26 February 2012

Remaining Philosophical

Well, hello 2012. Nice to meet you.

Compared to Dave's near academia level of climbing study, and Bryn's stated goal of taking up running to bolster his climbing fitness, I remain the philosophical climber of the group (as in, the take as I find kind of climber - we're all deep thinkers, on climbing or otherwise).
To that end, the year has started in reasonable shape. As of yesterday, I've managed to check in at Almscliffe, Caley and Brimham, in that order - not bad for the first two months, and I expect things will really start to pick up in late March. Almscliffe, on January 14th, was about getting a feel for the rock again, and for being out in the world, as a few favourite climbs were re-ticked on a gloriously crisp and bright day. Caley, February 19th, was similar in the sense that it consisted largely of retrying climbs already achieved - though, frustratingly, the already ticked Flapjack Scoop withheld its charms on a day when the biting cold should have meant great friction. Still, a fine session was had, including introducing a recent acquaintance to the joys of the climb.

Brimham, on the 25th of February, felt like the year really beginning, largely because of the discovery of a couple of projects, some tangible new achievements, and some thoughts on fitness.

After an arduous trek to the far end of the crag, Dave and I pondered Fag Slab Solo. By this time, the wind had picked up significantly, presenting chaotic factors that you just don't want to throw into a solo, and so we put that one in the bank for a better day...

... As noted in Dave's post, we had a tipple of Whisky Galore with the owners of Millie the puppy - I couldn't even get off the ground, so this one is way off for me - before Dave's ideas of where to move on to - Anniversary Arete, Lovers' Leap Slab - led to he and I being seen as a couple of more than just climbers. Hey, I could do worse than to snag such a cultured chap, but I think both of us will be keeping our hands on the rock... Anyway, the Anniversary area wasn't giving up much, but there were one or two pleasing moves. The slab we called Lovers' Leap seems to be listed as Trackside Boulder on Yorkshire Grit. A new move on the around the left arete of the slab was full of nice and thoughtful moves, and the slab itself was as delicate as ever - the ascent trending left was no problem, but it took some intense collaboration between the two of us and a passing couple to get the direct ascent. But get it we did, and a worthwhile bit of progress it was. In addition, the winds had calmed and the sun shown its face by this point, making this climb all the more pleasurable.

Millie wasn't interested in Whisky Galore, instead staring intently at... something else.

Cubic Block was the next target, and I went via some cheeky little unicycle runs in the woods - microcosmic tastes of singletrack runs offered decent interest and made me long for something a bit less stop-start. On reaching the Cubic Block, Dave targeted the slightly overhanging sit-start nestled between the two larger slabs. Having seen Rob monkey his way up this one on my first ever climb a little under three years ago, and seeing Dave putting a few moves together, I finally felt this was worth investigating. My primary achievement was simply getting off the ground - the holds were not massive, and I am not a light man, so this was very pleasing. I fell off with the next attempted move, but skipping ahead a few moves to a juggy hold reignited my interest. Essentially I've left it at a point where I need to put the first few moves together and then find a big slap - that will hopefully as good as finish it - from somewhere. Enough intrigue and enjoyment came from this attempt to make me relish my next crack at it.

And that was the day. Not a huge amount conquered, but enough given the time of year and the conditions. Recently I've developed a yen to do some weights, and discussed the merits of this with Dave - muscle weight and usefulness, and so on. It's something that I will probably look into, as I would tend to think that any exercise is worthwhile for me right now. Hopefully it's something that will improve my general fitness as well as tune to suit my climbing.
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