Sunday, November 30, 2008

Social Depravity and The Butcher

What would the worst rock climb in the world look like? It would probably be a boulder problem.... no wait a boulder problem traverse to ensure the misery is a drawn out affair. It would be low-ball and a contrived eliminate to the point that it was unclear where it began or went. It would be in a horrible place and covered in graffiti. The landing would be uneven, muddy and covered in glass, syringes and condoms. Ach, throw in a bit of fire damage and chipping for good measure. Does that more or less cover it? Well this rock climb actually exists at our very own Dumbarton Rock and I suppose it’s a testament to the relativity of good that Consolidated Traverse gets 4 Stars at Dumbarton...yes FOUR! Perhaps now that Rhapsody has been toppled from its throne as ‘hardest route in the world’ tm, the Dumbarton tourist association will need a new pull factor to reel in holiday makers hoping for sun baked rock and 11 E points (but returning home with neither). How about ‘Dumbarton- home of the world’s most socially depraved rock climb’ for marketable??? After all people are idiots and love a freak show.
Anyway I went to Dumbarton was very cold and misty. I fell off the last move of consolidated extension just like I did two years ago. I’ll try and go back sooner this time to finish it off .
In uncharacteristic ‘sam’s world of pain’ style, I actually feel I’m having a good run at the mo. My left hand pocket injury from Feb 2007 is finally better as is my right hand crimp injury from July 2007 and my left hand crimp tweak from August. All these niggles seemed to sort themselves out within about a week of sleeping 10hours a night. I’m going to try and keep up 70hrs of sleep a week but it does limit you socially somewhat. With my finger health came back my psyche levels and I booked a trip to Font over new yr. All my big climbing improvements have revolved around trips to Fontainbleau; either getting psyched to train for an upcoming font trip, improving while I’m in Font or coming home really keen and getting stuck in. It’s funny because I was feeling sort of so-so climbing, then I booked this trip over new year and I guess motivation went up, helping me dig a little deeper and virtually overnight I started feeling on top form.
Last thus, I went Bowden-wards with Penny and Andy Moles and I had a bit of a blinder thanks to Mike Mullins finding sneaky beta the week before on two problems I thought were going to be too hard. Penny and Andy both did Cave LH and got close on Cave Right. I warmed up and managed to do the V Crimps first try of the day after coming close on the Tuesday with Mike. Well chuffed. I then headed over to Back Bowden and after a few goes, caught the jug on Bender (the diagonal crack thing through pockets traverse). Unfortunately I’ve still not learnt to bend (I dyno the last move without the heel hook) but I did do 3 drop knees in a row to get there! I felt like I was back on Martin’s wall at A2 (only it was more hardcore cause I did a dyno-you get shouted off for that on A2’s 10degree board).
Now what happened next was quite funny really. I mean what are you to do when you’ve just ticked two font7c’s? Try a 7c+ of course. Well the extension to ‘Pockets Reverse’ was right there so I thought I should have a never know. Well I didn’t do it but I found a great sequence for the crux drop down from the twin pockets. You reach over for the pocket near the start of the left to right version, put your left foot on that slippy foothold directly beneath it and get a toe hook with your right under the lip of the crag and clamp as hard as you can. I got here from the beginning, squeezed as hard as I could with my legs and...well...snapped the foothold off. Sorry.
In my defence I’ve lost 4 kg and it’s actually made the L-R version miles better (maybe soft 7c+ now). Before you just walked your feet along and twisted. Now you cut loose, kung fu and suck it in. I did the moves but didn’t do it in one. I promise it’s much better now and perhaps less morpho now that there is no L-foot for the tall to push off. The weird thing is that the last time I did two 7c’s in a day was almost exactly a year ago and that day I snapped the hold off another Bowden 7c....Hmmm, oh dear. At least 'the Butcher of Bowden' doesn’t have much left in the northern county crags to go at and break.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bargain Bin

Gear for sale-
Pair of la sportiva nepal extremes, size 43
info and reviews at
Used about 8 times. Perfect condition but too small. rrp £265 new. How about 90quid ono?

Pair of Raichle Mountain Trail Hiking Boots, uk size 12
info at
Used a handful of times. Perfect condition but I've decided to avoid walking in a bid to downsize my legs to the point that they can barely support my gargantuan shoulders and forearms. rrp 139.99 new. How about 40quid?

Pair of DMM Alien ice axes.
Pretty well used to be honest but still in really good condition. Not too sure of RRP as I can't find anywhere stocking them in the UK. 199 dollars each in America. 60quid for the pair?

Give me a call if you are looking for any of the above on 07816349379