Moving In The Right Direction

As i’ve been saying a lot lately, i’m trying to get back on track and this time, i’m actually really trying. So much so that despite my lethargy and lack of available bods to come try/watch/help the other night, i finished work and headed to my old favourite, Caseg Fraith. Convenient, close to the road but space for Tess to run and play, good warm ups and a project: time to go try Boneyard V8.

6 o’clock arrives, we jump in the car, drive the three miles to the crag and drag all four pads the short walk from the car to the crag. Boneyard is a traverse line, beginning at Ogwen Jazz on an arete and finishing up the huge dyno finish of Oh Yeah V6. I’d been with Simon when he came to visit a few weeks ago and this was the simplest project to go to: no spotters needed, a nice safe landing. It was primed for success, or possibly for failure, which is far more common when it comes to these things!

There was a huge dump as the pads were piled under the project and i went and had a look at the rock. It was as if someone had been there with soap and water and cleaned every hold immaculately! I don’t think i’ve ever seen holds so clean and crisp! And yet when i touched the holds, the grip was immense, friction perfect, temperature not so cold as to cause even the slightest discomfort while not in the slightest greasy. Last time we were chased away by midge, this time the perfect breeze kept them at bay. Anyone who has climbed with me will testify that i’m not a conditions-style climber (“Grit?! In the summer?! No chance!” is not something i’ve ever been heard to say) but i have to admit, when they’re this perfect, you notice.

It was all just too good to be true. Looking across the valley to the Carneddau and you could see huge black rolling clouds enveloping the top of the ridge. Shit, something was bound to go wrong. Another monsterous cloud blew off the top of Pen yr Ole Wen while a third billowed from behind Carnedd Llewellyn, both looking ominous and foreboding. Still, i’d paid my £2 for parking (while expensive for two hours, still cheaper than an indoor session…) and wasn’t about to sack it off on the off chance of rain now. Warm up and get on it.

I kept an eye on the clouds throughout the session and the most miraculous thing seemed to happen. It was as if the climbing gods were on my side and both of the large ominous beasts in the sky parted just before they got to me and drifted apart, leaving me in relative sunshine. It was more impressive than if it had been gloriously sunny. Things were finally going my way.

There were only two things missing from this being the perfect session: company and success, for while i came unimaginably close (my best effort failed as my hand scraped the rock on the way to stroking the final hold) i didn’t quite manage it and all subsequent attempts ate up just a little too much energy and i was forced to go home. After such a glorious session, it was impossible to be annoyed.

24 hours later, having not rained, i returned with my girlfriend and her daughter for another bite at the cherry. When i said i’m really trying lately i mean it. While the conditions didn’t quite match Friday night, it did hold the missing two ingredients and it was done, completed. After a mild fight through the bulk of the moves, i found myself hanging the holds ready to leap and it was as if i blacked out ever so slightly for a split second. I “came to”, for want of a better phrase, hanging the top lip one armed, amazed i was not lying on the floor. Feet on, heel up, rock out, done. Finally, i’m moving in the right direction again.

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