16 December 2012

The year that was 2012

John said "how was your climbing year". Hard one to answer it was a bit of a curate's egg.

Splashdown at Widdop, in fact everything about Widdop, the location, the quality of the problems, the wildness of the place and the empty barren solitude. Endless leaping off an undercut, for a rough sloper that took a layer of epidermis and then turned you away on every attempt, before it stuck and I floated above the water.

Watching Rob fight the fear, before powerfully rocking into balance on Flying Arete, heart in mouth, his anxiety in our ears and his ten year quest at an end. Good lad, strong.

News of Dean filtering through on the bush telegraph. Him taking a nasty tumble off Red Baron a season ending ankle fracture, shattering ambition and nearly ending a majestic career. Now healed and back on the rocks in 2013, I will be stealing all the beta I can.

A day on the Cliff in early January with the boys, sun-kissed and glowing. South Cave Arete falling to a few sessions of attention,  promising much for the rest of the year. If I had known what was coming maybe I would have stopped then.

Carrying Jenny off Pebble wall, her knee shot and broken, before heading back up to finish off crucifix traverse. Glad it was done, relief mainly it had been in my head for too long, but sombre and reflective at the downside of the games we play.

News flying in over the ether. Stu sorting out Matterhorn Arete and Bryn's crucifixion being made flesh. both now fully fledged Almscliffe disciples their trials by fire endured, dues paid.

A first trip to the County, to a chilly Bowden Doors. All the crowd and the vibe and the bonhomie condensed down to the briefest moment at the limit on the Lightbulb. When I rocked and rolled into balance and belief seemed to triumph over gravity and lack of friction just for an instant. To be followed by an epic, euphoric hangover of immense proportions.

Floods and floods of biblical rain that knew no end and drowned many an outing before it took shape, that thwarted ambition and tried your patience. The sound of rain on my flat roof drumming into my head, running into my soul, drowning hope of a better day tomorrow. It left my ticklist, merely a list, ideas and possibility but little outcome.

Horn Torture at Caley, endless trudges up the track from the gate in all weathers to lunge for a pocket and then peel away, fended off. Benchmark V4 apparently  not for me, not yet.

Glen Arete a punter's problem for sure, but one I wouldn't have had the neck for last year, rare moments of composure and some space beneath my feet.

A change of job, the fear of failure at something other than climbing. Where the consequences of mistakes could effect other's lives just like this most selfish pastime of ours.

James Ibbotson highballing The great Flake for the camera, me "spotting" slackjawed, him a monkey up a stick all intent and action, real class, real commitment.

Louis flying like a grit god to hold onto the jug on the John Dunne Slap. We froze in the shade whilst the valley languished in the sun. His easy charm hiding some quiet determination, this years most improved, much more to come I'm sure.

Looming just over the horizon casting a long shadow, Pebble Wall, all our tomorrow's. On everyone's list if you haven't done it, a test of respectability if you harbour dreams of middle grade competence.  Who will stick it first, one of us will?

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