So where did i leave off? Well, session one in the cave ended with a momentary lapse in concentration and failure as i popped off the penultimate hold on Rock Attrocity. Session two, after work on Tuesday ended in more failure by dropping the final match, probably due to a lack of rest. With climbs this close to my limit, i have found that you often only have one good effort in you per session and if you drop it, for whatever reason, that’s it, go home and rest.
So Thursday i went back, after having agreed with Andy to have a cave session before i went two days previous. I must admit, i was nervous, wondering whether i was recovered enough to get it after the ache and torment i’d suffered in session two. The weather was atrocious too (pardon the pun) and i was almost tempted to sack it off on the way there, banking on the nature of both the venue and the route for them to remain dry. Turns out i was right to persevere, the cave being almost perma-dry in terms of rainfall, thanks to the almost horizontal angle of the place, and Rock Attrocity not being prone to seeping as it is mainly made up of drilled pockets and a glued-on flake.
So i arrived again – a third session in a week matching the total visits of the previous two years! There was a good crowd there too, with plenty of encouragement to be found. With Andy to observe, it took me around three attempts to finally snatch through and tick my first V9, a touch a luck being crucial and some inspiration from my friend to work a bit harder at keeping my feet on!
But that wasn’t enough. Andy had told me how the Wobbly Block Start to the same problem didn’t really add the extra grade it warranted (although Rock Atrocity itself was tough for the grade, so probably makes sense) so i jumped on, after some sneaky beta. Even if i had made it through first go, i don’t think you could really call it a flash, given it simply adds two moves onto the existing problem. As it happens, i had a sneaky dab at the start and blew off matching again, although i still maintain a less scrupulous man could tick it. Not that it would make it right. And my one good effort for the day had already been done by ticking the V9. No complaints at that!
So a fourth session is required. No major drama, confidence is high and i’m sure it will go soon, meaning since early March, my hardest climb could potentially jump from V8 to V10… In a month. To keep things going well, Cherry talked me into an Indy session last night, where i managed to tick off a series of 7s again. It’s feeling very strange to be climbing like this; obscure to find myself at the top of such things. At the same time, i’ve found my psyche rising rapidly for a small venue we found to develop. Tomorrow night is supposed to be a spot of landscape gardening. So we might even see a first ascent or two by the end of the year as well. This could be another really good one…