So writing a climbers’ blog is a new experience for me, so far my current blogging involves uploading times table songs from YouTube or discussing random topics, such as Vikings, with 8 year olds (I’m a teacher)!
|La Balaine - Best 7A in Font?|
Hmmm, where to start? Well the past winter has been a bit down in numbers compared to previous years. However, some fortune came my way on a few occasions. After a summer of sport climbing to kick the winter season off I had a couple short trips to Font, psyche was high and weather turned out favourable. However, two things had changed since being in the form of my life last summer. I was 2 and a ½ months into my first year teaching and therefore days on rock had been hampered by an excessive workload and secondly the legendary Quernmore ‘Boardroom’ (where I trained at Uni) had been replaced with just a campus board. I had set my sights on a few problems for the trip. Yet during 14hour drive out my mind was full of doubt. How would I feel? Am I weak or well rested? Can I still climb or has that campussing messed with the ‘flow’? After a warm up, I was still unsure but wondered over to have a play on Neverland a classic 3D style roof that was on my trip list. Fortunately, it all came back quick and the problem went down. The rest of the 6day trip followed suit and I was able to work my way through my (large and ever growing) font to do list. A few weeks later I went for a return 3day hit, which involved a few more coastal drying tactics than the first but nonetheless was great fun. These trips allowed some good mileage to get back into bouldering form ready for my newly found coastal projects (see next blog). For those that like lists, highlights include: Neverland 8a, L’aplait du Gain 8a, Atomic Playboy 7c+/8a (soooooo good!), Respire 7c+, Noir Desir 7C, appartenance 7c, Noir Désir 7c, Vandale 7c, Eclipse 7c, Nouvelle Vague 7c, Deux faux plis en plats reéls 7c, L'Arrache Coeur 7c, La Barre Fixe7b+, Modulor 7b+, Sur-prises 7b+ (nails!), Peter pan 7b+ (the best one move wonder I have done), Pulp friction 7b (flash), Bleaus Art 7b, L'angle incarne 7b.
Back in the UK and most my weekends have been spent either tying in, in the attempt to maintain some route fitness for next year’s targets or putting in mileage on the moorland Granite, which is by far my weakest style by about 4 grades. It’s been a total contrast to the summer which I spent pulling on limestone. But who said working weaknesses aren’t fun. It’s been great just going out and doing loads of mileage repeating stuff, doing classics, hidden gems along with a few bonus new lines here or there too. While I’m discussing Moorland Granite, Bovey Woods is despite its infamous reputation not as bad as the rumours suggest (it’s no sharper that standard moorland granite and most classics are fairly close to main paths). For those not in the know, it’s a huge bouldering venue with 1000+ problems and potential for another 500+ more on the eastern edge of Dartmoor. I stayed away for about 5 years due to horror stories but if you’re in the area between October and May then check it out. These rumours were spread to keep it quiet but it’s never going to be a busy crag due to the size of the woods. Must do classics that are worth seeking out include: Slotted Wall V7, Devon Sent V10, Calcaneum Crisis V8 and Bread Crumb Trail V4.
But now the evenings are drawing out and soon clocks change (best day of the year), so it’s back to after work sessions on my usual stomping ground, the North Coast. Recently I managed a few cool new blocs including my winter project. I’ll do a bit of an Exmoor round up in the hope it will get you inspired to fill your tanks and make the drive down. As I said to a bunch of guys the other day the South West is going to be the new Scotland.
Finally, big thanks to Beyond Hope for supporting me this year, psyched to join the team. Stay tuned for more details, updates and photos of the South West scene.