Monday, 2 December 2013

A friend to All is a Friend to None – Working, Moving and Gritstone action! By Jen Wilby

Well the day casts down
Lengthy shadows on unfamiliar towns
I drove 300 miles from the place I call home
And I tip my hat to the angel of the North

And the sun sets fire to the heavens
On the hills over Sheffield tonight
And I'll sail over this countryside with new friends and old
And we are no where, but man, we're alright

Amazing Sunset at Curbar Gap

Where to love is home – home that our feet my leave, but not our hearts. In my line of work, I meet many different people daily and I often get asked where “home” is for me and I always find it a difficult question to answer. Probably because it has a different meaning to me than most. They say “home is where the heart is” and I have never felt at home. So I then ask these well meaning people if they mean where I was born? As I know this is what they really mean, but the question is met with a stare and silence. In the last 7 years I have moved 11 times and I believe I am destined not to be rooted, but to keep on moving and keep on exploring. I have been so excited lately at the thought of moving up North and with all the hours of work, I have never given much thought to what I was leaving behind. However, I knew that signing the contract to allow my tenants into my house for 3 years, was one of those points in time where you have just committed to a big life change and my heart felt heavy. Moving North is the right decision, out on the Moors is where my heart is, come rain or shine, even though we have no where to move to and my partner has no job to go to – I know that as long as we are where we love, we will be OK.

It’s the people who I’m leaving behind that I am going to miss, more than I thought possible. People are what make your home, not what your house is like, not where you live or what possessions you have, so in that respect the South has been an amazing home. Somewhere I have been allowed to develop my own path in life. One I truly, without question or doubt, love. In 2006 I arrived in the South, fresh faced straight from Uni and had only just started to climb – another life changing moment. Since then I have met some people who have changed my life forever and I call true friends.

Those that know me, know that I can be guarded, I’m not a great people lover. But those that have made it into my soul, know (I hope!), that they are there to stay, without question and its for those people I would give anything.

7 years later I am going to start again, in a place I adore but without the people and I will leave with a heavy yet excited heart. So, to all those who have helped me discover climbing, who’ve done stupid things with me, who have made the climbing trips so much fun, for those who understood I’m not your average bear but accepted me and loved me for it, for all those who have helped me develop into who I am today, I thank and Love you.

Enough of all that, it will ruin my rep!!!

With work being manic, as always, and with house stuff to do, I’ve not been training too much, maybe once a week. Its driving me insane! I have however, managed to take full advantage of the grit season which has well and truly started and I’ve been more excited and psyched than ever – I’ve fallen in love all over again! 

Podey and I at Baslow Edge

On the first weekend out, I headed straight to West Side Story 7b+ at Burbage West. If you’ve been kind enough to follow my blogs, you’ll know I started trying this when we got back from the trip last season. I actually jumped on it many years ago – and got a shoe thrown at me for being able to hold the crimp. How rude!!! Last season I felt it was close – but was coming up with new beta each session on it and was close with the “pop” to the jug. So on my first session this season, I came up with new beta from the 3rd sloper and I soon found myself at the break. Most people say “oh you’ve done the hard part – just traverse off”. There is no way I was ever going to do that – it tops out!!! I also always said that if I got to the jug I wouldn’t drop it from there, and having never practiced the top out, I didn’t know what was coming. I wanted to leave it as a surprise. Well…I dropped the top. I couldn’t top it out … then the epic hail storm came and we had to bail!

We came back the following day, however I was having doubts I could top this out. So I decided to traverse in from the break on the left and try it. I couldn’t do it – no matter which way I tried I just couldn’t reach. I love the West Side Story line and have committed to a lot of time figuring out my own beta and here I was, sat contemplating that there is a high possibility that I will have to walk away from it.

So I walked up to the top of the crag and had some quiet time…sorting my head out and deciding walking away wasn’t an option. The next go I found myself at the jug again…and went to get to the flake how everyone else does…couldn’t reach…tried to find other holds…there are none…getting pumped….decided to match and put the left foot up to shake out…hang on…left hand up….right foot up…match…top! Hurrah! After trying the top out all the ways I could think of, it took for me to be up there, on the link to figure it out. I love it! It’s a demonstration of how over thinking can be your enemy, use your heart and switch off your head when you need to – see what happens!

Crimp start on WSS

Its all in the feet

New beta from the 3rd crimp


Only way this was going to work


Ready to top out - finally

Oddly, I wasn’t ecstatic when I did this, yes I was happy, but there was no happy dance. I have thought about why this is, was it because I was sick of going to Burbage West, sick of trying the same thing, was it more relief? No – I love WSS, and can try it all day. There was no happy dance as I knew I could do it – so I need a bigger challenge – one that at first seems impossible.

The next couple of weekends have been spent back on the M1 driving North on that old familiar road and sleeping spot. I’ve spent some time going around and doing the easier stuff which I’ve never done – most recently Trackside and Early Doors.

Starting move on Early Doors

Big move up with the heel

Blind reach up

However, I do need something that lights my soul…and I had something in mind. I’d not seen too much about it, I had only one video and the description in the guidebook to go off. So early this Sunday morning I ran down to Curbar Edge with the dog just as the sun was rising and took at a look at Walk on By. Hmmmmm ….
I stared for some time, then made my way back to the van where my partner was making breakfast. He has already checked out Walk on By for me.

Me: “ I've just been to walk on by”

Marco: “What do you think?”

Me: < Silence> “hmmmmmm”

Marco: <cheeky evil grin> “hahahah yes”

Me: “ I cant see the holds”

Marco: “it looks nails”

Me: “Lets go”

So we warmed up on the usual trackside bloc, then stomped up the hill only to find that the “cove” Walk on By is in, is a sun trap! I was in a vest trying this thing – so after skidding off and loosing skin I walked away. Wondering if it is possible. Due to my height I am going to have to come up with something very different to how I have seen others do it, and to how my partner was trying it and I’m also going to have to strenghthen my fingers up, sorry, I mean my pads. I’m not sold on it yet, it hasn’t lit the fire, but I will go back and I am sure the sparks will start to appear. 

Walk On By

With 18 days left in the South its time to start packing the house up, so most of the time is going to be spent on that. We have our leaving drinks and our final session at The Castle this weekend, which has been a loving home – despite the cruelty that goes on inside that place !

Happy Climbing

No comments:

Post a Comment