Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sea Eagle Omen

Autumn fronts have brought bands of hated rain across the North over the last couple of weeks.  Not so bad for me as I've been sat in front of a computer modelling deer populations while my colleagues have been out in it counting trees.  Less good on the weekends though, when the options at this time of year are dramatically narrowed.

True to form, Am Fasgadh delivered, living up to it's 'outdoor climbing gym' billing.  The problem of course is that normal climbing gyms have routes I can actually do.  Nick had been on The Warm Up a few weeks earlier so was hungry for the tick, I'd not been there since about April so just happy to get the beta for Primo (Curving Crack) back out of the box and blow the dust off.  Neither of us were successful on that first visit, although Nick did all the climbing of Warm Up, just couldn't get a hand off to clip the chain. Gutted.

Next day it was mirky and damp in Inverness and I had to be home to get Sarah from the airport by five but all the Westies kept texting to say it was blue with them.  I couldn't face another day at Am Fasgadh so took the pads up to Ardmair for a look at the stuff under Arapiles Wall.  Bouldering at the crag was still a hole in my North West C.V.  As expected, I wasn't disappointed, getting stuck into the tenuous finger-locks of Lawrence's Crack in the anti-socially warm October sun.  After about 5 goes working out how to climb the crack, another 5 working out how to do the finish and then about 10 doing it all and then blowing the last move, diminishing returns set in and I packed up, keen for a return with fresh arms and new shoes with edges.

Another week of deer numbers passed and Nick and I were forced back to Am Fasgadh.  It rained all day but the crag stayed dry behind it's curtain of drips.  Mustering motivation was hard work in the cold dampness, but having driven all that way we both stuck to our guns.  A sea eagle floated by on the breeze - a good omen.  This time round Nick got The Warm Up sent, despite climbing all the way to chain only to fail on the clip on his first redpoint.  Effort for sticking with it.  Curving Crack started to come together, and I can do it in two halves almost every time now. Getting anything back at the halfway 'jug' is proving a little problematic, but I've refined some foot faffing which makes the next (crux) moves less strenuous.  We'll see.

Nick demonstrating the importance of rest before a redpoint.

Like last week, next day I went back to Ardmair, but this time armed with a pair of box-fresh Megos. After a warm up Lawrence's Crack went down third try. In it's own right it's a really quality line somewhere a bit different; slightly techy, slightly powerful and then a highball  lurch to a jug.  In the big picture it's a really good addition to the ticklist I'll be relying on for positivity for the impending Torridon seiges.

Afterwards, as I waited down by the road for Sarah to come and pick me up after her run, a sea eagle glided past.

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