Tuesday, 18 May 2010

No Cigar

After rain intervened with our plans Blair took Richie and I to Dave's Cave near Arisaig. It's hard.

I'm in a bit of a quandry.

After the small gains I made to my sport climbing and bouldering over the winter I've got it into my head that I should be able to up my trad game too. The problem is that I had forgotten that trad climbing is a much more complex beast; the gains don't come in such a linear fashion. It's not just a case of being able to hold on longer or pull down harder, you've got to be prepared to do it in a situation where the consequences are bigger. Training the mind is taking longer than training the fingers.

Over the last few weeks a theme seems to have formed; after warming up on an easier route I've got on something a bit harder and invariably been shut down. I've taken two sizeable lobs from the top of Too Farr for the Bear, the E4 crack at Farrletter, and downclimbed or backed off a succession of other E3s around the Highlands. What's going on?

Fighting on Too Farr for the Bear, prior to the big ride.

In my defence, all the routes I've gloriously failed on have been pretty steep, and either super sustained, bold, or with fiddly gear, so perhaps I'm just trying the wrong routes? As we all know, I'm a slab pervert at heart, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised that all this steepness is doing me in. But what am I to do? Should I keep on trying routes in the hope that one day something will click and I'll start sailing up E3s, leaving behind a trail of blown onsights, or should I keep consolidating at E2 until I think I've improved enough? Oh, it's just so hard being me!

Racing the pump on the brilliant The Executioner, Seal Song area, Reiff. (Photo: Steve Crawford)


Stevious said...

I believe the classical response to such a quandry is MTFU.

Chad said...

Alright mate - trying not to take it so seriously would be my advice! Grades are not as important as how classic the routes are. I bet half of it is the psychology of harder grades - if someone told you they were E1 or E2 you'd probably sail up them. Play to your strengths and look for the soft touches - plenty of them in the NW - Touch too much as Seanna Mheallan? Hows that for a soft slabby E3 with a bouldery start? The Torridonian is a gift too if you can boulder as it's got gear above your head all the way up and bridging rests. Or lots in Gairloch to go at - Lifeline, hollow heart, call of the wild etc (last one is steeper)..... I like steeper stuff than you I think - how about Vincent in Glen Nevis - classic slabby E3 with lots of interesting climbing, second pitch a bit bold, and surely Edgehog is perfect? More gear than it seems...

That lot should keep you busy! C