I had a look at my ticklist on 27crags yesterday and was surprised how much I’ve actually done since getting back from Swizzy; it seems to have galvanised me nicely. The one problem i have had is finding people to climb with!
I was texting Ryan yesterday and he said he wanted to go to Sheep Pen but didn’t like climbing alone – i wish i had that luxury. The thing is, especially with bouldering, you just have to be a bit more picky about where you go and what you try. The Witch will have to wait, as i’m not dragging three pads up that bloody hill! However, after my recent reccie, Fish Skin Wall 7a+ is an ideal target.
To be honest, i’d been trying to get other people to go out somewhere else instead. With no willing takers, this would have to do and as mentioned before, it’s on the board so needs a good crack. Ruth opted to come with me, not to climb but just to be sociable, so we drove over with a couple of pads and made the short walk in.
It didn’t take long; less than half an hour as it happens and that without a warm up. That also included trying some poor beta, some that was certainly not taken from the videos i’d been watching. Feeling slightly buoyant but at the same time a little lost as to what to do with myself, we decided to head back, calling it a short session. That said, short though it was, it was plenty of time for Tess to find something dead to roll in and the rest of the evening was spent cleaning her off in the lake.
Next day, same invites and same problem: no takers. As mentioned on here before, when you can’t find anyone to come along, go somewhere you want to be alone. While i wasn’t exactly optimistic about getting anything done of the Mymbyr Boulder, i knew it needed time and effort before i would. Praying for another breeze, i neglected the trolley and just carried two pads up there, one on my back, the other on my head.
I should’ve had more faith! The prow feature on the right seemed the next one to tackle, especially as i’d decided to use a low block for starting footholds. After a bit of fiddling and faffing, i found there really wasn’t much of a problem with the landing and as much as i wanted a big dynamic move to a sloper on the right, the climb was much nicer slapping up the arete to the left. Climb done surprisingly quickly, i called it Ground Clearance 6c+ after the block underneath you and the amount of felled trees i had to move when i first cleaned it up. I also added a link up into Christmas Comes Early at 6c.
Onto the ultimate challenge: Dichotomy of Good and Evil. Such a good looking line, such good moves, simple yet brilliant but on the most evil of crimps. Five holds all about a quarter of a pad, with poor footholds at best. I saw this one as a long haul; one that would delay the announcement of the location of the Mymbyr Boulder for quite some time.
I’ve made a habit of being wrong in the last few years. Mostly it’s incredibly annoying but once in a while it has it’s advantages. Sudden unexpected success has led to mild confusion on it’s grade though.
Intermezzo 7c is a very similar problem, although starting on a massive jug with two hands and a heel hook. Four tiny crimps (although possibly bigger than Dichotomy) before latching a finishing jug. The feet on Intermezzo are substantially better but the wall also substantially steeper. Nevertheless, it relented almost as quickly. Would that make them the same grade?
Meanwhile, there are plenty of other problems with similar moves that shut me down at a lower grade so it’s poor reasoning. You never know if it was a strong day, where hard things relent easily, especially with a problem that suits my style well, or a poor day when i couldn’t get up stairs. In the end i gave it the provisional grade of 7b and am desperate for someone to go about repeat it. If you’re reading this and climb around that grade, please do get in touch, i’m itching to find out.
The actual evening was tougher than it sounds. The breeze i was hoping for didn’t exist and the midge got so bad, i was leaving my chalk bag 20 yards from the bottom of the climb and moving away in between efforts. Conditions weren’t great and there was a lot of chalking and brushing going on, hastily with the other hand slapping myself around the head in that fashion people do with flying beasties. Thankfully, the small crimps bit into my fingers perfectly and the skin on the last quarter of my pads is so thick it doesn’t perspire that much. It adds to the grade conundrum though.
To add further to the confusion, last night one of the new Centre Assistants at work, Louise, joined me for an after work session at Sheep Pen. We both had a bit of a poor one, where she failed on a V0+ (although did succeed on a V1) and i spent yet more time falling off the crux of The Pinch V7. Given my recent ticklist, of established problems as well as first ascents, this should be certainly possible.
Yet, another session gone and the problem remains on the board. This time i was close, incredibly so, but crucially not close enough. It’s meant i am now desperate to return, yet again, and tick off one more.