Okay, this is backwards, since my last post trailed off with the prospect of updates on the progression of the outdoor season. Almscliffe came first in that reckoning, being the closest of the crags and thus the one that would give the most time as the nights crept out. But now that there is enough light to venture further afield, I wanted to capture last Wednesday's Brimham trip while it was still relatively fresh.
Arriving early after visiting a friend in Ripon, I took the opportunity to park for free in a layby overlooking Harrogate, and to ride my unicycle some of the way to the rocks. 'Some' being a very small proportion of the path across the moor, walking the rest of the way while pondering how much harder unicycling on moorland and such-like was! When I reached the agreed meeting spot of the Pommel area, I still seemed to be early. Also, I was exhausted after my trek/unicycle, so I simply laid on my bouldering mat in the sun until the others arrived, first Bryn and Dave, later Rob and Flea. The Pommel area started slowly for me, my frustration with the boulder we have referred to as 'the easy boulder' continuing - although I did complete one problem on its face, I suspect some of the others may require significant piles of mats to convince me to tackle. Still, I would call it a tick, in the sense that it was something that I had made 'tactically concluded' (ie. failed) efforts to climb in the past. That, I think, is my true and personal definition of a tick, so for me a problem isn't really even a potential tick until it has been attempted (note that first attempts can coincide with ticks). After some excellent collaborative work on the nearby small roof side wall (including my tick captured on film by Bryn, later disposed of by a glitch in the matrix when Bryn attempted to upload, for shame!), we moved on from the Pommel.
Finding ourselves at the back (front?) of the Cubic Block, Rob proceeded to introduce Dave to the problem immediately to its left. Near the tree. Next to the easy block. This one, I think. And Dave seemed to take to it quite well, though I don't believe he managed to top it out yet. Bryn, having mysteriously tweaked his shoulder, concentrated on some scrambling, while Flea and I tackled some of the lighter problems in the area. But it was Flea's boundless enthusiasm and willingness to give things a go which transformed the evening somewhat. Eyeing up the Cubic Block, Flea threw his long limbs, his cheating magic tattoos, and his aforementioned enthusiasm at a bold solo attempt. Now, although Flea's raw natural talent and physical stature exceed my own, seeing this spurred me into giving it a go. Causing Dave to avert his gaze, and Rob to advise caution (through the medium of warning about no spotters and piling all the mats up below a big move), I followed Flea's route up the block. And it was fine. Granted, this means I can hardly have been testing my skill level, but it certainly had one or two points of interest, and was certainly worth doing.
Moving on once again, I soloed another climb, one that I had moments earlier stated I would need to see someone else climb first. I suppose this is a defence mechanism of some kind, one that would allow me to choose not to climb. Note to self, Stu: it's good to try things, and you can always not climb. Anyway, ending up at the Cyclops as the light started to fade, Rob and Dave took on the arete of the boulder to the left, Flea and I explored the variety that the Cyclops offered, and Bryn scrambled some more - darn shoulder! To cap what had started slowly but turned into a very productive and enjoyable evening, I too ticked the arete that Rob and Dave had set the benchmark for.
And then I unicycled back to the car park with my bouldering mat on my back.
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