13 June 2013

Longest Walk-in Ever - Brimham Jam Session

Following what must come close to being the longest unicycle/walk-in ever (notwithstanding, well, longer ones) - detailed on my personal blog - Brimham climbing time rolled around just as the rains came. Wishful thinking in the face of adverse forecasts had carried me to Brimham - that, and running with a crazy idea - but I was torn as to whether I should keep with that mindset. Bryn called me, saying that the rains were due to get worse. Would he feel obliged to come and pick me up? Would I have to accept that I'd made my bed and I must unicycle home in it? It didn't end up mattering, as it was during the call that I discovered Dean in the car park. Bryn called it, apparently ending up at The Depot, while I sat down with Dean in his car and set the world to rights.

Among some fine general banter, we naturally talked climbing, particularly my slow start to the year. Given that I had determined to respond well to this, Dean had some good advice, but strangely the key piece that I took on board was one that I already knew - climb more. Recently I've only been getting out once a week, whereas when I started I tried for twice a week thanks to Matt's identical advice. If you want to improve, you need to climb at least twice a week. For a while I wasn't too worried about improving, because it wasn't new any more. But now, fearing an impasse, I do want to improve again. Twice a week. Of course. I'd only forgotten.

We sat in the car through some slightly noisy rain, but it soon went quiet, and we made for the rocks. We started in the pommel area, greasy tops being something of an issue. I reached for the top and slipped off, saved by good spotting from Dean. My hand-jam issues came to light, and Dean proceeded to give a masterclass - Brim-jam, you might say. We found a couple of low cracks, looked at some techniques, and talked through the levels of pain you might need to endure to jam well - seems to me, as with many things, the trick is not minding that it hurts. Just need to train myself not to instinctively withdraw.

A few more spots of rain, and Dean heard Joker's Wall calling from the back (you may think front, but Dean and I did not) of Cubic Block. This was a nasty looking piece of rock, that I don't think I'd visited before - there is lots to do around the front, of course. Anyway, we didn't rush into anything, and chatted about the wonders of being outdoors. We discussed other notable local(ish) geological features, such as Troller's Gill and Gordale Scar, and the great things that climbing has brought us. When we did get started, I contributed little - Dean was twisting and stretching his way along the overhanging traverse, whereas I barely had three moves in me. This was fine though, as with the advice Dean had given me, I also remembered my own mantra - it all counts.

Away from the overhang, the rains steadily increased, and drips started to fall. Dean called time on proceedings and we made for his car, enjoying a cordial trip back to Harrogate. Dean is a joy to watch on the rock, flowing calmly from hold to barely-perceptible-hold, and an inspirational figure for his outlook. I hope I can take something from that and make it work.

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