Tonight I am kind of relieved after having my second training session since I’ve been back - I was kind of worried that a nasty elbow tweak I picked up in Spain was getting worse. But instead it seems to be getting better. I must not take my eye off the ball for a month or so, but fingers crossed it will calm down and allow full training to resume. I am very very psyched to train right now. I want to do 9a+!
This week I’m also going to be doing some marketing work on Claire’s Velvet Antlers site, buying some ads and helping her sort out all the last minute stuff with the hampers. In my shop we’ve got Committed 2 in as Claire said before - I was really excited to see it for the first time and get a look at the latest crop of nails hard trad routes from this year. It was brilliant. Got me well keen for a visit to the Peak to try Peter Whittaker’s E9. The most eye popping moment for me though was seeing Steve McClure on Rhapsody - going left to the jugs on the left arête two moves before the redpoint crux, a link I did in August 2005 and considered finishing the route this way and making an E10. It was contrived to carry on direct following the crack right to the top, probably daft on my part, but that’s what all the fuss was about, and for me what made it scrape into E11. I thought hard about it and eventually felt it would a shame to take the escape just before the culmination of the route, and also saw when I tried to link it going direct that this route had the opportunity to make a really tough route – that’s what I was after. I paid for that decision with several more falls from the final move, a winter of worry and many nights of training, all the time knowing I could just traverse left from the sidepull for an easy option and still get an E10 tick.
Only two last moves; but those are the moves that make you fall, as is obvious if you watch the film E11. It’s a shame that arête is there, and so the route I took has to have an eliminate rule. But at least the rule is super simple - don’t go to the left arête. I was glad Sonnie saw the significance of that. I got past that escape point on my second redpoint, same as Steve. I could have gone left, only had one small fall from the same place as Steve, and finished the project in 2005. But I wanted to make a hard route, so I went direct. All this is no problem in my mind, folk can and should climb whatever way they want on a cliff.