weights and stretching, and, errr, a fuckload of rehab from wobbleboarding and eccentrics to light gym work on the leg etc etc. And hope to get one of the limbs healed up enough to go on some adventurous sea-cliffs before winter....


Source: Can / Can't

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#958 Re:  fiendblog
September 01, 2020, 09:30:04 pm
I like the sound of 'antagonistic weights'. Peaceful ones wouldn't suit you Fiend.

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#959 fiendblogRituals
September 04, 2020, 01:00:14 pm
Rituals

N.B. This was originally supposed to be published in the subversive counter-cultural "steer the wavering ship of the climbing scene by gouging a hole into it's hull" fanzine UFCK, but god knows what's happened to that so I'm posting it here. Given the nature of the 'zine I went for a deliberate and unashamedly flowery / OTT style of writing but at least it's not as torturous and po-faced the old Moles / Cookson "wannabe-Redhead" word-soup. Normal service / moaning may resume next time.



RITUALS

Runes align, signs condense out of the e-ther. A freshers' meet here, a send train there, maybe a bank holiday swarm. The portents push acolytes into directions both obvious and obscure.

Candles or maybe headtorches are lit, casting the dark into light and the surrounding world into darkness. Tomes are scoured and revised, the beauty being the message is hidden in plain view: Condensed paragraphs after main crags, hollow stars, sub-notes squeezed in before the next honey pot.

Attire is donned - Adidas instead of Arcteryx, Sports Direct instead of Sportiva, shiny consumerism will get caked in grimy chimneys and shredded on old barbed wire, so why bother. Similar are tools of the trade - crowbars and blades.

Acolytes are summoned to the chariot, an understated approach is recommended - V.A.Group instead of a #vanlife, a scruffy hatchback easier to squeeze in to corners, easier for locals to ignore. Fellow explorators are chosen according to enthusiasm or gullibility or more usually availability regardless of personality. A mascot or companion may provide resolve or moral fibre - 4 legs being preferable to 4 spinning rotors.

Belatedly, subject to the vagaries of lift-sharing, coffee-imbibing, and Google Map's willful obfuscations or indeed outright objection to the chosen destination, the temple may be approached. This is usually from a tangential angle - a rear assault may be optimal or just thematically pleasing for the team. Eyes must be kept open, there are auras to be discerned - greens and browns - as well as the existence of rock and stone, sometimes separate from the base earth, sometimes all too separate.

At the place of worship, rituals postures are settled into. Lying collapsed amongst rucksacks, kneeling in the dirt, scrying and scrutinising, squatting in nooks drinking tea and avoiding looking upwards at the horrific edifice.

Phrases are intoned to bring joy to the participants: "Why the fuck are we here instead of Malham?"..."Are you sure this bit hasn't fallen down?"..."I wish we had a pad party with us"..."We'll have to ab and clean it won't we?".

At last, excuses fade away before the mighty open-ended proclamation "Well we're here now...", and the suffering commences: flesh is torn in descent gullies and abraded in clefts, fingernails are chipped and worn excavating slots and mis-timing brush strokes, legs cramp up and numbify from prolonged abseils, all the senses are full of grit and moss and dust, torsos stiffen and corpsify as the ritual mercilessly extends and ropes must be held "One more go, I'll get it next time, I wish I'd brushed that fucking pocket"...

As the physical form is flagellated, the mind is set free from the shackles of convention - reliable descriptions, informative grades, conventional styles, hive mind shared knowledge, successful ascents.

Eventually enlightenment might be attained, but through more earthly pleasures. A soothing drive home, a hot bath, the relieving de-vegetation of clothes and crevices. And finally the dilemma of either smugly posting "Well who knows what THIS crag is then?" photos on social media and basking in the knowledge of obscurity, or defacing and destroying pages with a solemn vow never to attempt a farce like that again....and knowing that both choices are entirely correct.


...


As should be obvious it is about exploring esoterica which is what I was "commissioned" to write about, and mostly inspired by actually doing so with UFCK himself (and Pippin of course). In honour of that here's a few relevant photos, some of which have been posted before:











Source: Rituals

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#960 Re:  fiendblog
September 07, 2020, 10:23:13 am
Pic no.2 looks good, will have to check that out. Is 3 at the far end of Dorys?

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#961 Re:  fiendblog
September 07, 2020, 03:05:46 pm
Cheers. Pic 2 details here: http://fiendophobia.blogspot.com/2019/07/craig-galch.html , FZRIP is really good fun and there's a bit of new route potential on the walk-in.

3 is indeed Hard Very Far Right Dorys - Jacuzzi Dive, quite conventional and very pleasant of course. Ba'ath Party looked both blank and greasy alas.

I've been pretty slack with the esoterica and ledge shuffling this year for obvious reasons (with the exception of Lady Of Satan at Avon Gorge which definitely fits the bill for fun and quality). I hope to get imminently more organised this autumn as it would be the best thing to give genuine climbing pleasure whilst fitting around my injuries...

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#962 fiendblogExtremes.
October 04, 2020, 01:06:24 am
Extremes.


Let's talk extremes. No not those extremes like Mild Extremely Severe i.e. E0. But extremes of media taste, in my case, music. I post a lot of stuff on Facebook and elsewhere that gets universally ignored so why not do it here too. Although this is a post with a purpose. Sometimes I wonder if I like extreme music through habit, or for the sake of extremity itself, or to keep playing the role as "that sociopathic weirdo who likes devil music". And then I hear some pure banging evil filth on my MP3 player and am headbanging to it at the wall or gym, and know that it's genuine. So in the spirit of that, here's some of the more extreme tracks I have genuinely loved recently and every time I hear them:


Kilbourne & Plexøs - Pain Becomes Pleasure (at 1:51:50 in video)
(Skip to 1:51:50 because fuck blogspot's inability to embed timestamps)
Only available as part of Kilbourne's mixes (including a better quality example here: https://soundcloud.com/discwoman/discwoman-94-x-kilbourne , an excellent mix overall). This is my headbang-of-the-year track, I can't resist it any time. In an era when a lot of hardcore is trying to be too clever with samples drops and chopping up tracks, this is refreshingly direct and banging as fuck. In fact it's as much like double speed techno as it is normal gabber. Fresh bleeps and stabs carried by relentless kicks and it works perfectly for me.

Leeloo - Sexta 
Also heavily featured on Kilbourne mixes. Christ, this track. This is the sort of track I heard partway through a mix and had to do a double take when it comes out of nowhere. Just listen to the melodic intro, this is the 1% of hardcore that is so fresh and invigorating. Uplifting and mesmerising and paired with beats that are bewildering and hard-hitting (do they run at 220 bpm.....or 440 bpm?!). Pure beauty and the beast vibes. I love it.

Drokz - Failure
Terrorcore (for those poor uncultured oafs who don't know) is a harder faster version of gabber (and actually used to be called speedcore before that got even faster) and is often a bit purposeless and pointless for me, speed and hardness for their own self-referential purposes. This 13 minute epic, rolling at 250 bpm after an intro longer than most actual pop songs) is NOT, it's a flagship example of extreme dance music that is properly crafted, atmospheric, melodic and constantly evolving as well as furiously intense. 

The Satan - Gangzta Cash


One of the anthems of the year thanks to PRSPCT records continued good taste and output, it's been featured in many of their mixes, and gets me grooving every time. In particular the organic wood-style breakbeats, a nice throwback to older gabber in which breaks were an important part of the flow energy. Throw in some bouncy bass, ravey stabs and a clear crisp production, and it's irresistible. As a bonus the artwork is brilliant.

Monolog - Hook Echo (End.user remix)
Another absolute gem that I first heard on a PRSPCT Quaranstream mix, from End.User himself. He applies his notorious breakcore skills to Monolog's dark EDM / DnB styles, and the result is fantastic. As soon as I heard it in the mix I knew I had to get it, and after a listen in the car I knew why I loved it so much - both the hugely expansive swirls of crystal clear sound, the wall of crisp breaks.....and the drop at 4:50, jesus fucking bass. Otherworldly sci-fi dnb masterpiece!

Dom & Roland  - Beach Bum
Well this might be a bit of a cheat as not only it is a fairly tame track by the consistently excellent DnB legend who created such ferocious masterpieces as Imagination, Maximus, Jungle Beast, etc, the main reason I like it is for the pure mellow surf twang vibes of the intro. Okay so the rest is pretty gnarly with a "grizzly bear with indigestion" bassline and militant beats. But it's the combination with those guitar licks that gets me. Who says harder DnB can't be fun??

...And Oceans - Cosmic World Mother
I'm not really a black metal fan, and I'm pretty not sure I'm not a symphonic black metal fan, so these Finns have done something pretty damn amazing to make this my album of the year. I listened to a bit one evening, thought it was promising, then listened to half the album on headphones in bed, and was mesmerised. A couple more listens in the car confirmed it: this album is a hell of an experience with the intensity starting immediately at 00:00 and finishing at 47:30. It does evolve somewhat from the starting blitz to a beautiful finale, but the wall of sound built from machine gun blastbeats, frenetic yet catchy guitars and soaring keyboards is epic, relentless, and to me, thrilling.

Ingested - Where Only Gods May Tread
Kings of SLAMchester!! I don't usually feel much affiliation with the city in which I skulk, but I'm happy to be sharing it with these guys. They sometimes get called slam metal or deathcore, but fuck it, I'm calling them the most reliable modern death metal band around. The whole sound is spot on, fast, heavy, varied, crunchy riffs, melodic leads here, blasts there, bassy drops now and then. But for me the vocals stand out - yes of course they're shrieked and growled, but Jason not only has a broad enough range to make you believe there's 2 or 3 vocalists at work, the vocal pacing matches the music perfectly, much better than most other death metal I hear. Having that extra "harmony" of sound, vocals used as an instrument as well as a weapon, it's great.

Disentomb - Collapsing Skies
A short but perfect intro to their "Decaying Light" album (with it's general high quality death metal and great cover). I just love the epic riff at the start of this, heavy and haunting. Throw in some methodical blastbeats and extra lead melodies, and it's pretty much perfect. 2 minutes is not enough!


Konvent - Puritan Masochism
I've got an entirely predictable "thing" for women doing extreme music, I find it particularly enticing to hear brutal sounds created by the so-called "gentler sex" (is that even a thing any more? who knows, who cares). But of course the music has to stand in it's own right, and bloody hell does this track and album. Mid-paced doom-death built on riffs, riffs, and, well, you've got proper vocals from the abyss and a lovely guitar tone with fuzzy distortion like a gentle caress of barbed wire, but....riffs!! Catchy as absolute fuck. If you're not head-nodding immediately.....there is no hope.


*BONUS*:
Technical Itch - Creature Of War VIP
Okay I had to stick another DnB track in to balance things out, albeit an older one from a few years back. This is utterly ferocious and that's pretty much why I like it. It's still recognisably drum and bass with all the rhythm and complexity that entails, just turned up to a level of intensity that perfectly befits the name.

Finally. If you like any of this stuff, go to Bandcamp or similar, search for it, buy it and more. Support these guys and girls, they're putting the effort in to creating amazing sounds.


Source: Extremes.

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#963 fiendblogHappier times
October 10, 2020, 01:00:05 pm
Happier times


Rewinding a bit to earlier in the year, in that brief window post-lockdown-recovery and pre-MCL-and-elbow-injury, where things were bright and happy and full of climbing potential. Okay, okay, so things were mostly full of sitting on bolts at Peak Lime chossholes, but sometimes that sitting was interspersed with upwards motion and sometimes that motion resulted in success and confidence. Confidence that I was just about ready to apply to trad.....just before I found myself with two limbs out of action. Before then I'd just been dabbling, keeping my hand in, whilst using the sport for training, but still managed a few nice routes...

Frostbite, Wilton 2
I'd given this a thorough clean at last year's Wiltonfest (before trying to casually romp up Falling Crack, slipping off whilst casually clipping a cam, and ending up tangled in the rope, sizeable arse over tit, in front of Hank Pasquill, and then slinking off in a sulk). The diligence of my cleaning was rewarded as when I came back this year, it was both obviously unclimbed and obviously still in great condition. Thankfully a summer of anal retentive micro-beta note-taking about redpoint projects had erased all useful information gained from my abseil cleaning, so I could set off with a clear mind and discover that it was a very good, pushy little multi-crux two-star testpiece.

 
Jasper, Stoney Middleton
Notable for two reasons. The first was a sign that pushing myself regularly on sport was having some benefits: Coel was initially appalled by the idea - "You're REALLY warming up on an E3?!" - "Well yes, that's about F6b+, and I'm regularly warming up on/above that, and I can see the gear should be pretty obvious too". When F6c is not longer hard and F6b feels like a rest.... And yes it was fine, and yes this was a good indication I could have done okay this summer / autumn. Secondly....JASPER! My friends' Dunc and Berie's tabby tomcat whom I used to hang around with / cuddle / harass / get scratched by quite regularly when I lived in Sheff. Lovely grumpy old oaf! I'd always intended to climb this route with Duncan, but after a mere two days climbing with him this summer, he'd spannered his wrist with his mid-life crisis choice of skateboarding and trying to show off to teenagers, and I couldn't wait any longer. So sorry Dunc, but here's to the memory of Jasper <3.

Anyway....

It's now been nearly two months since I injured myself. I am still injured but things are easing off, just as the weather has started crapping out more reliably of course ;). Plentiful gym rehab, a fair bit of moorland romping / recceing, and sporadic light climbing is helping my knee feel more mobile and resilient, although I haven't tried running again after the last debacle. Easing right off on my climbing and tweaking my eccentric / rehab program is helping my elbow.....not get any more injured at least. Physio consultations imply it's not too bad, but it's certainly inhibiting me a lot. However there's a glimmer of hope! I started some tentative falling practise the other day (on lead, I'm still too wary bouldering) and that was fine on my knee swinging directly into the wall, so at least there is something (important) I can train. In the meantime, more bumbling recaps:

Piggy And The Duke, Crowden Towers
Coel was keen for Arabia, I was unusually willing to give Kinder a go as an alternative to the gym for leg rehab, so I forced myself up there. Fuck me it was grim. I had to rest 4 or 5 times on the final slog up Crowden Clough. No....it never gets any easier with DVTs. All I can do is be more gentle on myself and take it slower. Anyway, Arabia was in a howling gale, so we did a circuit of the South Eastern Edges, via this scenic sandbag, then on to Herford's Route on the Pagoda, an even worse sandbag on which the final ankle-breaking mantle-above-a-ledge had me seriously questioning whether this was sensible knee rehab, and finally down Jacob's Ladder and a vow never to go up there again until I've forgotten what the walk-in is like, which given I was just browsing Nether Tor whilst trying to find this route name, I might have already done, sigh.


Emmenthal, The Range
Now on to the proper stuff. Proper knee AND elbow rehab as it's ledge shuffling in the most ledge shuffly sort of way. Proper spirit-lifting mental rehab as as well as being easy it's also bonkers, fun, inspiring, characterful and intriguing. The weather was good, the scenery was lovely, Jodie and Kai were game for an adventure and liked the fun of it all, and we got to watch an amusing seal ruckus . And my knee only got one tiny twinge, standing up from rigging an abseil. Okay I did get multiple torso lacerations from failing to post myself through the chimney slot on Big G's The Old Steam Piano (one to go back for when it's dry), but it was a small price to pay. After warming up at The Range and another tentative but eventually pleasing day at Smurf Zawn, I managed to nourish my soul further doing Mantrap in Mousetrap Zawn which was just brilliant and my route of the year I think, cheers Luke for coming along for the ride. All of which was perfect, if expected, confirmation that adventurous / esoteric sea-cliffs are exactly what is good for my mind and body in the current state, despite the rarity of being able to rouse partners for such pleasures. It's still in my mind for some winter sun days (albeit depending on how draconian the Welsh covid-5G rules AND associated racist vigilante nationalism get too).


The Crunge, Craig Y Forwyn
Williams and Muzza P were bleating on about how great Craig Y Forwyn was. I turned up and almost all of it apart from the Great Wall looked like a direct and dire mixture between Wye Valley and Willersley. Ugh. Turns out that despite most of the crag being less aesthetically inspiring than a single hold on The Range, the rock is actually quite decent, full of hidden horizontal breaks, and actually climbs really well for limestone. I should have more faith given it's A55 / Llandudno area which is infinitely superior to any greasy crumble in the Pennine dales. Talking of which, the BMC should stop pissing around renovating the world's worst sport climbing on the fringes of Horseshoe, and instead purchase Forwyn main cliff, nuke all the ivy, install some bolt lower-offs, and purchase a caravan in the park below as a climber's mini-hut #realtalk




The day after we did a bit at Marine Drive and Crinkle Crags which was great as usual, saw a goat, lots more seals, wind turbines, etc etc. 

Anyway that's it for now. I'm cultivating a fine balance of being grumpy that I've missed getting away, but also being vaguely inspired for gritstone which is pretty essential at this time of year.



Source: Happier times

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#964 Re:  fiendblog
October 11, 2020, 09:48:03 am
Good stuff as usual.. but yes your grumpy-o-meter must be on a high setting to think Forwyn is urghh. Although tbf if you climbed on the left-hand side (Crunge etc.) then yes, it is. But going to Forwyn to climb on the left-hand end is akin to asking for burger & chips in a Michelin starred restaurant.

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#965 Re:  fiendblog
October 11, 2020, 11:31:45 am
But going to Forwyn to climb on the left-hand end is akin to asking for burger & chips in a Michelin starred restaurant.

😂

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#966 Re:  fiendblog
October 11, 2020, 08:08:49 pm
Ehhhhhh!!

I ssid that the Main Wall area didn't look like the rest, and that even the stuff I did was a lot better than it looked, due to be North Wales Limestone.

I was mostly limited to the flanks due both a plethora of injuries and also partners who might have struggled to follow complex meandering stuff. I'd have given my left bollock to have my knee and elbow miraculously cured at the crag and be fit enough to try Great Wall. Anyway. I did some E2 on the right with twin pegs in and that was really nice until the grotty finish. I'll be back when I'm fit for sure.

Also my grump-o-meter starts on high as the lowest setting. It usually gets cranked up to beyond 11...

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#967 Re:  fiendblog
October 11, 2020, 11:18:02 pm
 :thumbsup:

The E2 sounds like The Groan.. decent but not a patch on either The Snake or Sangfroid Direct, both superb (and probably soft E3..). Loads of good routes in the main area now following cleaning efforts during the first lockdown. Decent autumn venue after a couple of dry days, if Wales ever reopens. Need to be a bit fit to appreciate the place as most things are steep and pumpy on flat crimps with bomber gear. Great Wall starting traverse seeps longer than most other stuff, wait for a dry spell as many have blown it on the tricky start.

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#968 fiendblogYears Passing
December 09, 2020, 01:00:12 pm
Years Passing

Okay so this is a month out of date now but the last month hasn't been particularly conducive to communicating about climbing.... Rewinding from to early November in recent years....

2017 - Great summer climbing, wet autumn, but still very psyched....then made a couple of wee mistakes (more on them below).

2018 - Mediocre summer being ill but at least doing sport climbing, great autumn having recaptured my trad psyche and ability, pretty reassuring.

2019 - So-so summer having regressed with trad psyche and ability, but a great autumn bouldering and exploring in Wales, a fresh perspective.

2020 - Okay summer sport climbing and getting fully fit, then complete emergency stop due to double injuries, lost all of autumn trad season, and then the weather minged out just as I'd started to recover. Bollocks.

So I'm writing this because it's the 3rd anniversary of contracting norovirus, not recovering, and getting a mild but chronic digestive disorder, that still persists and inhibits me, from potentially nice days out, to indoor wall training when Lord Bozzer graciously allows us, to home workouts when he doesn't. Still there, still nagging me, still holding me back. It comes and goes but when it's there, life and climbing still feels a bit grayscale. But it is getting better year by year, who knows I might not be re-hashing this tedious shite for the 10th year anniversary.

More usefully for me to note (and hopefully my sporadic climbing partners to tolerate): I've had a realisation recently. I had assumed that my decreasingly frequent but still existent nausea bouts would have mostly physical after-effects on climbing: Queasiness, lack of energy, tiredness, lack of core tension etc. And thus that I'd struggle to do physically hard climbing, but be okay with easier but more committing climbing. 

BUT. Experience has shown it's the other way around. The subtle psychological after-effects, particularly an underlying vulnerability, seem to consistently make easier but committing climbing harder to cope with than simple, less-psychological, but physically harder climbing (in which the initial wobbliness seems to get overriden by adrenaline and focus). 

Looking back on various bouts / attempted climbing, this has been a fairly common correlation: A bout in El chorro - couldn't climb the day after but the next day fine on the sport despite feeling ropey. Ditto with a mild bout in Pfalz. Double bout (two nights in a row) in North Wales whilst bouldering, managed to boulder both days after again despite feeling wasted. 2018 when they were really regular, I managed to get into redpointing and cope fine. Minor bout before Egerton early summer 2019, felt iffy all day, couldn't cope with trad and started a downward trend that year. Smurf Zawn late summer, mild bout the night before, just felt spooked and timid the day after. Standing Stones recently after prior and slightly recurring bout, couldn't deal with any boldness (but could visualise how okay bouldering would be). 

Sport / bouldering / training (subject to being uninjured) have been more suitable than sketchy trad (as glorious as that is). Something to take into account and hopefully use to try to halt and revert the vague downward trend of recent years. At the moment, my knee has recovered to at last 90%, my elbow rehab is going much slower but seems to be progressing and I'm being cautious, I'm working on flexibility more....and now we can train indoors for a while at least (until the great post-Xmas covid spike / granny massacre gives an excuse for another lockdown...).

Anyway here's some photos of a nice sky from during lockdown2 when I travelled a short distance for outdoor exercise whilst meeting a single person from another household:





Bonus: A bit later on, here's me at the same crag also doing outdoor exercise whilst meeting a single person from another household, alas without a comparable sky, but with butchered brightness levels at dusk ;). Bonus points for guessing the problem:









Source: Years Passing

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#969 Re:  fiendblog
December 09, 2020, 01:02:38 pm
Shit blog. More moaning, more navel-gazing. At least the sunset pictures are okay tho.

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Catching up on much bouldering.


Yeah this is a bit overdue. Blanket lockdowns irrespective of transmission risk, recovering from previous injury, winter weather, what-fucking-ever. It's spring now, the Lime Caller set a new benchmark of farcically bad lime calls with a call just before blizzards hit the Peak and then it went back to crisp grit connies. The punishment being that May started with a monsoon oh well. So here's a catch up on stuff I fitted in here and there. Esoteric gems ahoy!!


Grit Oddities 2 - Yorkshire
A right smorgasbord of all sorts! Roadside highballing, moorland pebble-pulling, woodland crimping, urban roofs... And some real personal challenges.

Photo Finish 7A (7A+?)
Something that inspired me a couple of years ago and turned into a proper seige... It got right into my brain and the middle couple of sessions had me leaving thinking "fuck this" (trying to move my left hand whilst holding the high gaston had me wanting to headbutt the crag and chew the pads in frustration), only to return again despite myself... And well, yeah, it is ace overall.

For Locals Only 7A+ (7A(!)?)
Local exercise and all... Actually this should be on *everyone's* wishlist (especially after I thoroughly cleaned it on ab on a previous visit). Brilliant fingery pop to a jug, then a life-affirming highball finish - that had me shaking with adrenaline for many minutes! A 10 second walk-in means it's easy to lug pads in, and then there's the project wall just right...

Pochette Surprise 6C (6C+/7A?)
This had been on my radar for a while, and I finally braved the alpine approach fucked legs and my stack of pads, and of course it was totally worth it - it has an all out pebble move for God's sake! I had to summon a lot of faith and my face at the end says it all.

Pocket Pull Pond 6C
Terrible name for a really cool problem. Although the pond over the top was solid ice which was quite fun. A rather scenic spot but prone to returning to nature at quiet a sprint, hence any highballing plans were abandoned in favour of this cool face climb which took all my determination to stay adhered to the middle crimps!

Stone Love 6A/6B (6A+?)
An unknownchoss.com special! Is it downgrading Will Hunt or upgrading dunnyg?? Who cares, it's actually a pretty neat little problem despite the coarse and "newish" rock. Definitely worth a detour from the honeypots for.

Galling Groove 6C+ (6B+/C?)
A mini-gem which just about transcends it's fairly grotty adjacent rock with a neat line, neat height, and neat moves. Go there on a nice day.

Busta Groove V5 (V6 w/o kneepad?)
A pro-tip from Jordan that this can dry quick despite it's woodland location, but this one is Nao's problem. Just plain good fun. I couldn't the knee to work enough to reach the top direct so hard to rely on a toe-hook - rare for me and quite satisfying.



Grit Oddities 2 - Peak
Aretes? Aretes!

Geisterspiel 7A
One of Mark20's nu-skool classics at Rivelin Quarries - and on the same day someone was working his nu-skool classic E7 at the far left too! I've had some fun days with M20 - he wears ron hills, has a pet dego, and likes a bit of black metal. I was totally psyched to do this problem as it is legitimately brilliant, as good as any grit arete despite the lack of top-out. Great compression moves and a cheeky toe-scum for me to finish. 

James' Arete 6C (6B+?)
Another new addition, not sure of the actual name! With all of the base-of-crag bouldering gems scattered along it, I was speculating that Rivelin Quarry now has a better circuit than Bas Cuvier. Except less pof, quieter vibes, less hordes of bellends, etc....

Sambucus 6C (6C+?)
King lines come to Woolley Edge! An undeniable classic of esclating difficulty and a committing move to a clean top-out.

Lessons In Depth 7B (7A)
Grade change due to using different beta from Mike Adam's first ascent on every single move! Then again if you're a 6 foot 8C climber you might not be looking for 7A vs 7B beta, even if you could tell the difference... Despite it's proximity to the mud slope, this is another great problem with flowing and involved movement.

Gazelle 7A+ (6C/+?)
The problem I initially went to do and left me standing around wondering "oh, what next?". Another good line despite the grading nonsense, slightly easier and not quite as fine as Sambucus, but makes a good triptych!

Pepper Mill V5
A rare visit to conventional pastures, although according to G, this gets relatively little attention, despite, of course, it being brilliant. It was bloody freezing in the wind, and having to wear wellies for the "Scotland+++" bog level walk-in, my feet went numb and didn't thaw out for 45 mins with the car heater on full.

Kappix 7A
A salvaged day, and indeed salvaged problem, when the Peak was snowbound and the frosting on the trees at Harthill was quite beautiful. We went to try Scrapheap Challenge - I built as best a tyre platform as I could and was trying the strict starting method. I lunged for the lip hold, spun off leftwards and missed the pads, so we moved them. A few more goes, I half caught the lip hold, long enough to swing rightwards and miss the pads on that side.... We moved onto Kappix which had a really cool move to stood up and I had to finish rightwards as I couldn't do the reach leftwards. Later video browsing showed people doing Scrapheap without that eliminate start and with about 30 tyres padding the landing instead of 6....



Baildon Bonanza
I've always liked Baildon for routes. Now I like it for bouldering too.

Who Are We... 7A+
The kingest of lines! Terrible name (bollox to dad rock), beautiful problem. It hadn't been on my radar as it's at the very upper fringes of my ability, but then I started playing around... And yes, it really is that good, especially with this more natural start and static finish (I loved my impromptu press off the groove to get my weight up). Celebrity spotting by DJ Perc and Jarvis Cocker!

The Baildon Stem 6C+
Done as a consolation prize after being unable to get near the rat crimp start of Quaint Groove, but fun in it's own right. Not sure about this foot in the chip malarkey, but this way seemed natural to me. 

The Mantel 7A (6C+?)
This was the catalyst for my Baildon bouldering. I'd always assumed it would be too hard and too thuggy for the short and heavy, actually it's just plain great fun. Once I worked out I could do it, it made my day.

Suggy's Wall 7A
It took quite a few visits to get on this when it's not too hot (i.e. above 0'C for this problem!!) or seeping. A lovely bit of wall with some very small crimps on the crux and an E1 5b finish that has never seen E4 6b in it's life!!

The Oik SS 6C+ (6C?)
Strong line, soft grade - I'd have flashed it if I'd cleaned the slightly scrittly finger ramp properly. A nice problem from the sitter or the stand, also my ex-girlfriend had cats she'd nicknamed "greedy wee oiks", so I'm fond of the name.



Peak Slabs In The Woods Triptych
A fun concept to explore: Cool slabs hidden on boulders in the woods below main crags!

Sunset Crack 7A (6C/+?)
Terrible name, brilliant problem. Great location, great rock, gentle landing, a distinctive chickenhead feature to go for, continuous moves, and lots of little features to work out a sequence on. One of the best in the Peaks!

Yorkshire Farmer 6C+ (6C?)
This might have been put up by one of UKC's prime headpunting chodes, but it's still a great find. Crimpy! I also did the more direct version where you don't swerve onto the ramp at the last minute, also good and not much harder.

Dreamboat Direct 6C/7A (6C+?)
Not really a slab at all where it matters - more like a vertical wall on which you have to hold on really hard on some minging rounded, frictional holds. Hence struggling like balls on my first session and having to come back and cruise up it in much fresher conditions. Still a cool bit of rock in a nice location (but scarcely 100m below the main crag) and the spooky stand-up out of the starting pocket is slabby enough....



Clattering Stones Circuit:
Somewhere that I'd always wanted to visit, both due to the cool-sounding circuit but also a relatively easy drive from home. But it's the furthest West-most grit in Yorkshire on a North-facing slope and the amount of times I've driven up out of Nelson into swirling mizzle and CLART and had to continue on to Scout Hut or Baildon or wherever... Finally got there in a fine dry period with a forecast of fog lifting to sunshine, well it didn't but the rock was bone dry and it was a great day.

Linea Negra 6C+
The first bit of rock that appealed to me, with a lovely selection of subtle features in an equally subtle scoop. Unfortunately it turns out that the obvious method is to crank past most of it, thus getting it done pretty quickly. If you're at this boulder for a while, trying to work out every possible method on this problem would be fun.

Fontanelles 6C+
A very attractive wall with climbing to match. A bit tricker for the short as I couldn't do the "reach off good left sidepull to high right edge" method, and had to combine a cheeky toe hook with a terrible smear for the right hand for alternate beta.

Androsterone 7A
The highlight of the day! Not only a technical delight with full usage of the toe-catch and thoughtful hand sequences, but a real fight trusting the distant left foot and reaching the top. I felt satisfied and my fingers felt worked after this.

Morning Sickness static 6C (6C+?)
I tried the dyno. Fuck dynos. I'm short, heavy, and despite strongish legs, very slow and not springy. The static sequence, despite the guidebook nonsense, is at least as good - varied, technical, and precarious. Distinctly harder than LN and F for me, but if you were a few inches taller and could use either the first lip sloper properly, or the main lip sloper, it would be a lot easier.

Love Handles 6B+
This took a fair bit of scrittle brushing off the top. Cool line though, with switching laybacks.

-------

That's it for now. Maybe more of the same catching up soon-ish!



Source: Catching up on much bouldering.

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Catching up on more bouldering.

Part 2...

Lancashire - Shady Bits
Perfect places to escape the summer heat and still get your quarried crimping fix.

Resurgence 7A+ (7A?)
One of my favourite problems! The moment when I fully weight the right hand jug at the crux and everything else comes off....I loved it. Good climbing all the way, and whilst the standing start adds some nice moves, it doesn't tire you out enough to add to the difficulty of the crux section (unless your skin was really pureed for the crimps). The natural sitter tho....I can believe that adds two grades.

Brian Jacques 7A
A very red bit of crag! Not easy to find in condition but worth it, and it's a nice stroll. This cool problem didn't take long, but then I completely failed to do Hawkeye 6C (maybe skin and/or conditions were deteriorating...).

Cordless Power 7A
Somehow, counter-intuitively squeezed in on a day when the whole of Northern England was raked with gales and storms, even nearby Longridge was freezing and seeping. Well Cardwell was just freezing and I managed to do this eventually, only after discovering the unauthorised beta. A good problem in a lonely setting but the outgoing view is nice.

The Pursuit Of Slappiness 7A
Almost a king line if it wasn't for that pesky crack at the start, but the rules make sense and it climbs really well. Plus with the extended finish it has plenty of excitement at the top - it got my cold black heart racing a bit.

Mirth Of Ducks 7A (6C)
Reunion Wilderness's perfect shadier twin - similar difficulty, just as good a line, more balanced climbing, and less scary overall. And again the top is a good spot to sit and take it all in...

Troy A Little Tenderness SS 7A (6C+?)
More semi-eliminates with good moves (and different potential sequences). I thoroughly scrubbed the lower bit of this and smoothed out the landing so it would go from a natural sitter, although it doesn't add any difficulty. Although the climbing is fun, the quality of the goose honking is better.

Two For One 7A
More hidden gems. I got psyched seeing pictures of the Lancs Rock Revival crew on this and it lived up to the promise, not too hard but the teetering around took a bit of working out.


Grinshill - Bouldering Gems
A selection of bouldering (not soloing!) gems from around the Grinshill woodland. Somewhere pretty different to explore and while some of the rock needs a gentle touch the variety and lines are really good.

Utopia 6C+
...Or 7A if you don't tape around your finger joint for the "awesome" (i.e. brutal!) crux pinch. Very cool board style problem, steeper than it looks but with a leaf pile bouncy castle beneath you.

Third Brother 7A
And now for something completely different... Unusual and very cool climbing with a cheeky head-smear during the crux, couldn't quite believe it worked. (The arete to the right is Terminator / L'Angle Shropfait, just a bit too hard for me)

Eliminator 6C
The slightly easier version using the footledge out left, 6C+ without this. A tricky and burly bugger that took me quite a few goes. Ticking the trio of up lines on this block (go in a dry spell with a breeze) in a day would be delightful.

Ice Cream SS 6C
A "prince line" with great climbing despite the lack of top-out (which could be excavated if you need to add on a MVS mantel). Enough holds to be steady but enough trickiness to be nicely knacky. 

A Shropshire Mon 7A+
Climbed with The Nesscliffe Monster heckling and providing good chat and local knowledge! A serious single session siege that boiled down to a crucial kneebar that only just stayed in on the successful go. Burly but just the right amount of features to be pleasingly positional too.

Doug's Face 6C+ (6C)
A minor problem but a fun battle to stay attached first go.


Lancashire - Suntraps
Sunny places to get your quarried grit fix if it's a bit cold.

Rusty Wall 6C+ (7A strict?)
One of the highlights of my recent-ish bouldering! A really satisfying and technically intense highball with a top-out that was unfeasible until I spent two hours in the pissing sleet re-excavating it (which also works for the classic Colt 7C). It still took a couple of sessions, and I think is purer this way rather than using the edge of the left crack at the top.

Lifeline 6C
Another technical delight albeit a much more amenable one, a little gem. Done after an aborted visit to a bitterly cold wind-swept Wilton, whilst this had enough winter sun to feel gentle.

Boopers 6B
Talking about sun I tried this in late spring after the first 2020 lockdown, and it felt hard. So I went back in a snowstorm and it still felt hard! Definitely a good problem.

Crimping Cows 6C?
Not listed in the book, this is what I made of r-man's Leaping Cows dyno except using the holds instead ;). Seemed to work pretty well.

Alison's Route SS 7A
Climbed just after Haydn's deluded "Calling Of The Lime" in 2021 (and whilst it was snowing in the Peak). Despite Ousel's being a suntrap and lacking breeze that day, it was really crisp and nippy and these problems felt good despite being tough on the fingers. Classic base-of-crag quarried grit.

Zendik 7A
As above but I needed to put a beanie on! This was quite cool for a "diagonal line in the middle of nowhere" and took a bit of working out for the finish.

Phat Haendel 6B
Scenic and lovely to be out in the snow! 

Reunion Wilderness RH Eliminate  6C (6C(!))
Quite exciting and committing - the crux feels like you could spin off and end up somewhere in that lovely background scenery. Okay, yeah, it's an eliminate, but it's only one rule and everything else is cool about it. And you thought Lancashire was all grotty lowballs in dingy quarries....


Cheshire Life - Exploratory sandstone bouldering
A tour around some diverse and exciting areas. Time to stray away from the chalk and queues at Pisa Wall!

Cheshire Life V5 (V6?)
I didn't know Cheshire life was actually that burly, I thought it was all daintily desperate like Pex and Harmer's, but apparently thugging through roofs is a valid lifestyle choice. I found this pretty tough and comparable to Colton's Crack. 

Knit One V5 (V3/4?)
A bit of light relief but worth it as it's a nice line. I cleaned and trimmed the top but it was still a bit goey on my own, it would be fine with a spotter.

Self Harmer V6
Bloody brilliant. While waiting for ATDI to come into the shade, I thoroughly cleaned this unjustly neglected problem off, and did it soon after, and it was my favourite experience at Harmer's - the mega-rockover from a 1½ finger 1/3 pad edge to a thumbsprag, teetering around in the middle, and then I couldn't find any smear in the right place for the final move, so......

At The Drive In V6 
I was seduced by the prospect of two actual good holds (!), and this became quite an obsession for me (after cleaning it and waiting ages for the seepage to stop), although a fair amount of that obsession was giving up on the RH-slot, LF-pocket rockover and fixating on a desperately reachy way around it on smears that was a sub-5% move for me. Then I found a different method for the authorised rockover beta and it was okay on the 4th session....

Queen Of Hearts V4 (V5?)
More Harmer's magic. I've often gone here hoping to rattle off a few vertical testpieces, then 2+ hours later when finally I've teetered up one, scarcely believing what I'm hanging on to, I'm more than satisfied with a lone problem. QOH is much harder than Yate's Layway and has a tiny diagonal pinch at the crux and a lovely juggy mono to signify it's all going to be okay.

Colton's Crack V6
Frodsham fun! This has got all the monkeying around you'd expect from the crag, except you do have to pull on a minging small crimp mid-way through it. When I topped out a lady's dog was standing right on the edge sniffing at me bemusedly :).

Suffering Slab 6C+
No tears please, it's a waste of good suffering. Another neglected climb I brushed up well, in fact the whole wall is neglected and and deserves more attention. Apparently this problem has Rules, I didn't really know what Rules I should be obeying and TBH have had quite enough of fucking Rules over 2020/21, so I just climbed what felt right at this standard and it felt natural and was an ace problem too.

Heath Ledger Direct V5?
Another one where I wasn't sure about sides of the arete and chips and stuff, but hell it's a good line and good fun so there you go.


Lancashire - Wiltons
World class routes....but I'd never properly sampled the bouldering until recent years. And there's some really good stuff, especially if you explore around...

Ell's Arete 6C
Definitely world class, as good as anything on grit (Technical Master?? Pffft, what's that??). 3 hours cleaning and top-out excavation in the minging weather, 3 minutes light brushing the now-pristine rock in a cold dry spell, it should hopefully stay clean for a while especially if people actually go and do it instead of fucking around on chalk-caked shite like The Move or whatever.

Children Of Arachne 7A (6C/+?)
A cool "tight line" problem. It felt easy in perfect conditions but given it's all positive crimps I doubt it's that conditions-reliant. I really liked the crossed-double-gaston move to hold my balance!

Flywalk Slab 7A (6C?)
A nice steady problem on nice crimps. TBH the much harder and higher Jim's Slab 7A+ rocking up left from the slot is the true inspiring line here, but too hard and high for me!

Snakey B 6C+ (6B+/C)
Another nice steady problem, the sitter adds no difficulty but is a nice start. I slipped off the final jug on a flash go, oh well.

Purple Haze 7A (6C/+?)
A lovely attractive one move wonder. I first did this on a sunny, if breezy, June day when I was out of practise post-lockdown1, and found it no harder than Gameplay (which I tried and didn't manage on the same day), but it might be a bit knacky... 

Camille Claudel 6B (6A?)
Brilliant! Lovely slab climbing with a committing feel, it's all in the feet. Would be 4+ in Font. 

Gameplay 6A (6B+/C?)
A bit of a hidden gem I think?? Doesn't get much attention and I never saw chalk on it. But it's great, committing, varied, slopey and thoughtful - totally understarred and undergraded (much better and harder than Snakey B for example).

Common Knowledge 6C 
Another problem that doesn't see as much attention as it should maybe?? Just proper quality climbing.

JR's Soft Shoe Shuffle 7A
After an autumn of injury and an early winter struggling to get back into things, this was the problem that roused me from a stupor of easy mileage (and it's quite good for golfer's elbow as there's nothing you can pull hard on!). I got really psyched by the pure thin slabness of it all, and it took a couple of visits including this bitterly cold one - satisfying!


....I think that's it for now, for dedicated bouldering videos at least. Next time I might include more moaning or something.


Source: Catching up on more bouldering.

 

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