There's always a debate when we're out bouldering over size- height, reach, or leg length all seem to be the key to getting a problem. Problem is, it usually turns out that technique is really what matters. One of our more diminutive compadres scampers up most problems with the greatest of ease. However, one of members, Cosmo, is even shorter still, largely on account of him being 12 but also on account of him being quite a short 12 year old. We've been going up to the crag for a few years now and I soon realised that bouldering guides aren't written with the smaller person in mind. As a result we've looked for new problems where the breaks are a bit closer together, and the starting foothold isn't 4 foot off the ground. So all this makes it even better when Cosmo gets an adult sized tick in.
Saturday started very promising- the sun was shining and Dave was whispering sweet nothings in my inbox about Widdop. Having previously planned a visit to Widdop- reading the guidebooks and getting all worked up and excited- I had been thwarted at the last hurdle by one of our far-too-regular summer storms. Not only do the boulders look great, there appear to be quite a few easy slabs that Cosmo would have a ball on. However, it soon transpired that I had a problem- perfect bouldering weather also appears to be perfect gardening weather and before I knew it I had been cajoled into ordering 5 tonnes of topsoil. Somehow my argument "We might never get a weekend of weather like this" had been turned on its head and used against me, curses. So instead of Widdop's reservoir charms we ended up sorting out the garden all afternoon, before finally sneaking in an hour up at Almscliffe.
One of the first problems many people do up at Almscliffe is the arete in West Cave, the one that starts on a polished ledge and with a few hops takes you onto a nice mantel that gives you a slight dose of vertigo. However, when you're 140cm high it turns out this is a bit more tricky, and so it's been on Cosmo's tick list for a while now. However, today with a bit of working it out he got the moves to the top and then sorted out the mantel with no bother. I got the chance to have a play on 3 Swings Traverse, and work out the missing piece of the jigsaw- getting over the ramp- but an attempt to link it didn't work out. By then it was nearly time for Dr. Who so we headed home for tea. We managed to get all the top soil shifted by the way, and now that's out the way 3 Swings is going to be next.
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