Another good week of looking for grouse in the mornings and pulling on small holds in the afternoons has passed. It's been pretty successful on both counts. I spent a few sessions in the glen, looking for a new project to fill the gap left by Killer Instinct. After a spanking from the walk up to the Sky Pilot area with a bouldering pad, and then a spanking from the steep problems up there, I've settled on lower altitude problems. I did Inspector Clueso (Font 6c, apparently) on the Cameron Stone after a few tries, so think I'll see how I get on with the sitting start, called The Right To Silence (Font 7b/V8). A very long term project me-thinks.
On Thursday Rob, Jenny and I headed up to Tunnel Wall on Creag A' Bhanchair and we all received the customary spanking from Uncertain Emotions (F7b). In truth, the cruxes felt easier than they have done in the past, but linking them is still a very long term goal. Bring it on.
So next came the weekend, and Jones and I ventured to pastures new. I've drooled over Torridon's Seanna Mhealan crags in the guidebook a few times, so with good weather forecast we decided that it was as fine a time as any to explore. We weren't disappointed. The Western Sector provides shorter and sunnier routes than the main cliff, and with more lines in the lower grade range, we made a bee-line for it.
To get used to the rock we started on the Quartz Slab, an easy angled slab speckled with quartz chicken heads, seams and rails topped by a vertical headwall. Quartz Warts (Severe*) was followed by Off With Her Head (VS 4b**), both contrasting gentle rock-overs and smears with steep jug-hauling at the top. Marvellous.
Despite not getting Bleached Whale on the first go I definitely felt positive about it so jumped straight on it's neighbour, a vertical right-angled corner called Dolphin Friendly (E1 5b**). This was 10 joyous metres of very well protected smeary bridging. In fact, I think I clipped about 7 bits of gear!Count the runners: Me nearing the end of Dolphin Friendly (E1 5b**)
It's pretty good to feel like I'm climbing better than I have ever done, both physically and psychologically. I've currently got the time and the access to work on some great boulders, and am 'sending' harder problems than ever. And as a fairly regular boulderer, Ive known for a long time that I should be able to lead routes much harder than I currently do, but having the balls to step up and get out of my comfort zone has always been my problem. However, it's early season, the sun is shining and I'm feeling positive about getting deep down and dirty. Will this be the summer when it all kicks off? Lets hope so.