Saturday, 21 December 2013

... of 2013

Book of 2013:  We the Drowned, Carsten Jensen
I've never read a Danish book before, but if they're all like this one I'll be filling the library.  The book follows the fortunes of the harbour town of Marstal on the small island of Aero, telling the story of over a century of shipping, salty seadogs and the families they leave behind.  Uniquely, most of the book is written from the point of view of the town's community rather than one particular person, which allows the story to focus on different generations of the same families and travel all over the world, from tropical piracy to the Arctic convoys of World War 2.  

Tune of 2013: The Shoes, Time to Dance (Extended Video Edit) 
OK, so I think this came out in 2012.  And I only started listening to it a few weeks ago so it might not pass the true test of time, although I did hear it in a Kissy Sell Out podcast a while back.  Energetic, funky, chimey, and the extended version has a couple of nice breaks and builds, which I'm always a total sucker for.

Trad Route of 2013: Where Seagulls Dare E3, Pink Walls, Pabbay
2013 has been pretty weak on the trad front, with the highlight being a week on Pabbay and Mingulay back in June. Compared to many of the routes on the islands this one isn't that remarkable: one good long pitch sandwiched between a couple of easy filler-ins, but it stood out for me because I got the big main pitch at a point when I wasn't feeling very confident.  It's a classic islands number - long, steep, exposed and safe. On reaching the belay at the top I basked in that warm satisfying glow of a fight well fought, and for a brief spell that elusive confidence returned.

Sport Route of 2013: The Shield 7b, Am Fasgadh.
That's right.  I'm choosing a short route with a hands-off ledge at half height. Despite 75% of routes at Am Fasgadh being way out of my league, it's become one of my favourite sport crags.  The name says it all - the refuge.  Somewhere for the myopic rock climbers of North Scotland to delude themselves that they're still getting out during the short dark days of winter.  I did The Shield on a memorable day: bitterly cold and windy, the hands-free rest was fully milked to get sensation back in the fingers, and then skipping a clip for the crux right at the top of the golden headwall as the Fisherfield hills disappeared behind another snow squall.  I love you Scotland.
Tess on the crux section of The Shield
Boulder of 2013: Lawrence's Crack 7A, Ardmair Crag 
An obvious line on brilliant rock in a stunning location.  Enough said really.

Spanking of 2013: Primo (Curving Crack) 7b+, Am Fasgadh.
After The Shield this is the next on the list of Am Fasgadh test pieces.  It's the first (and perma-dry) section of the full 7c line of Primo, scuttling off right to an intermediate lower-off below the umbrella-esque quartz band.  It's taken a while to get to the point when I can do it in overlapping halves, but on redpoint I just don't have the fitness to get anything from the 'rest' so I'm off as soon as I start the second half.  Is 2014 the year? Only if Malc's arete gets done first...