The summer holidays have begun nationwide and that, as usual, brings with it both English people and poor weather to the mountains of North Wales. It’s on and off, the typical relentless drizzle that does give cause for hope that by the time you’ve finished work, it will be dry. For me, that causes massive indecision and generally amounts to not getting a lot done.
Going indoors seems a bit of a crime, considering it’s light out and if you can, you should be working on the latest project but quite often, that approach leads to achieving nothing more than a lot of walk ins and deteriorating strength levels.
Nevertheless, outside i head, continually, in hope of getting one or two things done. As much as i try never to use it as an excuse, summer bouldering in North Wales also means that conditions are generally poor. When on the grit the other week, i herd someone suggesting to work your projects in the summer and find them easier in the winter. While tempting, i seem to be just going for whichever crag is likely to have dodged the last shower or dried out quickest, or shaded from sun and midge, or whatever.
So off i trudged to go and try Shocker 7b+ down at Beddgelert forest. Turns out i judged it all wrong, being eaten alive, forgetting my tobacco and needing a second pad. Frustrating though the short session was, i was glad i went and the flash on Shocker remained on, even if the adjacent crimp-fest Houdini 7a had spat me off once or twice.
It did lead to a touch of innovation though. Determined to return and thinking Shocker might go first go, being a carbon copy of Dinos Don’t Dyno in Magic Wood, i had to figure out a way of getting two pads up there. Beddgelert Forest is mainly served by well maintained gravel tracks so, from work, i borrowed a couple of canoe trolleys and some large straps and managed to fashion my most ingenious creation.
Despite my ingenuity and a rather smug feeling, i couldn’t get any power out of my feet, suffering from exactly the same problem as Simon did on Dinos. In fairness, the feet are a lot harder to figure out in Switzerland and the hands not quite as good but even so, i did find it a bit ironic i was coaching Simon a fortnight ago and was now in need of his advice…
On the bright side, Houdini went and a strong wind (that felt like a mild breeze in the trees) kept away any midge. That and a return will just mean i can show off my bouldering mat trailer once again.
Other than that, other non-climbing commitments have stopped me getting out. Sunday was spent sailing with my dad on his little boat and Monday was house-cleaning day. I had plans to climb in the evening but suddenly realised that it was much later than i realised. Instead, with a dog giving me constant dodgy looks at being cooped up all day, i opted to walk to check out a project not far from the house.
I’d looked at Fish Skin Wall 7a+ years ago but didn’t remember much about it. What i did remember told me it was tall, or the landing poor, and there is a large iron spike sticking out half way up. That beta was really old though, and there it was, on the list so i ought to check it out at least. And it would make the looks subside from my bored collie.
I dug out an old magazine with an article about the boulders at the head of Llyn Peris and wandered down. It wasn’t as i remembered at all, the iron spike being in the middle of the neighbouring V2 instead, the problem not tall and astoundingly, given the amount of rain during the day, it was dry and good nick. And me there without pads and shoes.
I did contemplate the five-minute drive when i got home but felt too sapped and instead opted to cook a nice dinner instead. I now have multiple projects on the go and have a funny feeling that once a suitable week arrives, the list will take a beating. Just got to wait for the right conditions.