Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Esoteric Gems

Gordon Bombay, Font 7c+ from Dave MacLeod on Vimeo.

Esoteric gems are gems nonetheless. Yesterday I had to be in Edinburgh for a meeting with my Gore-Tex colleagues. On the way back I decided to swing past for a look at a couple of newly developed boulders near Lennoxtown.

Alex Gorham found and developed a handful of problems on lovely sandstone in the woods near the old Lennox Castle mental hospital. He waxed lyrical about the problems to me in TCA recently and had me keen for a look, even before I’d seen the excellent video on Alex and Jen's blog of his first ascent of Gordon Bombay (Font 7c+).

I went and repeated the problem after about an hour of finding the sequence. I thought I was going to get it on my second try, but the wrong sequence of toe hooks near the end seemed to get even more wrong before I figured out a better way. Toe hooks are one of my favourite moves, so I enjoyed it immensely and will be back to explore the area a bit more soon.

The place is only 20 minutes from my mums house, right near my earliest climbing haunts of Dunglas and Craigmore, where I climbed before I even got my first pair of rockshoes. Back then I would have been totally over the moon to come across that roof (and the other excellent problems). I regret not having a stronger exploratory zeal at the time. But as a youngster I just looked in the guidebook for what others had done and didn’t think so independently. It took a few years before I realised there was nothing stopping me from just going out and searching for great new routes that were obviously out there, hiding in the local hills and forests.

Fortunately, as a 35 year old, I still get over the moon to go and seek out and climb such a great problem. Even now it looks like the area will lend at least one more project to give me an excuse to return.

It's well worth checking out the video below of Alex doing it. It's pretty obvious our different shapes (me being a short chap) means we climb it quite differently in places. The other problems, especially Wow Jen (V5) are great too!

Lennoxtown Boulders from Alex Gorham on Vimeo.

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