Sunday, July 31, 2011

Action replay

Headed out to Wicklow today with Matt and John to try and hit Glendasan for the second time - the last time, two weeks ago, it rained.... today... it rained again.

We picked up Paul along the way and as soon as we got to Roundwood, we called it a fail, and turned around and headed towards the Co op.

I was shattered tired after the Cave yesterday and had a half hearted session before admitting defeat and sitting down to take some photos of the guys who had a really good session with a great energy about it.


While I had a foot jammed into a crack on Solstice (7a+) in the cave yesterday, and as I was about to move my hands on the very much smaller holds that make up the line - I got scared.

The moves were fantastic and I can't wait to get back and do them again - but it's so rarely the case that I'm reluctant to do a move due to fear.

I was scared that if my hands slipped, my right foot would stay jammed and I might twist or break my ankle.

There was no need to drop off the line, I felt strong and I had a pad beneath me and Chris was spotting -

I never usually think of the potentially 'bad' consequences of doing a move on rock - but yesterday fear of injury took over and I had to walk away...

The main thing is, I'm excited to get back and try it again... If it were the case that I wanted to give it a miss, that would be far more of a worry.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

At least a million people

Kev on 'The Funk' (7b+)

'You southsiders should just stay over your side of the Liffey' were the taunts that met us as we came around the corner to Aytons Cave today -

Claire, Matt, Eamon, Paddy, Carole, Andy and others were already there already and myself, Tim and Barry had just arrived!

It had been an fun trip across town to get there, I just missed a train out to Howth and had to wait a half an hour at the station for the next one, which was mind numbing, but then Tim text me and said himself and Barry were heading out and would pick me up along the way - happy days!!

The cave was wet when we arrived - the foot holds of Carolines traverse were slippy wet, glistening in the sunlight with wet!! It took me three attempts at the opening move before I got a bit angry at my feet slipping and tore through the warm up twice in a row just to remind myself I could climb - I felt a little out of touch with the cave having not been there in two weeks.

Tim and Barry had both blasted through it first go.

Tim and I started to work Loco Total, which was in bad condition. It was really wet and we plied it with tissue paper to dry it. While it did improve, it was really important to keep moving on it. The damp seeping holds were not allowing us to hang around on them as they would on dryer days. I made it all the way to the final hold, and if I'd milked the rest a while longer I think I'd have sent it...

But it occurred to be that I wasn't overly bothered about the end... the cool moves are in the middle, and I'd done them already.

Shane and Ron arrived along, followed by Chris a while later and Colm later still and while I sat for a minute, taking a rest, I looked into the cave and it just looked manic! The guys were working Carolines Traverse (6b), Chris, Matt, Kev and Eamon were on 'The Funk' (7b+) , Loco Total (7a) was occupied and Ron was on Solstice (7a+)... It seemed like there were at least a million people there!

Quite a bit into 'the epic session' it would turn out to be and not before Carole and Claire had braved the Irish Sea for a swim, Carole, Claire, Paddy and Andy left, Matt, Barry and Tim called it a day soon after that and it became a far quieter bouldering session after everyone had gone. By the time we were having our final attempts, energy levels had dropped significantly...

Ron on Solstice (7a+)

Ron had been showing me the moves on Solstice and I was getting really excited about the line. Having done Loco, and read in the guide that it was the 'classic of the cave', I wondered would the rest of the lines in Ayton's Cave be as good?

Solstice starts at the same point as Loco Total and moves through that line until all the cool moves have been completed.

Me on Solstice (7a+)

THEN!, it bails right instead of left, and the holds get smaller and the moves get harder and better. All in all, I think it's better than Loco Total, because all the best bits of Loco Total are still included and THEN, there's this gnarly toe hooking, foot jamming, can't see what I'm holding onto, finish that's WAY better than the finish to Carolines!!

Psyched to get back on again!!

Ron made great progress on it, stringing together nearly the entire final sequence and Chis and Kev were both looking solid on 'The Funk' - This calls for another session soon methinks!!

Chris on the Funk (7b+)

I left my house at 2pm today and got to the cave at 4pm... Got in the door this evening at about 9.30pm give or take (thanks for the lift home Ron!)... I'm absolutely shattered!!

It should be noted that I only started taking photos when most people had gone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Salvaged Day in The Scalp

The rain was no reason not to go climbing today - too many sessions in the Cave had obviously left us in some sort of denial that rock suffers from it's effects!

We tried Glendasan, but managed to deduce that because the windscreen was so wet we could hardly see out, that the rock would be wet too...

What to do, what to do...

We hit the Scalp - I hadn't been there in about a year or more and was psyched to get on LDF (6c) and Dark Angle (7a)

We headed up to Gully's Problem (6b+) first and John and Matt crushed it. It took myself and Tom a good few attempts to figure it out, but we got there in the end. The move up into the undercut is lovely and feels precarious at first (especially in the rain!) but as you move higher on it, the hold gets better and better and allows your right arm free to grab the hold at the top. Nice move.

The descent from the top of Gully's Problem in the rain stressed me out big time today. Rock shoes do not stick to wet rock or grass or pine cones and it took me quite some time to calm the freak out I was having and get down the grassy rocky slope that falls away quite dramatically... I felt like a wuss!

Not surprisingly I made it down in the end and Tom gave me half his sandwich to eat - a good combination of Chicken Tikka, Tomatoes and Red Onion.

Matt and John had headed off to try Crimpnarris (7a) but as it became wetter and wetter the lads gave up and came back up to join us.

We made our way over to LDF which is across the road from Gully's Problem. Alas it was wet and John suggested we all head up around the back of LDF to another set of low ball boulders that might be sheltered from the rain. John and Matt bailed right, while Tom and I bailed left... The left hand side ascent up the slope was a bad combination of nettles and ferns - completely over grown and again, left my nerves in shreds!

We had a couple of attempts on the lines up there, but in the end the rain won and we decided it was time to leave. We went down the other side which was nettle free!

None of us felt like we'd had a work out though and so we hit the Co op and completely destroyed ourselves trying the problems there.

Shattered now.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cave Prep!

It rained and rained as I sat on the Dart on the way to Ayton's Cave yesterday...

Text messages flew back and forth as I tried to see if I was the only one maintaining my blind optimism that the Cave would be dry...

John met me along the way and we drove to the parking spot. By the time we got there it had stopped raining... Success!

The walk in is getting easier and easier, maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm pretty psyched on projects in the Cave so I'm usually pretty hyper on the way!!

We arrived at the Cave and as usual, threw the bags down and checked the key holds on each line - it was dry... It's always dry... unless it's soaking, I convince myself, it's dry.

It wasn't dry!

Well, parts of it were - Caroline's Traverse was dry, but all the key holds on Loco were damp and seeping a lot.

To warm up I sent Caroline's Traverse twice and John did a cool back and forth traverse on the line, reversing the moves - I'm pretty psyched to try work that out.

Matt arrived along and the session had a good amount of energy about it. We were all working on separate stuff - I was working Loco (7a), Matt was working The Funk (7b+) and John was working out a project of his.

Tom appeared around the corner and had with him just the answer to the wet holds that were spitting me off Loco Total on each of my attempts...

A bog roll!

Tissues were applied to all the holds on Loco and it soon became clear as the tissue dampened, just how much preparation was going to have to go into drying the line if any major attempt was to be made on it.

Chalk, tissue, brush, chalk, tissue, brush, chalk, tis...

Ok, time to try this thing!!

It must have been my third attempt that I got to the final move, I wasn't pumped, and I was - in my head - about to send the line... until my foot slipped and I swung out, holding onto the matched pinch trying to re-establish my feet on the rock, but was unable...

I can't remember if I had to let go, or I just let go - but in the minutes after I came off the end, I thought - why! didn't I just do it!!!

Tissue, chalk, brush, tissue, chalk, brush....

I was too eager and made some silly slips at the start of the problem.

I sat down and took a rest while the tissue soaked up the damp.

Tom was on Afterthought (6b), Matt was still working on The Funk (7b+) and John was still projecting away...

There was a lull in the action and I grabbed the chance to place a boulder pad over the exposed rock on the ground and take a proper attempt on Loco.

John offered to take the tissues from the holds as I climbed and it may have made all the difference. I tried to climb quickly and efficiently, however I wasn't too happy with how I placed my right heel before the link up between Loco Total and Caroline's Traverse.

As Barry had said the previous session - if you don't hit a hold exactly right, just keep moving.

I remembered what he'd said and just kept moving!!

Got to the rest point in the corner and John told me that my feet looked dry. After shaking my arms out and recovering (though I didn't really have any pump going) I blasted through the final moves and it all came together.

I was chuffed!!

I love that line, it's so much fun to climb and I can't wait to get back on it again.

Paul Brennen arrived along just after the send and we worked on Afterthought.

Such a fun evening's climbing! :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Moving Crux!

Well, I had session 5 on Loco Total today and after taking a pretty big gamble yesterday and resting for the day I felt fresh as a daisy this morning and set off to be at the Cave for low tide, 1pm.

Matt joined me soon thereafter and I did Caroline's Traverse first go and felt absolutely on form. I felt strong and focused - a rare combination for me!

Ron arrived along with his dog Meg and flew through Caroline's Traverse as well.

I spent a while working the rest points of my project for the day, Loco Total (7a) and when I hopped on the line first go I blasted through the opening half and it felt easy, my foot slipped off a seeping hold (the only really wet hold in the cave today)

Ron and Matt worked parts of the line getting moves figured out - I took a quick rest and got back on the line about 5-10 mins later.

I made it to the same point as my best effort in the last session and my arms ran out of steam...

Ron got on the line from the start and strung the whole thing together until the rest point - he milked the rest in the corner of Caroline's Traverse and completely recovered. As he moved out of the rest point his foot slipped and he was spat off the line -

I was in disbelief that this could happen!

My go, and I finally made it above mentioned rest point that had eluded me so many times before. I moved into the knee bar position and as I shook my hands out my foot popped and I was spat off!!!



Ron had been extremely calm about coming off at the end of the problem and I wondered why he wasn't more frustrated! When I got spat off I realised - it's the shock of 'what just happened?'

So like him, I just moved on and gathered my energy for the next attempt...

The breaks between my attempts were about 20mins - half an hour, I literally could not recover quicker than that...

Ron had his next go and again he rested in the corner after fluidly moving through the now wired opening sequence. He chalked his shoes up to make sure they didn't slip and blasted through the end of Loco Total.

For Ron, the line was sent!

It's amazing how much energy I gain from seeing a successful send - I was ready to give Loco Total another go and I felt like I sailed through it and again, made it the resting point.

I stayed there for what felt like 2-3 mins (might have been shorter though)

Deep breath and I began the final moves...

I had thought before that the gymnastic moves in the middle of the line were the crux but today it moved! The final move of Loco Total is surely the hardest after 6 or 7 meters of climbing - I matched the final pinch and went to put my heel up on the extremely featured end and all systems failed.

I was on the last move, and I exploded off the line.

With nothing left in the tank I had one last half hearted go and it was time to call it a day.

Progress is progress and it will be sent next session!

Myself Ron and Matt went to the Arch for a quick climb about after and met up with Eamon who threw popcorn at me for falling off the final move on Loco.

Brilliant day!