Monday, September 23, 2013

Losing the Rag

Build a board last week. Very exciting, a long term ambition fulfilled.

Climbing time is pretty restricted at the moment and it's going to get worse before it gets better. I had some time on Sunday and couldn't decide whether to go to the Quarry and try and get some shots for the guide or check some potential new routes that have been on my mind recently.

Decided to check the routes out so that I can find out if they are worth more effort or just forget about them. So packed up the rope, rack, grigri and various brushes and cleaning tools. Walk in was savage, the ferns are going strong, well overhead in places.

Set up the rope and dropped into the first line. The rock is relatively clean but still needs a good scrub. Ended up cleaning three routes, two are ready to roll and doable the other is a bit harder and has fuckall gear. The routes aren't massively long, but the climbing looks good and the holds are nice, I think there is room/potential for seven lines on the slab.Will head back when the ferns are brown bread.

Hanging on the rope in the warm sun, cleaning holds was a real pleasure. The time zipped by, I think I was cleaning for three hours and could of done another three no problem. It was also the realisation of something that has been knocking around my head for ages, it's good and very satisfying to be there doing it.

For the last few years, more than five but not ten years, I haven't used a wire brush, I gave all mine away as it seemed at the time that there was a lot of wire brushing going on and it was wrecking the rock. I felt it would be hypocritical to tell others not to use them and to use one myself. I have relied on stiff plastic brushes, elbow grease and scrubbing the rock with a thick canvas cloth. The latter is very effective as the loose crystal that are very common on granite get pulled off by the fibres of the cloth but it doesn't damage the rock. I recommend them, they are ideal for bouldering, but for routes where the number of holds is greater they are a little slow.

I pretty much wore through the above cloth on Sunday and this stuff is very heavey 14ounce cotton canvas. Might need to re-invest in a wire brush!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Last of the evenings in Dalkey

My trad revival is going strong and I got out to the Quarry a good few times over the summer. Started slow and worked my way up through the routes. Felt a lot more solid at the end of the summer compared to the start. The goal is and was to get really solid at HVS, not very ambitious maybe, depends how you define solid I suppose. For me being solid means enjoying the climbing, not wobbly my way up, puffing and panting, shouting and shaking. As we lost the light we started meeting earlier and earlier but we were still up against it. So last week Bray and I decided the season was over. So we went out for one last hurrah. I had my eye on Bushmills, it just doesn't look that hard, so was keen to jump staight onto it. Bray suggested a warmup route, a concept I'm not that keen on for trad. I had wanted to do Bingelstein for weeks and last week we went to do it and it had a few people on it. The description mentions a wobbly block and sure enough we heard the block been wobbled from the other side of the quarry. This time it was free and Bray set off, but handed the lead to me as he wasn't keen on the loose rock. I love that shit so set off happy. Thinking it's only VS. Well turns out I found it pretty hard, I considered backing off but as that was going to be a world of pain I hung in. The guide description is bollox, at the top you use the wobbly block to go straight up. Its clear from the state of the vegatation and dirt of the holds that no-one has stepped left for a long time. The moves took me by surprise, it felt more like HVS to me. A little steep, you can't really relax. I was worried about the wobbly block, it didn't move for me though. It's a decent challenging route but it was no warm up. Eventually I topped out but I had spent my nervous energy for the day so we did an easy route and that was that. Moral of the story. Dont' warm up.