The chopper flying off from the top of Hell’s Lum crag yesterday morning, dropping off the first of the equipment for shooting The Great Climb for the BBC. They did offer me a lift up from Glenmore Lodge, but that would be unthinkable for any self-respecting climber so I declined and trekked off up the path ; ) I’d only been in a helicopter once before as a kid as well…
After I’d wiped the sweat from my brow from the slog over Cairngorm to Hell’s Lum I abbed into the depths of the Lum for the second time for another 8 hour shift of cleaning and prospecting new routes.
On my first day I looked across at a beautiful smooth marbly wall which looked utterly inspiring. I abseiled down it quickly and found a perfect line of miniscule brick edges running up it, but very (extremely) little protection available. “E11” popped into my head. But yesterday I got stuck into it and found that I could actually pull on those holds. That was quite a surprise, and after a while I linked it in one go at hard 8a+. Thing is, falling from the hard part or the sustained moves above would mean certain death, no question. So where Indian Face is 7b with bad pro, this is top end 8a+ with even worse pro. Hmmm E10 for sure.
It’s probably the best quality rock on a new route I’ve ever tried, so the motivation to climb it is so strong. What better day could you choose than when such a momentous event as the great climb will capture such a great route on film?
Well yes, but it’s not as simple as that. At E8, even E9, I could wait until the filming team were ready and wear a radio mic etc so they get the grunting they want. But E10 is very very close to my limit, and the consequences of blowing it as high as they could get. So to climb this next Saturday, the temperature and humidity must be right, the build up must be right, the social vibe must be right, the resting times must be right. If anything upsets the necessary rhythm of preparation, I will have to make a cold decision to pass up the opportunity to complete this amazing project and go back to my plan for the E8/9 just to the right. Exciting!
Some more details on the programme:
BBC 2 Scotland between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
BBC 2 Network between 5.25 p.m. and 6.35 p.m.
The BBC High Definition Channel between 5.25 p.m. and 6.35 p.m.
The Web – all day, streamed live from The Great Climb site.
So anyone on the planet with either a telly or an internet connection will be able to catch it. The Great Climb’s website is live on Monday www.bbc.co.uk/greatclimb
In typical Scottish style, a deep autumnal low with flooding and gales are forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, the Scottish weather gods were never going to make it easy for us were they?
The line I tried yesterday with some notes on it describing the full horror… I sooooo hope the conditions are right for it next Sat. Do a sun (plus fresh breeze) dance for me.