Monday 19 May 2008

Let the forecast decide

With the freezing levels dropped back down to around the same elevation as my project on the Ben, I’ve taken a couple of days out and just gone out climbing in the Glen after work. It’s been a tricky call – the secret to getting stuff done in Scotland is to do whatever the current conditions dictate. And when I say dictate – I mean it really does dictate what you do! If you try to work against the Scottish climate, it can turn into one of the most frustrating and futile exercises you can imagine. I meet a lot of people who visit Scotland to climb and have a frustrating time. 99% of the time it’s because they have a single objective, that turns out to be not in sync with whatever the Scottish weather gods have dished out at the time. Hint: When visiting Scotland to climb, start with the forecast, and then look in the guidebook, not the other way round.

Climbing as much as I do in Scotland then creates a funny situation. Basically It demands a daily routine of forecast checking, for which I receive a frequent ribbing from my (non-climbing) friends and family. At least with the climbers I know it’s different (instead they ask me what the forecast was and where would be the best spot for today’s climbing).

Yesterday I checked in at the Skeleton boulder and sussed the beta for the big traverse. It might be a V11 or 12 if the winds of send get going and give a really cold day. After came down at 8.30pm, I wondered if it might be a good time to go home for my tea. But the training plan for Echo Wall involves spending super long days out. My default approach has got to be to just go for it at any opportunity right now. No holding back – the more work for the body, the better. So I trekked up to another buttress and spent some more hours cleaning a lovely route until darkness and the thought of the chicken in my fridge were too much.

Today I headed for Sky Pilot and checked out another monster traverse project. I started off thinking I’d made a good call with numb fingers. But later, things got warm and the dreaded midge sent me packing for the first time this season. It’s so easy to forget how fierce they are after a long spring of their absence. So the conds have dictated that the Nevis daily pilgrimage starts again in the morning. Some snow showers are forecast. But if so, the spade is still up there!

No comments:

Post a Comment