Return to Winning Ways

The break was never going to last for long, and as was to be expected, it was a visit from a friend that dragged me out to get back on rock again. I’d been back at the Indy for a couple of sessions, spurred on by the restart of the Winter Aggregate competition, but it wasn’t until Jay came back for a weekend that i got outside and off to the coast in search of decent weather in the midst of a poor forecast.

DSC04160We  certainly found it: a quick meeting over tea and a panini in Llandudno and we headed off to Angel Bay. It was a perfect choice of crag – a feeling of great timing as the tide was just going out as we arrived and the sun just coming out. The harsh breeze that pounded us at the car and drove me to take a down jacket was nowhere once down in the little cove where the rock had already begun to dry to be nice and crisp.

Jay’s mum lives a stones throw away (with plenty to play with on the pebble beach!) so he knew what to go at, which was useful for me on only my second visit. We headed straight for the rising traverse of Ren Arete V5; a long term project of Jay’s which he quickly found the holds for. Within too long, we’d got the beta wired and it was just a case of finishing it off. I did, Jay didn’t quite, although he couldn’t possibly have been closer and would probably have had it if not for a ping-fall involving an arse-first fall just off the pad where his head clacked off my collarbone.

Onlooking bystanders
Onlooking bystanders

We moved on, slightly right to Letterbox V4 which succumbed quickly to us both, being soft at the grade. Intrigued, i dragged the pads right again, underneath the intriguing and inviting looking Mussel Bound V8. To be honest, i wasn’t about to get carried away but was increasingly impressed with this little coastal venue and figured another little project wouldn’t be the worst thing to have. Beta wasn’t difficult to figure out – a jug to start, reach out behind you right to a gaston, heel to meet your left hand, reach up with the left to a tricky pocket. Finding myself getting closer and closer, suddenly i latched the pocket and was still on the wall. Right hand pocket, and a thrutch up with the left to a jug before moving up through easier ground. And up. And up. By the time i sat atop the rather high boulder, my heart was racing but i was shocked and elated at having just ticked off only my seventh V8, even if it was a bit soft.

So a successful session, as we left shortly after, chased slowly by the now-incoming tide. A promising return, followed the day after by a very successful if exhausting home gala and a gold medal for my age group. I must admit that the swimming has been crucial in my recovery and without it, i wouldn’t be surprised to be injured yet again. As it happens, things are looking bright and hopefully, i can get back on track with ticking off the next local project and working towards my next French trip.

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