Tuesday 26 February 2013

Recent adventures on rock

During the past three weeks, life has been progressively more manic, as is normal in Lochaber at this time of year. Usually in February, the weather gets amazing for almost all types of climbing, and this season has been especially good. Trying to get anything else done apart from new routes is quite a challenge and usually involves late nights and early starts. Maybe the rain will return by March and I’ll take a rest day?!

When I got home from Spain, I was pretty keen to get into the hills. I started off with a day on the Ben with Kev and could hardly walk the next morning. However, my ankle seemed to continue to adapt and I went back up a couple more times. Since both of us were only really able to walk short distances with big packs, we opted for the CIC hut cascades. Kev cruised the icefall.

Next up I went to a ridiculous boulder roof in the glen. It’s quite low to the ground and fully horizontal. An acquired taste maybe - a bit like a darker version of the darkness cave in Magic Wood. There’s 25 feet of horizontal climbing on brutal crimps in there, with three logical starts. The shortest link will be Font 8aish and the full trip looks like solid Font 8b+. I couldn’t imagine doing it at the moment, but I did do about half the moves on my first session.

I’ve also been trying a bit of running with mixed results. I did some trail and hill runs up to 12 miles and was getting on fine. Then one evening I did some short fast sections since it was already getting dark after the climbing. I misjudged the angle of a boulder on the trail and hit the ‘no go zone’ in my ankle hard and let out a yelp. It’s been worse ever since, which is rather depressing. I can’t really do much except hope I’ve not done more damage. Not good.

Ardverikie deer forest. Here be boulders...

 The next day I was getting pain even walking which put a downer on an otherwise great day out in Ardverikie Forest returning to a boulder I’d found on a run two years ago. I went to look at a roof that I’d estimated about Font 8b. But to actually try, it felt way harder. I pretty much gave up, although to be fair I wasn't in the most positive frame of mind, and the easterly was biting cold. It was a series of savage first joint undercuts in a roof with microscopic granite crystals level with your head for feet. A bit like doing harder versions of the Hubble undercuts crux about 5 times in a row. Maybe I’ll make a model on my board and try it once more in the spring.

The solid river Nevis today, near Steall.

Dan cleaning new problems, new boulder in Glen Nevis today.

Today saw some great new problems get done after a monster cleaning. I'll take some pictures of them next time. I did the problems almost in the dark since we were brushing for a lot of the afternoon. The boulder has probably 15 problems to do from Font 5 to 8A+ on the usual lovely honeycomb Glen Nevis schist. I hope my arms aren't too tired for tomorrows session back on the Ben. Off to sleep!