Well, quite frankly, i’m stunned it’s taken me this long to post some updates on my new boulder. In fact, it’s been nearly a month since i announced the discovery of my own little addition to the local scene and there have indeed been developments.
In fact, it’s probably the developments that have kind of prevented any publication: every lunchtime, i’m out with Tess, brushing, cleaning, clearing landings or searching for more. It took a few weeks but sure enough, after a while, my precious little boulder was gleaming and good to go. As soon as it dried…
I waited patiently, not complaining, watching weather forecasts and staring out the window, hoping for a short dry spell as soon as possible. It just wasn’t happening; every day was another bout of Welsh drizzle, drenching anything like a poisonous fog from the 30s horror film. Even heavy rain would’ve been better, to drive the mud from the slab on top but even that wasn’t to be. Nothing to do but continue to wait.
Until Christmas Eve. This is the first year in many that i have had a prolonged period off around Christmas and New Year, due to my recent change in job and most of it was spent in the Indy. I’d woken, was about to go for another training session, stepped outside and suddenly noticed that the roofs were dry… As was the road! And the stone walls! Could it be?! Could it be in condition at last?! A sure fire Christmas miracle if ever there was one.
I ran back inside, put the kettle on (because that’s just what you do when circumstances change in this country) and frantically started sending texts; but carefully chosen ones. After all, my boulder might not be as dry as in Llanberis and i didn’t want to give away my secret to just anyone! Some texts were in search of people to climb with me, others in search of up-to-date conditions but my mind was running that fast, it felt like an age had passed and still no replies so i quickly gave up and decided to go it alone.
Right then, kit – i need different stuff now! I’m frantically flitting around the house now, getting distracted by almost nothing, giddy with excitement but not having the wherewithall to actually turn that into productive packing. The kettle clicks, almost snapping me out of it, make tea, chill. Pads go in the car, camera in bag, other clothes on back. Tess looks at me with a weird look, somewhere between perplexed at what i’m doing and mild excitement at getting to go out.
After a couple of minutes stood staring at the floor, sure i’ve forgotten something crucial, i eventually loudly announce, “Fuck it!” and go and get in the car. Driving down the road, a weird realisation of what i’m about to do starts to sink in. It’s not often that normal, ordinary joes get a FA next to one of their ticks so this means something to me. I should be thinking about the road, i’m really thinking of good suitable names for my problems.
After driving almost subconsciously, i pull up and drag stuff out of the back of the car. It’s still dry, i’m psyched and within minutes, i’m there – staring at my new boulder. I wandered around a bit if i’m honest, a little lost as to what to do next, not feeling entirely ready to start.
It didn’t last. Soon enough, the chalk came out and the holds now look white – it feels like another check on a checklist. Pads are down, there’s nothing else for it, get on it! A few efforts, and the phone goes, a text from Emily, replying to my conditions request: “the rock is wett…”
Glad i didn’t get that before i left! A few more texts and a phone call later and she appears, coming to offer support and see what i’ve been going on about for weeks. Soon enough, the first line falls, just the way i want it. Storeman’s Legacy 7a+ has been laid down. Alternatively there’s CA’s Legacy 6b – the same problem including a low ledge for feet. Both of these have even been captured on camera.
Emily didn’t quite manage either, the sloper on the left being a touch too brutal so we dragged the pads round the other side and had a look at another two lines. Chalk out, dab holds, brush them off, on again. One is brutal, probably 7b+ or there abouts, with thin crimps for hands and next to no feet. I give it a token gesture but no i’m not getting that today and i have other things to tick off first.
Sadly only one more problem succumbed that Christmas Eve, with New Direction ? spitting me off and Fresh Eyes ? in need of a bit more of a brush. No, in the end i left with only one more tick under my belt: a jug rail at about 5+, it’s called Christmas Came Early.