Sunday, 29 January 2012

Too many!

In my first post of 2012 I stated my aims for the winter projecting season - Malc's Arete for bouldering, Primo for sport climbing.  Both on the West coast, both beyond my current limit*, and both having easily brushed off all my previous puny attempts.  I'm pretty sure though, that with some dedication and attention they are both attainable.

*or my inaccurate perception of my limit.

Of course, within a week of writing this, bad weather in the West meant I had to make do with a weekend of playing in the East, and low and behold, without even meaning to, I managed to recruit myself two more projects - The Seer at Moy and a new thing at Laggan 2.  Both hard and both inspiring in their own ways.  While The Seer may not be an outstanding line, it's attraction lies in it's sustained thin moves, it's technicality and the surprise and joy of fiddling around with movements and feeling them come together.  The pull of the Laggan 2 project is more basic - it's hard, linking far apart poor holds on a leaning face, small enough to be safe, tall enough to be exciting, and, call me vain, it's never been done before.

I guess it's cool to have projects in the West and projects in the East -  games for all weathers.  But I reckon it increases the likelihood of never really buckling down to any of them.  I've got to prioritise.

With this in mind I tried to recruit Murdo to give me a catch at Moy, thinking that on the routes front, The Seer could be the quickest to dispatch.  Fresh from a week of hard mixed in the hills and about to leave his beloved Highlands for nine months at the Brenin, Murdo was keen to go West, so I agreed to go to Am Fasgadh instead.  No Seer for me this time, but at least another chance to get on Primo.

Trying to think tactically, I made the target of the day to find a new way of doing the last hard moves rightwards into the crack.  Previous attempts have always used other's beta; a backhanded stab into the crack, then falling rightwards across it to catch it with the left hand, a process that has always seen me hanging off the nearest bolt soon afterwards.  A mix of Murdo's Am Fasgadh knowledge and numerous earthward plummets eventually provided me with the sequence I was after, and a modest success to take home.  I envisage a long road ahead before any real success on the route, but i'll take solace from a small step on the way.

In a bid to keep the Eastside on the burner I bargained with Jones to allow a quick Seer session the next morning, in exchange for an afternoon spotting dolphins off the Black Isle.  With my excuses in early - it was a proper cold morning and the arms still felt fatigued from Am Fasgadh - I didn't know what to expect.  In the end I came away empty handed but invigorated.  The crux span didn't seem as far as last time, and on my first and best redpoint I fell at the penultimate bolt, boxed and cold.  With Jones starting to shiver on the belay I felt like a quick rest and try again was the fairest thing to do, but having scraped through the crux again I popped off one move earlier than the first go.  Time to pack up.

Jones wrapped up for cold belay duty

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