Tumultuity: Part One

It’s been a weird few months in my climbing life, but that’s nothing that i’m not accustomed to. There have actually been plenty of noteworthy occasions, although little to justify a post in of itself. Then suddenly, you look back at it all and realise everything that’s been going on and go, “Shit! Have i done that much?!”

Perhaps not quite as drastic as that, as my Instagram profile will attest but even so, considering my online silence of late, there’s certainly been much more going on than meets the eye.

Big News

It’s always best to start where you last left off, ignoring the recent journalistic post on climbing becoming an Olympic sport, and that takes us all the way back to early July, with Tess still enjoying the France’s Northern coastline. Needless to say, she got back fine and all quickly things returned back to normal.

Well, not really. We hadn’t been back very long before Em decided to try and find out what had been causing the lethargy and illness she’d been suffering with recently. And so it came to pass that i came home from work one day and was told, “I’m pregnant”.

From there it’s been a period of adjustment, excitement, secrecy and announcement. The initial overwhelming nature of such news has worn off and we are both very excited about what now lies in wait for us come February and beyond.

From my (slightly selfish) point of view, things look very good indeed: Em has assured me that this won’t stop me from climbing and i’ve gone from trawling the internet for the best bouldering spots in Europe to best ways to go bouldering with a baby and it’s things like this that show me i’ve found someone truly wonderful. It’s going to be a huge change to both our lives and one we can’t wait to start with.

Summer of Discontent

Maybe it was the huge news or perhaps some seasonal heat sapping out the psyche but since then, i’ve not really been able to get going again. My grade has dropped from working and ticking 7c+ back in March to the mid- or even low-sevens now and this has had knock on effects.

I’m not on form so struggling to find psyche, which pushes down the grade. This means that most of the list is currently infeasible; something which is in itself demoralising. This drops the psyche still further and means even less of the list is attainable and so the spiral continues. It’s a bit of a catch-22: i’m lacking psyche to get on projects and lacking attainable projects to build psyche.

There have been a few isolated days over the summer and a recent week away but never enough to build the momentum needed to come back to full strength. That’s not to say they haven’t been worthwhile though!

With everyone else occupied on Saturday night, it was a case of finally. I finally got my first session on #welshrock since getting back from my trip and I finally got to #climb with Alex from work! We headed to #rhiwgoch with this in my mind: #nazgulstraverse 7c. Considering how out of shape I am, it was a bit optimistic: heading from this first move, bound for the exit moves to the left of shot. Turns out i got to the same spot as last time, failing at the same place. It's here i need to give a shout out to @fredrikfa88. While i was in Gävle. He watched me climb and asked why I was moving as I was. It suddenly dawned on me i was no longer thinking when I fail; merely trying the same thing over and over until it relented. I need to be more clever about what I'm doing and i stood on the floor, going through the moves and had a epiphany: in pointing my toe at the crucial moment! Suddenly i realised what I needed to do to get this. Now I just need to figure out how to do it. Photo credit to Alex Battery #worldclasswales #northwales #snowdonia #northwalesbouldering #bouldering #rockclimbing #climbing #climbing_is_my_passion #climbing_pictures_of_instagram #climbing_photos_of_instagram #meclimbing

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First Welsh session since our return was one i’d actually forgotten about with Alex Battery from work – a man i’d long since said about climbing with but until now actually hadn’t. The venue: Rhiw Goch for an optimistic punt on Nazgul’s Traverse 7c. In truth, it went much better than i’d expected and i began to put some much needed thought back into my climbing. Nevertheless, it wasn’t really followed up with anything until a couple of days in mid-August.

Every year, Plas y Brenin is blessed (maybe an overstatement…) with a new intake of eight Centre Assistants and it’s only a matter of time normally before i drag some of them out for a bit of a boulder. In this case, it was them dragging me out, with Jack, Isaac and Alex offering me an evening at my old favourite, Caseg Fraith.

It was a decent session, much better for the lads than for me as i failed to repeat Boneyard V8 and thought much better than trying to even look at the outstanding project line there – an ambitious 8a. Still, again, always good to climb with new people!

And it was the day after as well. I’d been keen to spend some more time with Em’s family; not least her brother, James so when he got in touch to go for a boulder, it seemed ideal.

Not wanting to plump for the obvious, i mistakenly neglected a trip to Sheep Pen to take us instead to Elephantitus cave. In hindsight, with James never actually having been to Sheep Pen, and the distinct lack of problems to go at, it was possibly poor judgement and one that led to neither of us tasting any success. Nevertheless, James did remarkably well and will almost certainly tick it next time.

And so, other than a brief time killing session on a boulder in Bryn Engan one evening after work, takes us right up to last week’s trip to Scotland.

It was a funny few weeks, only half intended to be a bit of a break and not replaced by any other exercise. It’s cost me a lot of fitness, form and strength and the story isn’t done yet…

Part Two coming soon

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