28 July 2013

Brimham - Flappers, jam pain, rock rash, and ankles pointing whichever way they feel like

Note: the ankle thing isn't serious.

Brimham can be difficult to reach on a week-night for our Leeds contingent, so Louis and I arranged a session on Saturday morning

I was the first one there (ahead of Louis? Not exactly difficult...) and I warmed up on the block in the Pommel area. Often Brimham seems to scramble my standard climbing settings, but today I took to things well. Of the four main problems on the block, the middle of the small right hand face gave me the most trouble - some blame can go to the flapper on my shoe - and I was pleased to gain the left hand end of the block with little trouble.

Louis had arrived by this point, and we set to work on a couple of the tougher arĂȘtes nearby, including the Pommel itself. I'd been forcing the jams on the block, with Dean's coaching in mind to see me through the crushing pain in my hand, and more opportunities were present here - a right forearm jam helped the left arm make its next move, but meant that the right arm was stuck fast in place, while Louis pinged his ankle landing on a small rock. The Pommel wasn't in the mood to play either, but some experimenting with it seemed worthwhile.

The last Pommel area antics were on the small roof. My mission was to tackle the side of the roof armed with the knowledge that had seen me up it during the last session - which had taken many attempts. Yesterday it took one, with a repeat thrown in to make sure. We tried to traverse out along the side of the roof, but some awkward moves and big reach vexed us. My first attempt at this gave me a flapper on my ring finger, and my second attempt took the flapper off. Louis dismantled the problem coming out from under the roof, and we moved on.

In full view of a party of learner climbers - from Bewerley or some similar institution, one would imagine - we gave some time to the green sit-start next to the Cubic block. Louis put it together, while I made some encouraging progress that simply needs more work.

Dean had alerted us to a boulder that would make for good Font training, near Lover's Leap, and I thought I knew the boulder in question. Louis hadn't ventured this far down the crag before, and took to this challenge with aplomb, eyeing up eliminates to problems that I'd thought difficult enough in the past. The left problem was our warm-up, the right side being the one that was generally more challenging and also served as the eliminate. After getting the standard climb, my first attempt at the eliminate - which was to miss out a weigh-shifting intermediate left foot move, making the pivot on the right foot much bigger - had my right foot lose traction (shoe flapper's fault?) once my left foot found some, sending me sliding down the face, and making it my turn to ping my ankle by bending my foot up towards my shin. That sounds worse than it is, and I've had worse from placing my foot incorrectly on my unicycle pedal. I shook this off and had another go, this time grinding what was left of my right shoe more firmly into the rock, easing through the pivot with tiny handholds, and weighting myself better once my left foot was in place. From there I gained the top, and sent the problem home.

We briefly played on the side of the boulder, but Louis realised he'd left his guide back near Cubic. We moseyed back, stopped briefly to dabble with a highball next to Cyclops. Louis nearly finished it, but ended having to traverse out, while I was too fatigued by this point to even get started. Back at Cubic, another party of climbers had watched over Louis's guide while we'd been away, so exchanged it for some gratitude and made back to the car park. Louis was glad of a chance to rest from this point, having climbed the last four days, but we'll be back at it on Monday...

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