Usually a couple of times a year I start a post by saying sorry to you guys for not posting in a while. The volume of work on the Echo Wall film has made it impossible though over the past couple of weeks. But here I am, in the car with Claire on the way to Glasgow to hand over the finished tapes to the DVD manufacturers. Woohoo! Well, we ain’t relaxing just yet until we get many large boxes of DVD in our living room in a couple of weeks time.
We are happy with our film though, and all the extras to go on the DVD - Spanish sport climbing, Glen Nevis soloing and bouldering and an extended interview with the climbing legend Jimmy Marshall. After we get back from Glasgow we’ll be sorting out a trailer for you to see what all the fuss is about some time next week, and you’ll even be able to pre-order a copy of the film from the shop shortly too.
In amongst the craziness of putting the finishing touches to the film and lectures in different cities in Scotland, I have made time to sneak out for some local climbing sessions. Climbing is so utterly relaxing for me, that even after back to back 18 hour days editing for many days, just getting out into the glen and running up to Sky Pilot for a session makes me feel fresh.
And much fitter than I expected given lack of sleep. The resilience of the body is quite an amazing thing really. In my last post I was getting excited as I was really close to the monster traverse of Sky Pilot. Constant wet weather was getting in the way, but sessions in poor conditions were excellent training. At one point I was resorting to blasting along the first part with a towel scarf and drying the soaking holds as I went. It didn’t really work.
Back with Kev on Sunday i got through the crux for the first time but a great big slug sliming over the crucial foothold needed to be removed with a gentle nudge of the toe, which destroyed my reserve on the last couple of moves (you’ll see in the film).
Big Long Now, the ‘barrel’ section, about 25 metres in, 25 metres to go! (video still from Echo Wall)
But the ‘September High’ was on the way. Five days of dry weather was the final piece of the puzzle. Last night (friday) I sprinted up after getting home from my lecture and pretty much knew it was ‘on’. First time out I lost my concentration with the anticipation of doing it and fumbled the crux. Next time I was more relaxed and got through to the kneebar with a margin to spare.
Ten minutes is a long, long time to feel the suspense about the last traversing section and the exit problem. Especially when hanging upside down from your knee. Yeah, you ‘should’ do it if you get there, but it takes a fair bit of composure not to let the anticipation get to you. That is the great thing about endurance climbing. I love that!
I didn’t need to worry too much, this was definitely my moment to nail this project, and I topped out with just a gentle pump in my arms. Brilliant. The massive 50 metre horizontal trip across the crag is now ‘Big Long Now’ and Font 8bish although a highly unusual one and quite hard to grade. Certainly the hardest link I’ve done on rock anyway. But it’s hard to know if I’m just rubbish at this type of climbing?? I see some of my problems at Dumbarton are receiving some upgrades with repeats. Perhaps this could be harder than V13? It’s certainly much harder than A Muerte at 9a which would make it V14. I lose track to be honest. Anyway the vid of it will be in Echo Wall so you can see for yourself its the brilliant climbing that stands out here. Because this was my endurance training project for Echo Wall it’s a nice feeling of completeness to finish it for it’s own sake and also in time to make it into the film.
Perfecto timing - now I can get to work on the more conventional straight up projects just in time for the good autumn conditions. Bring it on (but don’t worry i will have a trailer done for y’all during the week). More video still of Echo Wall on Claire's blog here.