Saturday, 27 October 2012

Comp season begins

Friday saw the first round of the Alien Rock winter boulder series. I went along with a few members of the EUMC. This was my first, of many, competitions this season so I wasn't expecting anything particularly spectacular.
There were 30 problems in total, with 20 being in each category. I entered the male hard category so had to climb problems 11 to 30. I started well flashing everything until problem 16, which my foot slipped off just before the final hold. Problem 21, which was an odd sort of mantle/bridging route, proved quite difficult, although I got it in the end. I was especially pleased with my flash of problem 23, which I saw a lot of very strong climbers fall off. I finished with 230 points out of 300 which put me in 12th. With the number of strong climbers, and the fact that I don't really see myself as a boulderer, I am pleased with this result, although I do hope to improve.
On Saturday I headed to my usual weekend venue of Newtyle Quarry. I could probably have got some proper winter climbing in but I was psyched to get on DTS Spirit. DTS Spirit was put up my Jeff Mercier last year and was given the grade of M12, making it the hardest thing in the cave at the time. I wasn't too sure on the start so I started up Torchlite and made a big move to the first hook. All the moves on DTS are very large, there are 9 moves and 9 bolts. On my third attempt of the day I managed to link up to the 4th bolt then do all the moves up to the 7th bolt. To get to the 8th is a very big move, which I wasn't able to do. After talking to Greg Boswell this evening I now know where the route starts and where it joins Fast and Furious. I felt utterly shut down on this but I now have things to work on and something new to train for.
As one of my nomics currently has a broken handle I had to team my working nomic up with another axe. I started off by borrowing one of Scotts Grivel Force alloys. I used to really like these but today, compared to my nomic, they didn't feel that great. This is probably partly down to me being so used to my nomics, and that Scotts axes were a bit blunt. I then had a shot with Sandys old Fusion, they orange ones. These felt quite good really and the lower handle being set back so far made them very easy to swap hands on. Hopefully my nomics will be repaired soon.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Torch Lite

Today I returned to Newtyle quarry with Craig Holden. Craig has been meaning to go dry tooling for quite a while now and he is very strong so should be able to get quiet good once hes had a bit of practice.
I started by remembering the moves on Torch Lite (M11). I managed the route in 3 sections. Afterwards I belayed Craig on Fast and Furious before returning to try Torch Lite again.
My second attempt of the day went very well and before I knew it I was past my previous best of linking from the start, the 8th bolt, and I managed to push on and get to the good feet and hooks and take a sort of rest. I struggled a bit getting to the final clip as I missed the hold a few times but I managed to stop myself from falling. I finally managed to latch it, clipped the bolt, worked my feet up high into a position where I could push off and went for the last hold. From there I could swing my feet onto the hanging slab, which I almost missed, and reach over my head to clip the lower off.
I was completely boxed after doing this I could barely untie my knot.
I'm really pleased to get this climb, and reasonably quickly. I think that was my 7th attempt every. I had two back at the start of they year, one after linking FandF recently then two attempts on Saturday, then got it on my second attempt today. I think my next objective will be DTS Spirit as it is nice and short.
After climbing TL I went to try and demo some of the moves on FandF to Craig. I got to the 6th clip and then got the rope hooked around my axe which cause me to drop it. I then took and dropped my other axe. When I went  back to pick them up I found that the trigger had snapped off one of them, which I wasn't too pleased about.

(these pictures are from my last visit to Newtyle but I didn't get any today, and I thought I should probably put some in here)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

I went back to Newtyle today with Andly Inglis, Helen Rennard and Neil Adams. I wanted to do Fast and Furious again and work Torchlite. I warmed up on Fast and Furious, which I managed to do on my first attempt, and then did it again for a bit of practice. Neil also managed to tick this off.
Neil and I then had a short break and went to see what Andy and Helen were doing on the Happy Hooker wall.
We returned to the Tube after this short break to try Torchlite. Neil and I watched Andy on it first who has managed to link up to the final move before falling off previously.
On my first attempt today I managed all the moves but it was horrifically dogged. On my second, and final, attempt I linked the first 8 bolts, just over half way, and got pumped. I was feeling quite tired earlier but I knew that after the 9th bolt the climbing go a bit easier and that I could fashion a sort of rest. I then dogged to the end.

Hopefully when fresh I will be able to get this. If I did it would be the hardest dry tooling route I have completed.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

... and back again

Today I returned to Newtyle with Scott G. I managed to send Fast and Furious on my second attempt after watching some clever footwork from Scott which allowed me to have a good shake out. After this we attempted a route on the Happy Hooker wall which felt really hard. We think it was either M8 or M7. It felt much sketchier than Fast and Furious. After a few hours sieging  this we returned to the tube where I tried Torchlite, I only made it to the 8th clip with a lot of effort, and Scott tried Torchlite and Fast and Furious. I'm sure he'll get Fast and Furious soon as he was very close today.
Apologies for a lack of pictures but it was only us two there today.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Magical Mica

The weather wasn't looking to promising for Saturday so I wanted to go to Newtyle and kick off my tooling for the year. I managed to partner up with Scott G after asking for people to climb with on facebook, as apparently not many people like tooling. We met Neil Adams and Jim Higgins there and even Simon Yearsley turned up later on with his dog Bob.
It was raining a bit so we decided to climb in the tube all day and get strong on Fast and Furious. The tube, for anyone that doesn't know is a dirty big hole in the ground full of mud. The mud forms as minerals in the slate weather to form clays. I think micas are suseptible to this but without looking through my notes I can't say for sure. I also figure this has some sort of mica mineral in it as it has been metamorphosed. Id guess at Biotite but without actually properly looking at it under a microscope I can't say for sure.
I have blogged about Fast and Furious earlier in the year the first time I did it. It has been quite a while since then, and I managed to borrow Greg Boswells fruit boots for it so it made everything easier. This time I just had my normal winter boots and no-one to tell me where the hooks were or how to do the moves. I had 5 attempts at it in total, none of them clean, although I got to the top on everyone.
My first attempt was quite poor as I had to remember where all the hooks were and where my feet should go. On my second attempt I managed to get to the 6th clip, although we miss out the first 2, before I pulled out too far on my axe and the hook popped. On my subsequent 3 attempts I got to the 7th clip before I fell. It is this clip I find the hardest as I have to use a very specific foot sequence to clip off.
Hopefully when fresh, and now that I know the moves, it should go down.

Tops off for power

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Tooling Around

I haven't posted here in a while so here is a bit of a catch up and a run down of what I have been up to.
Firstly uni has started again so Ive actually had work to do during the day so I can't just go out climbing all the time. Nights have started to get darker too which hasn't helped.
The climbing I have done has mostly been bouldering. I have bouldered in Edinburgh, Glen Nevis, Northumberland and the Lake District in this time.
In Edinburgh I have visited Agassiz rock and the Crags, I haven't really managed anything new at the crags, although I am trying to work the R-L variation on the Black Wall. I managed the high traverse at Aggasiz Rock in my only trip there. The high traverse uses high holds running L-R along the crag. It is quite pumpy and polished and I was pretty happy to get it done.
The EUMC Glen Coe trip saw me spend two days in Glen Nevis bouldering. Here I managed to tick a few easy problems and my first font 7b! It went down pretty easily, so Im not convinved it was 7b. The problem in question was The Right to Silence on the Cameron Stone.
Heather Hat Traverse (Photo Credit: Holly Spice)

Cameron Stone Campus Challenge (Photo Credit: Holly Spice)
On the EUMC Lake District trip I spent saturday afternoon at Gimmer Crag. I climbed with Joanna and we didn't take a guide book with us so we just climbed something which looked good. The route we did was D Route, which gets Severe, although I think it is abit harder than that. On saturday evening I met up with Pete Holder and Pete Hill (Pete^2) and headed to the Works, a dry tooling crag near hodge close, more in this later in the post though. On Sunday Joanna, Liyen and I headed to the Langdale Boulders. These are a collection of boulders very close to the road near Chapel Stile. Here I climbed The pocket (V5), The overhang (V5) and a number of easier problems whos names I have forgotten. I also tried a traverse line which starts near the overhang and crosses under the pocket and finishes around the corner. I was very close to getting this, falling off the easy finishing juggy holds. It is supposed to go at about V6, which I think was about right. Liyen was trying this with me and she was also very close to completing it.
V6 Traverse, Langdale Boulders (Photo Credit: Joanna Lisowiec)

Approaching the crack on D-Route (Photo Credit: Joanna Lisowiec)
In the crack on D-Route (Photo Credit: Joanna Lisowiec)
I have made a few trips to Northumberland recently, visting Doveholes and Bowden. The trip to Bowden was with the EUMC. I spent the day bouldering and managed to climb His Emminence (E4/font7a+), as well as a few easier problems and worked lots of hard things.
I have made two trips to Doveholes, one by myself and another with Fergus Cuthill, Tom Eadington, Liam Ingram and Sophia Borgeest. On my first trip everything felt very sandy but I managed to climb the sand bag traverse of Dont Look Down (font 6a) and sandy sand bag mantle shelf of Moorish Idol (font 6b). On my second trip I had a much more succesful trip. I managed to dispatch Sloper City (font 6c), Funfatatus Ejaculatus (font 6c) and First Contact (font 7b) without too much difficulty. I also managed to flash Nellie (font 6c) and the Sit Start to Stone  of Destiny (font 6b). This was undoubtbly my most succesful day to date in Northumberland.
Liam Ingram on Nellie
As well as plenty of bouldering my mind has been on the forthcoming Scottish Tooling Series. The first competition is on the 3rd November. I have been trying to structure my training at the wall around drytooling with plenty of smooth movements and fig fours. As well as climbing indoors I have managed to get a trip out to The Works in the Lake District, as mentioned earlier. Here I climbed Steves Corner (M6), and fell off the very top as a torque popped! I also attempted Bloodline (M10). It didn't complete it partly as I was out of practice with drytooling outdoors, partly because I couldn't see very much (all though that is a pretty poor excuse) and probably because I didn't really try as hard as I coudl have done. This failure has given me a few things I feel I should work on for the STS atleast. I will hopefully be able to get a couple of trips out to Newtyle before things kick off, and maybe some new picks for my axes. I really hope to improve on my second place this year, and seeing as I appear to be climbing much better than I was this time last year, I think I can give it a good go.
Bloodline, The Works (Photo Credit: Pete Holder)

(Photo Credit: Pete Holder)

(Photo Credit: Pete Holder)