Saturday, 14 July 2012
Michael gears up for another scrap with Steallworker (8b), a cloud of midges above. Get tied in, whirr your jacket around a few times to disperse the midge pack, rip the bag off your head and go!
The other day I completed a new 8b+/c at Steall. ‘Irn Age’ climbs pretty much all of The Fat Groove (8a) to the roofed groove and then pulls right to climb pretty much all of Maxwell’s Demon (8b+). Although it has two no-hands rests on it low down, it’s still a good test of stamina and a mega trip up the crag with a tough finale. I certainly felt I needed to be quite fresh for the crux of Maxwell’s Demon which is right up near the last bolt after 35 metres of climbing.
After I got a nice sequence on the crux I did think Irn Age would be 8b+ and Maxwell’s Demon could actually be 8b. But Michael pointed out that it is way harder than any of the 8b+s or even the 8c’s I’ve done abroad. A classic case of a route feeling easy when you do it. Too many of the routes at Steall are my own and there’s noone repeating the harder ones them despite attempts, so I don’t have much info to go on to figure out what grade everything might be. Moving on...
Finally I can feel the effects of my circuits in my arms, climbing The Fat Groove without getting a pump and actually recovering on the better holds high on the route. Although it’s obviously miles easier than my 9a project just to the right, it’s still a confidence booster that these routes can go despite wet holds, bad weather and the odd midge.
I’ve put in the hours on my harder project, so I have the moves really smooth. I’m feeling 85% there fitness wise. But I think the real issue might come down to conditions. Last week I had a brief go on it again and just couldn’t even hang the two crux edges. Unless it’s cold and windy the tiny crystals just cut my skin. The northerlies of this week have turned out to be way too weak to be of any use at Steall.
So there are still some hurdles, but I’m making enough progress to want to keep at it for now.