27 March 2012

Eve

As one of our members, Bryn, has the honour of living in the shadow of the esteemed Almscliffe Crag, so it was that he, 2012 tick list doubtless in mind, observed that shadow receding later into the evening week on week. Of course, the switch to British Summertime gives things a handy nudge in the right direction at this time of year, so all that was really needed to kick the new climbing season off was a bit of coordination. Bryn was again the man with a finger on the pulse, setting up a Facebook event for Sunday, the day of 'spring forward'.


Let's climb this shit.




Several parties converged on the crag from around half past five - myself, Rob and John from Harrogate; Bryn and Cosmo from Huby, with a unicycling Robin in anything but tow; Louis and - a surprisingly short while later - a bicycling Mat from Leeds. Congregating initially around 'End Boulder' (according to Boulder Britain, a brilliant birthday gift from Bryn and family), we set about remembering the rock, freeing ourselves from the coloured plastic mindset, and generally just stretching our legs. A wide spread of skill and experience saw us drop in and out of contact with each other from time to time, with a tendency towards a Rob-Mat-Louis/Bryn-Cosmo-Stu-John split, and Robin skittering around between the two with his Go Pro camera...








Under a perfect sky, it was an eventful evening. Three Swings Traverse fell to Mat's determined effort. John's first trip to the crag - to any crag - served up some fine problems in the Low Man area, as well as following Cosmo up a highball next to the Postman. More than I did on my first real trip to the crag, suggesting to me that I really should try things more, and that being in a large group makes for good progress...



 An encounter with another group of climbers led to several of us - not me, it should be stressed - attempting to squeeze through a hole in the rocks near the first area, notable successes coming from Cosmo, Robin, and a girl named Tegan from the other group. Not that anyone actually failed, obviously, or they'd still be stuck there.






Towards the end of the session, boulder 10 (I think it's 10) became the focus of the group. Not a new one for me, but enjoyable as it gives me a hint of the sense of control I am hoping to achieve in my climbing - the moves for the top and the pre-top feel deliberate and relatively smooth, not slappy, and this once more leaves me thinking about weight and strength. Bryn coached a determined John up, seeing something of his own first attempt in John's efforts, and Rob took the top in one move, showing us all that height isn't always the overriding factor.






Things wound down as several of us took the time to see the sun dip below the horizon. Taking care not to slip on a carelessly abandoned banana skin, we wrapped things up and moseyed down the hill. I don't think we could have asked for better conditions to get things started, and everyone seemed truly keyed in to what the crag had to offer, whether we'd climbed it once or a hundred times before. With such a fine group of climbers (not all of whom were even present) a great year is in prospect. Starting with a return visit to Almscliffe tomorrow...



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