As a destination for a walk, a picnic, a paddle or a drive - Lough Bray is a wonderful choice for a summer's day...
However, if I want to stay on friendly terms with my fingers, Lough Bray will certainly no longer be a summer's day destination for bouldering...
The June bank holiday Monday started with glorious sunshine and Dec had suggested we hit Lough Bray for a few hours bouldering - my arm didn't need twisting and I met him in the morning and we set off down to Wicklow.
I was really excited about getting on to 'Away from the Numbers' (7a+) again and Lough Bray is a beautiful place to spend a day off work!
We started off on the Grand Hotel Boulder and warmed up on problem 1 (5+) and 'Easily Taken Away' (5+) which we traversed into, and my feet slipped off as my hands sat into the huge jug in the middle... doh! I continued on and moved nicely through the crux of the problem.
The view from the 'Grand Hotel' Boulder
We then moved on to a problem I believe Diarmuid put up. It's on the right hand side arete of the traverse into 'Easily Taken Away' and involves what feels like an improbable sit start position, then a slap with the left hand to a good sloper on the arete, I slapped again with my left to the top of the arete and scraped my tummy as I ungracefully lugged myself over the top...
Diarmuid's Problem (6b?)
Dec had done the problem just before me, and though I finished slightly to the left of the top out, he did a far more stylish send just to the right.
The problem ain't in the guide, but I think it's pretty cool and probably goes at about 6b?
Eager to be fresh for 'Away from the Numbers' we set off from out warm up and got ready for what has to be my major project for next Winter.
I made an arse of the sequence to start with and Dec had to offer step by step beta as I failed in my mental fight to forget the searing pain of my finger tips against the sharp rock.
Dec took a couple of attempts and got the moves nailed down. He sent the line and was pleased to have done so on such a warm day.
Happy to move on we headed over to Rainbow (7a). By the time Dec and I figured out the sequence I'll be honest and say my fingers and my mind had had enough of the pain. The moves on Rainbow are really cool and Dec moved well through the sequence but failed each time at the last throw.
I have to wonder what his finger tips are made of, cause they were all intact despite moving through the problem no less than 5 times!!
It was an amazing effort and makes me think about my focus. I'm left wondering if I don't have a good pain threshold or if I have an inability to put the blinkers on if everything isn't just so...
Excuses are an all to easy way to avoid sending a line. Maybe I was tired after Fairhead, maybe it was the temperatures or maybe, as is often said to girls who boulder... I just need to man up!!