14 May 2012
nearly nearly Bouldering on Almscliff
Caley, Saturday, fuzzy headed, early. Visions of finishing off Otley Wall and finally getting somewhere on New Jerusalem but the Gods had other plans. I should have known when the ABS was firing off machine gun warning shots as I slid in vague control onto the muddy verge by the gate. The bracken was knee high and there was a strange mix of muggy high humidity and cold underfoot wet, I slithered in. I had the place to myself and after a greasy warm up near Blockbuster it became clear that conditions were officially crap.
Almscliff was on the way home, that should deliver some better weather I reasoned. I half surfed, half waded through the first field and had the whole of High Man to myself too. Here things were a different story. The friction was fantastic as a gentle breeze and a wide open aspect carried the water somewhere else, Caley maybe?
I 'd come to try the "hand in the break-traverse" of pebble wall, the long one, that's been throwing me off half way along for 18 months now. There is a hard move down just after the mid-point and by the time I get there I have usually lost all the shape from my climbing. I become a pathetic, panting wretch-thing. Today was different I arrived at the halfway arm bar rest, breathless but with something left.
I forced myself to wait until my breathing was back to normal by which time my elbow in its vice like jam was numb through lack of blood, then I set off for the harder half. I got the first powerful move and the next three or four in a weird mix of accuracy and flailing vigour, only one more move to the wall and salvation, suddenly it looked on. Then my concentration slipped as I started living for a time 10 seconds in the future, rather than just living. Like a mug I tried to thug my way through the last delicate flag move where only a little grace was required and it shrugged me off once more. As I landed one foot fully in the cowshit you could faintly hear the crag chuckle.
Nearly though, nearly, next time.
Posted by Dave Prince
About the Author
Dave has been climbing rocks for as long as he can remember, odd then that he isn't better at it. He lives in Harrogate as he can't afford to live any closer to Almscliff. He is hoping to get up Pebble Wall before his middle aged knees give out.
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