Monday, 28 April 2008

Blair's Admission

I guess it couldn’t last. The new week began and in came the grey, pushing the blue climbing days away. A few spots of drizzle put paid to bouldering down the Glen. Instead, this week I’ve been getting a serious serving of inspiration.

Tuesday afternoon proved dry enough for Blair and I to head up to Tunnel Wall. He was champing at the bit to get back on Admission (F7c+). Between goes familiarizing himself with this 30 metre uber-stamina crimp fest, I put in a few more shifts on Uncertain Emotions. For the first time I clipped the rope all the way to the top (there’s a lower off two thirds of the way up that we’ve always used in the past). Seeing quite how much more of this route I had to learn was humbling.

Meanwhile, the Fyffe was ready and willing for the redpoint, so I pulled the rope as he chilled out. What followed was another display of Blair’s incredible stamina, eeking out semi-rests on tiny edges, smooth and inventive footwork. Naturally, the ascent went smoothly, with only very minor use of the ‘Strathspey War Cry’ as he dropped into an undercut. I was filming him as he reached the top, and I called up for him to say something profound to the camera, all I got back was “I’m pumped”. You wouldn’t have known if you watched him. What amazed me further was what followed; having clipped the lower-off of Admission, he shouted down that he was immediately going to shift the rope across onto his next project: Axiom (F8a). You can’t keep him on the ground.

Blair leading Admission

As the week progressed, the amount of precipitation increased and we were forced under cover. Having heard about Alan Kimber’s new bouldering wall at his place (about 5 minutes walk from the Crucible) we headed down for a look. With the walls constructed by Scott Muir and the problems and circuits set by Dave Macleod, you couldn’t ask for a better set-up. Within a conventional garage space they’ve packed in a vertical wall, a slab, a hanging slab, a 60 degree overhang, a mezzanine area dedicated to stamina circuits, a finger board and two campus boards, plus the piece de resistance, a stereo that you can plug your ipod straight into. Psyche. It’s exactly what Fort William has been in need of for ages, and me too. I went down there for three sessions this week; the weather wasn’t being any fun at all.

As Saturday passed it turned into a beautiful afternoon, so Rob and I planned on another Uncertain Emotions session for Sunday. We reached the crag just as the afternoon sun was hitting it, warming the rock and warming our muscles. I was really inspired by the difference that having warm fingers made, and by comparing notes with Rob and altering a few of my sequences I started to feel like I was making progress on this beast. Familiarity brings efficiency, and efficiency means that I might make it as far as the fourth bolt (out of nine!) before I take a whipper. Seriously though, it’s funny how just a week ago I felt like it was going to be a seriously long-term project, now I’m not so sure. I’m not saying that it’ll go anytime soon, but I’ve got the slightest twinkle of hope that it will go one day. The moves are all there, I just need the endurance.

Looking down Uncertain Emotions

Seems like those stamina circuits at Alan’s wall are going to get some serious action.


It seems that I've recently been possessed by trendy clubbers as I've become enraptured with the work of Kissy Sell Out, a DJ who seems to be at the more dirty end of dance music. I'm not really sure which ever-evolving genre his music/remixes/mixes fall into but all I know is I'm loving them. Maybe its grime, maybe it's krunk, maybe its electro nu-rave post-punk baroque. I particularly like the 'Garden Friends' tune on his myspace page. It reminds me of the Skins theme. Man, I'm so down with the kids.

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