Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Real climbing?

It's all quiet on the bouldering front so you will forgive me if I digress from the usual subject matter of this blog. I haven't bouldered for a few months now but I have been doing some trad climbing in the Quarry. The last few weeks I have been getting out a few evenings a week in an effort to steel myself for a trip to Donegal.

I started climbing in the Quarry and through my college years climbed there quite a lot. After that I got into bouldering and while I went back the odd time I haven't done much there for almost ten years. I always knew I would get back into trad, as a boulderer it's one of those things real climbers ask you regularly. Though I don't think I will forsake bouldering, I have too much I want to do and once the weather gets colder that's where the focus will be.

But right now I find trad fascinating. My goal has been to get solid rather than pick off a few harder soft touches. It would be pretty easy for even a mediocer boulderer like myself to go to the Quarry and do an E1 or two and then get their arse kicked an certain VS. So my goal is to be solid on HVS, any one, any time, without fuss.

So I have started slow, doing lots of S and HS and now I'm starting to venture onto some of the VS. And they are hard. Not hard moves but hard work. The trick I find is that it's easy just to pull through thinking it's only VS and that's why seconding can be hard as the route may be VS 4b but if you don't take the time to figure out the easiest sequence you might be doing 5a movs.

Did Helios recently which was great but a battle, an internal one, I don't think I do much shaking or shouting but I felt tested. Wouldn't of been so bad if I had a tricam for the borehold where I found myself thinking that I really didn't want to fall.

It seems to me trad is all about suppressing the fight or flight instinct and staying calm in the face of exposure or a tenious position or tiredness.

Going to stick with the VS for another few weeks and then seek out some of the easier HVSs. 


  1. Thrust HVS is an awesome lead, and the VS climbing in Glendalough is immaculate, beast of luck :)

  2. For two minutes there it looked like you where calling me a beast. Yeah Thrust is on the list, nice long pitch. As is a lot of stuff in Glendalough.

  3. think you'll get the most benefit in long run anyway. See a lot of people rush through the grades and ignore all the fundamental skills that come back to haunt them in time. McLeod discusses here: "I eventually went back to VS and went trad climbing all over the place and actually learned to be a solid leader. The result was coming back onsighting E7 instead of falling off E5s. I ought to have done it much earlier." - of course, he's relating to training, but still acknowledging he skipped over some essential skills he was covering up with being over-strong.

    Have fun on the journey - think one of the best years I had climbing in Ireland was the year I dropped my grade and set a goal to climb as many of the VS's and HVC's in the country as I could.....lots of quality out there!

  4. Great adventures Dave, keep it going. Fantastic photos on your flickr, fairplay.