Sunday, 5 October 2014

It's All About The Climbing - By Jen Wilby

Bloody hands forgive the pain,
To reach the top, a higher plain,
And if you fall, forget the shame,
It's all about the climbing.

Jamming pro into the crack,
pulling through the nice lieback,
Chalk and cliff bars for a snack,
It's all about the climbing.

Overhanging, painful pump,
Highball topout, then you jump,
Smack the crashpad with a thump,
It's all about the climbing.

Flag the crimper for the clip,
Oops, you're sketching, then the slip,
Just sit back and take the whip,
It's all about the climbing.

People ask just why it's done,
They don't think it looks like fun,
And my answer, there's just one:
It's all about the climbing.

Something there that drives us all,
Men and women, tall and small,
Something calls us to the wall,
It's all about the climbing.

Writing these blogs get’s harder and harder every month, mainly since I moved up North, no longer do I have the mad rush to get up North when the weather is good, no longer am I pushed for time, trying to get absolutely everything out of that one weekend, no longer do I spend 8 hours in a car, totally wrecked…all for the climbing. Now I’m here, in the heart of God’s own rock, looking out of the window to check the weather, having a lie in, deciding what to do when each day comes…life is pretty sweet and so much more chilled than it used to be, which means writing these blogs is becoming harder, it’s not that life is less entertaining than it used to be, I guess I’ve just settled…for now at least ;)

The last blog was a hard one to write due to the mixed bag of emotions that came with August, so since then I’ve taken a step back from training and taken each day as it came. Deciding whether to train and what to train, even if to train at all, on the day, rather than in advance. It’s chilled my mind out a lot more, but also put me in a state of “where is my climbing going and what do I want out of it”. This weekend was a weekend of no climbing, despite being in North Wales, it was a weekend of eating a lot of food and consuming large amounts of beer, among other things and whilst it was an awesome weekend, it got me thinking about the fact that it’s all about the climbing and maybe I’ve gone too far over to the other side

After the weekends events I popped into the Llanberis Pass to see how conditions were, I didn’t have time to venture any further from the roadside stuff, but as soon as I was out into the Pass, looking at the mountains, touching the (wet) rock and looking at the stunning water falls, it reminded me about the climbing and where I want to be.

September has made life up here a little more exciting, with the conditions dry and getting cooler. There has been the odd morning where the first signs of frost can be seen, glistening branches, that chilly breeze, the other dogs walkers huddling and slightly grumpy at the change in the season, with that one dog walker…smiling, frantically texting those who will share the excitement…it’s all about the climbing. 

Drooping in the Cold

A chilling breeze roars through the now Fall trees
Sending adrift the barely held orange and red leaves

Nature's breath begins swirl in my direction
Unsettling the ground as it unravels
Freezing its audience and crowd during its travels

Hell bent flower drooping over in the cold
Tear drops freezing as the stem begins to fold

The ice envelopes around each piece of life
Re-fortifying our short amount of time

North Yorkshire’s climbing is different to that of the Peak District, it’s edgier, meaning you can get away with slightly warmer conditions, so the season has begun. Our first stop…Earl Crag. The last time I was there was for my 25th Birthday, which involved a lock in at the local, copious amounts of the local brew and a bit of punting around. Which means I can’t remember anything from that trip, so I was keen to go back and check it out.

Previously I’d been told to go to Earl with someone who is psyched as it’s a tough crag. “Bah” I thought, “I’ve got enough psyche – how hard can it be that you need more people?!”…well…after the first visit I was wrong to underestimate this comment. Earl Crag is brutal, not only physically but mentally. It requires power and technique, it’s a little like font, things are desperate, unless you know the way, which can be a frustrating and exhausting path!

It’s been awesome though, after three weekends in a row there, I’ve become a little more stubborn and bull headed J and it’s been so much fun feeling like I was learning to climb all again and taking satisfaction in a climb, no matter what the grade.

I am back to learning to climb again, back to the start – as odd as that sounds, those of you who know will know I lost my way, I’m not back on track yet, but I’m getting there and Earl Crag has been an awesome way to get back to it.

There are some amazing lines there, the one that’s stood out of me so far is lager lager. An awesome slopey rail line along a flat wall, requiring technique, power and precision along with some super strong shoulders J It’s also a ground up problem…my favorite! So it’s been awesome throwing myself on this and totally destroying myself!

The spring flowers, the autumn moon;

          Summer breezes, winter snow.

          If useless things do not clutter your mind,

          You have the best days of your life.

It’s all about the climbing and when people ask why I climb, I do find it hard to explain to non climbers why I do it and love it. So those of you who are reading this and are climbers will know of those rare moments when you are climbing, you complete something and when you get to the top you have no idea how you got there. You were in the present, not thinking about the past or the future and it’s the only real time you are free. I had one of these rare moments at Earl on Ron’s Arete, it’s a huge swooping slabby arĂȘte and I’m a lover of scaring myself, so thought I’d jump on it. From the moment I stepped on, everything else was forgotten and before I knew it I was at the top, the whole climb just flowed from one move to the next and it was beautiful.

Handy Andy is another “classic” at Earl Crag and is a pretty cool line, I’m keen to go back to this for the stand, it was odd starting off a block! 

Handy Andy Video

One of the advantages of being so close to everything is the opportunity to explore other crags and go to places which may only have one or two cracking lines. Goldsborough is one of these crags. Situated in County Durham, it’s one of the most remote Yorkshire locations and is an amazing peaceful, tranquil place. A must for anyone's list!

I went to Goldsborough to try Beth’s Traverse, a long (in my world) mega crimpy traverse. It’s a cool line, but more lock off strength and skin is a must before a return visit!

It’s now October and about four weeks before a two week trip somewhere, as usual I have no idea where and will think about it nearer the time, all weather dependent. I have to admit it’s crept up on me, work has been mental and I’ve been working long hours and it’s worn me out mentally, and I think it’s this that has made time pass so quickly, so it’s another mental week ahead, then I’ve decided to become and unsociable recluse for a while and get a bit more focus, I need to find that line and not sway too much either side. Before the Swissie trip last year I spent the two months leading up to it with lots of training, and weight dropping and I think it paid off, so I’m a little nervous to see how my “preparation” for this trip is going to go…

For now, it’s every day as it comes…but all about the climbing

Happy Days!

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