Monday, 14 January 2013

Torridon Diaries # 4

This wasn't my fourth trip to Torridon this season. It's more like the 5th or 6th, but the last few just involved sitting in the car watching the rain, sitting in the cafe watching the rain, walking round the boulders in the rain and driving home in the rain.

This time was different, for a nice change.  Freezing fog in Inverness eventually petered out on the Strathbran Autobahn near Achnasheen, giving way to a blue sky punctuated with whisps of high cloud. Sarah dropped me at the boulders then went off for a run from Diabeg.  Walking to the Ship I could feel the dry crispness in the air - that perfect combination of atmospheric and human factors aligning, being here, now.

I warmed up at Angel Walls and on North Wall on the Ship, taking my time, enjoying it.   I then went up to a lovely slab of Mike Lee's called Straition Slab.  I'd seen it on a wet walk back in December and got all excited about a hard looking slab problem (something fairly lacking in Torridon) only to discover Mike had done it and given it Font 4.  After a few joyous smeary laps I guess he's about right.  A few degrees steeper and it would be a different kettle of fish all together.

Naturally, it was only a matter of time until I was down at Malc's for the usual ritual: laying out the tarp, weighing down the corners with pebbles from under Squelch, aligning the pads, brushing the holds.  On my first go I popped off the right hand crimp scar but every go after that was solid to the slopy rail.  Of course, that bit's not the problem, it's what comes next.  The move.  Ann took the photo below of one of my better goes of the day, my fingers curling over the top before the momentum from my right foot coming off rips me backwards.

Ready for another rapid dismount... Photo by Ann Falconer
As far as I can work out one of two things needs to happen for me to hold this move. Either my right toe stays on,meaning I'm more in control and can get away without catching the hold perfectly (this isn't likely unless I grow a bit, but I could work towards it with a mega strong core), or I catch the top perfectly in true mint conditions, meaning I can cut loose and stay on.  The latter option seems more likely, at least I can work on the jump, on my core, on my contact strength.  The thing is though, I could honestly imagine trying this move forever and still not getting it.  I guess that's why I do it. 

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