A Sign of Things To Come?

As i mentioned in my last post, Sunday was spent at the Sheep Pen boulders, and better days have rarely existed. Over an hour of driving preceded the walk in, through no-one’s fault per ce, but once there, problems fell, Tess ran around, enjoying herself, and the sun basked my aching body in between attempts at long-forgotten classic problems. Quick repeats at the First Block (thanks to No Retro Ticks, and a still-fairly-new copy of Boulder Britain) started me off well for the day, with Klem’s Arete V4 and Little Groover V3 proving much less taxing than their previous ascents, before heading over to Main Block, where friends both new and old were to be found aplenty. Dog Shooter V4 was a fight, Toe Dragon V5 a breeze but both thoroughly enjoyable and even Ding Dong’s Traverse at V8 almost fell, with only stamina lacking. Still, i need to trudge up the hillside to get The Pinch V7 anyway…

A nice meal and pleasant evening followed (not to mention a good night’s sleep) before a quick debate on where to head for the Sunday. I’d been keen to get back to Milestone Buttress but Dan was less keen, and after throwing round a few options, we opted to trek in to the Pac Man boulders, above Nant Peris. After all, it was unimaginably stunning, again, and worth donating a day to, if not for the quantity of problems, but in part the quality (in part the time taken to get there!).

Once again, Tess proved her worth as a top-quality crag dog on the way in, unfazed by anything and entertaining herself well on arrival, just happy to be outside and such was the standard of the weather, when we found the boulders would be in the shade, a discussion of whether to find a different, sunnier venue almost led to our rapid departure. In fact, it was only the arrival of another couple of friends, fortunately timed as we had just saddled up with pads and bags, that stopped us from going somewhere else.

They got a big hug as we eventually left, several hours later, for keeping us there. Pac Man Arete V5 and G Spotting V6 both succumbed on the flash attempt, Karma Sutra V5 bringing out the idiot grab-and-pull climber in me and went on the second. Not much for a full day, but definitely worth it, with a happy pint in the Heights afterwards.

So a sign of things to come? The problems did seem to tumble somewhat, so maybe this year will bring more success than previously. The weather was indeed perfect, maybe it will remain for a while, giving us a good year for a change. On Friday, i begin the year of climbing mentioned last time with five days in Dartmoor, strangely reminiscent of a trip to Sheffield in February 2011. Surely this year can’t live up to the standards set on what has often been referred to as the best year of my life?! Perhaps, and there is only one way to find out. Then, the highlights included Font, Squamish and Goteborg; this year? I suppose i can only dream. That said, the holiday for the year is all booked already, another Swedish odyssey is already in the pipeline, and my mind is wandering to far flung forests, sun soaked sandstone and brilliant boulders.

First things first: i’m gonna go pack for next week…

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