Wednesday 28 May 2008

Step forward?

Echo Wall - the arête dry at last after the demise of the snowpatch of truth

In my last post I talked about taking one step back to make two forward. Climbing hard new routes is like this – a rollercoaster of progress and setbacks. You never know how things will turn out when you get to the next stage.

Yesterday I feel like I made three steps forward (superb!) but one large step back (doh!). This time Claire belayed me on the route on a massive top rope (100 metre rope) so I could begin making some big links now that I’ve had a good few sessions sussing the moves. The result was better than I expected with a link of the route with one hang (at the roof). Up to the roof does indeed feel like 8a+ (a scary E9 for a lead) and after the roof is 8b in itself, just to climb without placing the gear. But the problem is that it will be sick hard to stop and place the protection in the roof, especially the most crucial two wires. So overall linking plus placing the gear is looking physically harder than Rhapsody (8c or 8c+ish).

Looking back into the north face on the walk out

Unfortunately though, it gets worse. On my second attempt to link the wall above the roof, I fell at the final crux. A fall that would mean certain death on the lead. Oh dear.

I wasn’t sure if a shake out before this would allow good recovery so I could be confident I could get through the death crux every go. It seems not. So the route overall will be a bit like doing Rhapsody but the equivalent fall from the last move would be terminal.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – The up side is that my sequence is good and I feel strong enough for the route. All I need now is a vast improvement in endurance and to carry on with the constant mental preparations in the background.

Another fine sunset, the last in the present series, as it happens.

Separate from the climbing, we are also finding out that filming this climb is very far from easy. Much thought remains on adjusting our logistics…somehow??

It was almost a relief to see the return of the long lost Scottish rain, not seen in about a month! I have a couple of days work now before me next opportunity to do battle. Today was time for sheltering from the rain at the natural umbrella of Sky Pilot, trying to extend Cubby’s famous V9 traverse Beatle Back. Many days on this type of terrain are what is required now.

Normal service is resumed – rain clouds sweep in across the Lochaber mountains (from Sky Pilot).

1 comment:

  1. Rather than standard belaying, perhaps you can develop a high-speed winch to reef in rope in the event of a fall at the top. Cheating, or innovation?