Wednesday 18 January 2012

Dry rock - new routes!

Catch 22 is a somewhat elusive boulder problem in a couple of ways. Cubby kept telling me about this eliminate but great little problem up at Sky Pilot in Glen Nevis. With some knowledge of the wall I asked him to describe it so I could try and do it. He did, but I got it wrong and climbed the problem in this video thinking this was it (with a sit start added by me, which I shall now call Catch 21!). 
Finally Cubby came up to photograph me trying another of his old projects which eventually came to be Seven of Nine 8B+ and showed me Catch 22. He gave it 7C in the classic old school style (stiff at that grade). It revolves around holding a wild swing when you jump off 2 opposing edges to a glassy sloper. Sort of reminiscent of ‘Slap Happy’ at Dumbarton Rock but a lot harder. A sit start was obviously possible but neither of us had done the moves.
While working hard on Seven of Nine this spring, repeating Catch 22 became part of my warm up rountine every session. And when I became strong and light enough for Seven of Nine, I could do Catch 22 first try, every time. I worked out two hard moves to get into it from the sitter, but the link was going to be hard as you have to have the crucial edges just right to stay tight enough to catch and hold the sloper.
I tried it in September after a summer of trad and couldn’t touch it. But after some bouldering recently it would be very interesting to see if that made any difference? It did! It still took a solid hour on it to refine the movement and timing, reminding myself to squeeze apart on the presses while moving my right foot up, and pulling with that foot until the last as I went for the sloper. On the last try of the day before I had to leave for tea at a friend's, it went. Feels like Font 8A+ to me, but perhaps for hardcore ’45’ abusers it might be ok. Eliminate, but great movement. Some performance related observations on this ascent over on my coaching blog.

Next day I decided to go back up to the Skeleton boulder project with Michael. It was COLD as the photo below shows but we still had a nice time. I am still unable to do the crux move of the Skeleton roof line that was in Committed 2. But at least I saw some beta that's worth working on some more to see if I can make it work. That roof is definitely the hardest boulder I've ever tried. A new level is always good to focus the motivation.


  1. It's amazing how much swing such a small move creates! Perhaps a lot of that is down to the smooth rock. PS. Please repeat Deep Breath and say if its 8a or 8a+? Hmm :)

  2. I've done Deep Breath a few times. 7c+ I think. Dan Varian thought it was 7c.

  3. Bloody hell! Think I'll stick to those soft 8a+'s down south in that case :)

  4. I know this isn't the right place to ask this but I was wondering if you are thinking of releasing 9 out of 10 climbers as an ebook?

  5. Jack, I might do a Kindle edition sometime.