15 August 2013

Flying Solo

Not that kind of solo...

It had been a long while since I went to a crag on my own, possibly way back in my first year of climbing. Having two Facebook groups full of climbers means that solo outings rarely need to be tolerated. But it's important to get the climbs in, and having been on a night of double cinema trips with other friends last night while the rest of the gang climbed, I made for Almscliffe after I'd got in from work and had a bit of tea.

There had been talk of rain, but mainly there was just cloud. And wind. A good wind though - not too off-putting for the climbs, and refreshing - in a primal, howling, coursing through my being kind of way - in between them.

I had in mind a bit of a circuit of steady climbs. Sure, it pays to push yourself, but I feel it's still worthwhile to get out there and climb the climbs you can do, and try your best to climb them in a quality fashion - no slapping. Threw some variations in where I could as well. I started at the left of the crag, and moved more or less right...

Warm up. Tried without the arete, which I've done before, but wasn't feeling it.

Left of the teaspoon area, the recent discovery that was instantly deemed worthy of inclusion.

That little nose. Missed out the big footholds, climbed back down.

Pork Chop Slab. Varied slightly by using a touch of left hand undercut to help move my right foot up.

Did some variations here - missed out the crack for the feet, went straight up the finger-hold route, etc...

Even had a crack at Morrell's - probably getting a hint further than before - thanks to collaboration with a random dude.

Arete, and breaks with heel hook.

Considering I hadn't done this one this year, this was disappointingly easy.

Didn't climb up all of the slab, but did climb down the crack a couple of times...
...and climbed both the arete and direct on the right face. However, my recently dodgy knee (any recommendations for support?) had started to twinge at the point, and I probably shouldn't have pushed myself through those last few. Also, the gloom as coming in - as you can see from the photos, which I took as I walked back from this point. A few drops of rain had appeared as well, but it all made for a refreshing walk-out.

Strange, although I know Almscliffe rather well these days, being out there on my own in the oncoming gloom, I felt rather intrepid, and paradoxically as if I was being documented. Well, I guess I have been now.
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