Rain falls and it makes the rock wet. Then it stops raining and the rock stars to dry out. Seems obvious and that’s mainly because it is; it’s just one of those things you know and probably don’t know where you learnt it. What’s less obvious is how it dries more effectively.
There are two main ways that speed up that drying process: firstly, sunshine. The sun heats the rock, the liquid evaporates and low and behold, you’ve got dry rock to climb on. It also has the added bonus of meaning you get to climb in nice sunny weather. But while we have enough dry days in North Wales, sunny ones are pretty rare and if you spend too long waiting for the sun to come out, you’ll probably find the rain has come back… Especially in the winter.
The other way you can find dry rock quickly after rain is to find a crag that gets battered by the wind. Effectively, the wind is picking up the water and moving it out of your way, again meaning nice dry rock to play on. The downside? That wind can be fucking cold…
And so it came to pass that Monday, I came to the Pass, having selected a problem in full view of the biting wind. Frustrated by a problem called The Witch 7a+, I opted for another problem that comes straight in half way through, called The Witches Knickers 7b. While half a grade harder, it bypasses the bit of The Witch that is frustrating me and is good enough for me to be able to rub it off the list.
In my usual way, I didn’t worry too much about a warm up, and got straight on it. If the flash were possible, I might have tried some easier problems first but I’d tried every move on The Witch so much, the flash had long since departed. Besides, I’ve spent years going to venues to project the easiest thing there so it’s not exactly uncommon.
The shock came fairly soon – easily within an hour but I didn’t look at the time. After completing the problem from one move in, a handful more efforts meant I latched the first move and was soon on top of the boulder! Another speedy 7b tick and yet another thing in my life lately to make me smile.
After that, I sat down, rolled a smoke and, well, began writing this blog post… The wind is now making my fingers numb so I’ll keep this a short one, before heading up the hill a little more in search of more success. And shelter…