Monday, 27 February 2012

Trigger Happy

Trigger happy, that’s me. Once again the cave has sucked me in for the week. Its got to the point when I went there even though it was nice enough to climb in the hills… I have snuck up on her she hasn’t noticed its me so far and accidentally she’s letting me get to the top. I think yesterday its possible she noticed as I fell into one of her traps, expectation. She swiftly deployed a kick and I found myself unable to do the moves, worse still she greased up one of her holds and deposited me on my arse from a great height causing a rather sore cheek. I am deciding whether to turn the other cheek or to avoid her for a bit till she calms down.

Before that though I had a strange experience, sat in V12 it seemed a fools errand to go at all. The temperature was rising clouds were hugging the earth and driving down in the drizzle the Orme was covered in a claggy grey hat. As I turned down past the theatre it was blue sky and windy on the right hand side, strange days indeed. Instead of the gopping condensation I feared I found lovely cool breezy dry rock, further proof that prediction of condition is difficult best. The objective was Daisy from Concrete, an unrepeated Davies link. I had tried this in soapy condition after doing Halfway last week. Part of the attraction the cave is it does tempt you into believing you can add a different section, swapping starts and finishes, and keep on adding to it till you end up with something great. Although when you start to look to deeply at this it all seems a bit pointless, best not to dwell on it after all there is very little point to much of life, and I only make myself sad thinking about that. Anyway, first redpoint saw me drop the move to the little jug, I hit it a bit too far left and carried on swinging when I was supposed to stop. A rest and the next 2 redpoints were worse, this is when the pointlessness creeps into my brain, 4th go I felt great till a foot pop on the move before the little jug. Doylo’s words “if you ain't done it in 3 goes you wont do it” came into my head now. Some more resting and psyching up, 5th go dropped the first move which made a change to dropping the end, and 6th go made it through catching the little jug, and shockingly swinging off on the final jug. Gutted, sure that by now I had blown my wad I moved on and worked on the start of Crucial Times for an hour. I rested up for half an hour before trying it once again, mainly as a training exercise, but I did it instead, which was nice.

Next on the list was Broken Heart into Trigger Cut, after coming close on Friday I was shit on Sunday and did it on Monday.  Brilliant.  So this all brings me to the thorny issue of grades for these things, with Halfway Doylo had already done it so that was relatively simple for me.  Daisy I think is hard 8a maybe 8a+, certainly a bit harder than Halfway, and Broken Trigger is the hardest of the three for me, soft 8a+ with the knees?  Maybe or maybe I am wrong and they are all piss, who knows?  Certainly not me.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Halfway House

My blissful resurgence in love for the cave is continuing. This week I managed to do Halfway House, which is nice, even if as the name suggests it is a mere stepping stone to greater things.  An immediate shift to the bottom of Lou Ferrino sees where this will end up, however the seepage in there at present makes it all a bit hard.  Maybe in the summer...  For the time being its great, you don't often get to the top of a new problem in here, in fact a day where you do a move for the first time is good never mind a problem. 

I also revisited Clyde for the first time in a long time.  It feels like maybe the cave will let me have this one soon, as long as I am a good boy and behave myself.  The gathering of Karma has begun with simple offerings to the crag gods.  The removal of litter from the cave, people can say what they like about it not being climbers that dump shit here, all I can say is its mainly old rags, chalk balls and finger tape so obviously its the local piss heads. 

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Cave + Hills = Happy

Days off dawned bright and sunny once more and finally Wales seems to be having a season.  I had rested for four whole days, and as normal I was shit first day on.  Normally this level of punter-dom would have annoyed me, this week I decided not to care.  Recently I have realised its going climbing I love, not sitting stressing about the hardest thing I can possibly do.  Obviously these little battles and sieges are a big part of working towards your limits and surpassing these is massively satisfying, but and its a big but, single minded determination is sharp on both sides, for me its good to relax and smell the roses sometimes.  So I headed out and put some effort into a project, used the best of my skin and energy before heading up to meet a team at the Mallory boulder.  After an amusing chat with an elderly lady about carrying mats all the way up the hill just to boulder, quote of the day:

"we just landed on the floor, mind you I suppose we occasionally broke our ankles"  

 I reached the bloc just as Si and Doylo were leaving the cars, which meant I could hang around and watch this sweaty mess storm through the heather cursing the walk.  After some attempts on Cosmic Wheels a great 7c/+ that I first climbed in 2002ish, and a few throws on Will, Huffys great 8a (I think it is anyway)  

Huffy on the first ascent.  I completed my aforementioned relaxing with a lovely Stella and a Stella view. 

After a few beers at the crag I retreated home and had a few more before hitting the heights for a few more and great plans were made for the following day, there was no one who wouldn't be out and no where that we couldn't go.  Suffice to say my recent sobriety saw me hammered, and at 8 am I checked to see if it was dry it wasn't and I felt like shit, so back to bed to try again in a couple of hours.  After a bacon butty, coffee and some ibuprofen I was back to a slightly less sweaty mess, with a sinking heart and a banging head I was put in Joe's van and taken to the Cave,   

Louis Armstrong 8b
Horror struck deep into my bones, here I was in this place once again, after a few years of avoidance it keeps on coming back to this climb inside or climb in the cave.  On arrival it was fairly dismal, but with much repeating of  "oh yes sticky damp" the team got stuck in, Jack surprised himself by almost doing Left wall High and Lou Ferrino, Joe got stuck in with redpoints on Lou Ferrino, finally free of the hernia that has stopped him trying for a while.  I amused myself by going from the start of Left wall to the start of Rockattrocity, which I instantly claimed was a problem in its own right that should be known as Pil 7c/+, Pete arrived and got rid of the /+ for me.  After this I dropped the last move of Halfway House due to it being sopping wet.  It appears that Cave Psyche is back for both Jack and I, and instantly we went back the next day, after dropping the last moves 3 more times in fairly horrific conditions I decided it wasn't a random fluke which made me happy.          

Lou Ferrino 7c+

Hold drying on Trigger Cut

All in all a great set of days off, the cave is back on my agenda, and it feels like this year I might even get one of the bigger lines done, I did get keen last week when I wrote that list.  Hopefully this time I will focus and follow through with one link rather than flutter about before doing another Lou Ferrino eliminate.  Still they are good.  

Saturday, 4 February 2012


Well as promised the weather was mintier than a mint with a hole.  After a couple of solitary days projecting, I walked into a large team being marshalled by General Panton, so I decided to tag along first up was the in vouge Craig Y Llyn, a few nice lines to warm up on in the sun, Voie normal was good and gavs problem up the hill was tricky.  We then headed up the road to Elephantitus, I love this crag but havent been much in the last few years.  You know the score ticked the crag so what's the point?  The point is everything is wonderful, after Elephantitus and Down on an Elephant I tinkered with Crossing through on Cross therapy, a couple of goes saw the move done and to my surprise it was still awesome.  After watching Caff use about a million holds where I use three the rest are too small you see; I realised why I my grades are out, its cos everyone else does different problems. On the Tusk where I originally did 3 moves to the top it appears you now do 6 and get a big heel hook.  Although to be fair this method is totally legit, I must have been good at jumping back then as I certainly didn't feel I would be doing do it that way again any time soon.  The best bit of Caffs sequence is that you actually use the cool slopers and after a bit of messing about I did it again with a combo of both methods.  Something in the training is working as on the big move of Downset I instantly hit the lip, after 4 goes I was sure that I could do it again, fortunately I didn't instead joining Neil on the sloppy lip to the left of the finish of Elephantitus, in the past whenever I had tried this I was climbing straight out from the back to the slopes which is not very good, as a finish to elephantitus it was cool, going at a tenuous 7b+ which  I called The Old Buccaneer, the better line would be to do Down on an Elephant into this but unfortunately I fell of and kicked Neil in the nuts, this must have been the second most unpleasant thing that happened to Neil that day the first being swimming in the lake.  He really is a bit special that one.  

The Old Buccaneer Photo Si Panton 

Neil rapidly realising its really cold

The following day was beautiful again and wilting arms and thin skin were traipsed up the hill to Sheep Pen, a long and lovely day spent  ticking all the class problems while watching Pete get close to Kingdom of Pain, The highlight for me was the second? ascent of Hocks problem Rumplestiltskin, after my messing around Pete flashed it and suggested it was easier than 7c, big surprise he thought it was 7b+.  I thought its the best conditions ever and a line that relies on heels and smallish crimps, so there you go.  I also re climbed my line up the prow to the left Terrapin which was better than I remembered, I thought this was a lot easier than the traverse and probably 7b rather than the 7b+ I gave it originally, (it was summer) again Pete flashed it and commented for anyone smaller than him it would be harder, but I am not smaller than him, so there you go again.

Cheers to Ollie Cain for the photos I am about to copy and paste!

Jack on The Pinch 7a

Neil on Pinch to Inch

Doing Gnasher Right hand 7a

And some video of stuff:


About 8 ish years ago some cunt burnt all the road building materials under a little cave know as Roadrunner, this set the hillside on fire and ruined the cave.  We went looked and left, never again would we sit getting stoned by the busiest road in North Wales between bouts of going up or down round and round with occasional Police visits asking what the hell we were up to. I was an addict more involved in there than I have ever been with any other bit of rock before or since.  Shortly before the burning I was swinging off the top of Diana From 3 separate starts the sit, an un-repeated 8a+ , at the time (probably only 8a really).  A reverse of the traverse V8 into said V12, and The Kung Foo Start again About V11/12.  Then the roadmen came, and work started for mouths on the tunnel or something, I went for a look but it was all dusty with roadwork ming.  Never mind I thought, they will fuck off soon and I will go back clean it and finish them all, it will be great.  Only it was not meant to be.  The bastards couldn't be arsed to clean up properly so chucked a match on it, imagine that , most of the time you walk away from your project thinking "its not going anywhere" well 3 of mine did, plus a few hundred hours of working moves. The shield to the right of Diana, we had only just started to progress on it, now it was gone.

Fast forward to about 3 -4 years ago I decided to clean it out, a few trips later it was in a climbable state, but I never finished it, this summer I went back and tried again, I re climbed the lines that were Diana, The Chauffeur and Beep.  The rock is still cracking but I came to a point where I realised that the more  I attacked it with a hammer all I was going to get was more cracking.  Then I realised it was always a bit chossy anyway.  The corner to the right fell down and in theory ruined the traverse before years before I ever climbed there.  Anyway I write this because someone was interested in finishing the job, good luck to them I say, I would like to think I would put the effort in but in all honesty if I was going to do it I would have finished it by now.   Here is some footage of the latest incarnation of the cave: