Saturday, 11 February 2012

Skeleton Boulder roof

Spectacular view from the Skeleton Boulder, Glen Nevis 

I just had a couple of sessions on the Skeleton boulder project without any success to speak of. The rock seems to be particularly unyielding to my attempts to be inventive with the sequence. It’s a classic boulder problem - enough holds that it’s obviously possible, but they are so unhelpfully arranged that it defeats every possible option. For my strength level at least. And there is the rub. I don’t think I can do much more with sequence cleverness. 
I’ve been trying to because I know that if I’m forced to stick with my current sequence, I don’t just need to be a little bit stronger. It would need a substantial change to my strength/weight ratio. 
People often ask me, especially at climbing lectures about fear and sense of mortality that climbing risky routes could highlight. I don’t have think (or at least dwell) too much about this on risky routes because I try and do them with a good reserve of control and never really get too scared.
Actually, it’s trying super hard physical climbs like in bouldering that most strongly reminds me of the constraints of life. After yesterdays rather miserable performance on the roof, I was acutely aware that I don’t deal very well with the idea that some things might not be feasible for me. I’ve never really had to experience that yet. In that sense I’m a bit spoiled! I usually feel that it’s possible and just a matter of how much effort you are willing to put in. And I’ve realised from personal experience that you can always put in far more effort than you estimate in advance, so long as you start sufficiently down the road and then refuse to give in when progress grinds to halt.
I’m also realistic. When I was 19 I was doing Font 7C I’m doing 8B/+ now at a push and that is reasonable progress. Is 8C possible? I’m not sure. So I guess this is where things get interesting in the climbing progress game. 33 years old and chasing a big jump in standard. Time to step up a gear then…
Freida is a great daily reminder that progress can happen.

Five Finger gully bathed in February sunshine.

Thanks to everyone who came out to our lecture in London the other day.


  1. Even without having actually seen the problem, I'd still put my money on you over the boulder based on your advantage in the stubbornness stakes... Also, if a big jump in standard is needed, maybe now is the time to make a serious attempt at getting that bicarb into a deliverable form!

  2. Your lecture in London was brilliant! Keep working on the boulder.

  3. Randy Couture was UFC champ at 40?