18 February 2013

Thirteen Almscliffe One

I don't really do New Year's resolutions, but when I heard that an acquaintance had resolved to do more memorable things, I figured that my problem wasn't in the doing - everyone's the hero of their own story, but I reckon I do a fair few interesting things - it was in the remembering. As a result, I've been blogging regularly on my personal blog as an aid to memory. This has included some climbing, but all indoor sessions, and this blog isn't really about indoor climbing, so it hadn't made its way here yet.

Let's go!

But today... today (Sunday the 17th of February, not the post-midnight publication date) saw a hit on the grit for the first time in 2013. A few of the gang had been out on rock earlier in the year, but unfortunate timing kept me out of proceedings to this point. Today, I made it work. The session was Bryn's suggestion, and I picked him up en route on a glorious day. Picking our way up the muddy hill, we found Louis, Dave, Chris and Giovanni waiting for us. We warmed up on Low Man Slab before joining the others in a session on boulder 10 (which, as Bryn noted, needs new name). Given the number of mats present, Matterhorn arete beckoned us next, with mixed results - success for Louis, Chris and Giovanni (a new tick for Gio), frustration for Dave (who had not tried it before) and myself (I first climbed it last year).

Chris on the Matterhorn.

Last up was the Menhir. First, the others all piled on top for a photo shoot, before some experimenting on the face, my highlight being to eliminate the two biggest footholds, effectively climbing the face near-diagonally. Louis tried to eliminate even further, wanting to miss out the pockets, but suffered a fairly decent fall for his trouble (uninjured though). Similarly, Giovanni looked to be heading for a fall, catching his spotter (me) with a flailing leg, but somehow holding on to the right hand arete - best non-fall I think I've ever seen.

If it looks dark, try tilting your monitor around.

So, no real ticks for me, just a few little experiments. The rock is so much more nuanced than plastic is - analogue to digital, shades of grey to black and white, 3D to 2D - and I think I need to get into rock condition again. We'll see plastic again on Wednesday night, but rock is clearly where it's at - out in the world, under the sky, and with such friends. I was giddy to be out there again.

Such a day for it.

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