Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This video is a very quick edit of some terribly bad quality footage of a couple of FAIL attempts on Solstice and The Funk!

Great session tonight and the 'lightening' effect during the footage of Paul on The Funk is because I was taking flash photographs of him while he climbed in the dark...

No wonder he fell off!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


As I passed Bayside today on the Dart it started pelting rain, by the time I got to Sutton Cross the situation had worsened and it was hammering down.

John kindly met me in the carpark and as he drove out to the parking spot we both admitted to be not so psyched about the weather!

We decided to sit it out in the car and as has been the case over the last week of weather, the shower passed.

We walked in through sludgy muddy ground and ducked through hedges that spattered out the remains of the shower that had just passed, leaving our boulder pads damp by the time we got to the cave...

No matter though - because by the time we got to the Cave the sun was splitting the skies and rock was dry.

Warmed up as per, and John played around on a few holds he'd spotted between Caroline's Traverse and Deep Throat.

Again, I made the sequence that makes up the Solstice part of Solstice and hopped on the Loco extension. I can't remember if it was my first or second attempt on it, but I caught the crux and felt pretty damn solid on the holds. I moved my left foot out the jam it was in and went to throw my right leg out the rib that runs through Maneater.

I missed my right foot hold and was so solid with my hands, that I had another attempt at hitting it, but by the time my right foot even came close to making contact with the rock, my right hand had slipped sufficiently from the crimp for it to be too late.

I had another two attempts and came nowhere near as close.

The hurry to do it has past now. I really enjoyed the session today. Once I fell on the attempt where I was close to completing it, the urgency to get it done 'now!' passed. It's a nice feeling to now be relaxed about it and just to enjoy climbing it and when ever it gets done, it gets done.

I was happy to walk away, and walk away we did - from the darkness of the cave into a beautiful little sun trap that John has discovered. The 2 lines there are brilliant. The line I tried is called 'Feral' (6c+) and is far more bouldery than anything in the Cave.

Little crimps and technical foot work make up the line and after so much time on the rather more generous holds of the Cave, my fingers didn't know what hit them! The sun was beating down on us as I tried the crimpy arete and John projected a new line just to the left.

As I watched John working out the moves, it became clear that the problem is a beauty! As he worked the sequence out on the higher part of the line, I was looking at the hold he was thinking of throwing for and just spotted a thin little crack line all the way around it. I mentioned the fact that I thought it might come away, but one can never tell until one goes for the move.

In fine style, John made it through a perfect little cross through sequence and threw out for the dodgy hold.

He flew off the line as the hold exploded away from the face!

I've never projected anything brand new before, so it was interesting to see John working out the moves and though (understandably) it was disappointing to see what would have been a perfect hold, rip from the line, John said these things happen with new projects, and it was a case of... time to work out a new sequence.

John and I had a look at a couple of different holds, and John tried a few different things but with only a couple of pads (one of them being my rubbish pad),a super dodgy landing and just me spotting - it was too much of a commitment to throw at holds that could end up breaking too.

After John had wired some of the opening moves, and with my skin and energy spent from two days on, we decided to call it a day.

I'm always saying that the climb out the Cave leaves my nerves rattled - I always do it and it's an easy scramble, I'm just a wuss - and like to vocalise the fact!

John demoed the climb up and out from the two problems, saying it was trickier than it looked. I followed and thought it wasn't half as bad as the Cave exit. It's definitely heights I'm uneasy about... I'm rarely scared of climbing. The scramble out from the two new lines is definitely trickier, but nowhere near as high or as exposed as the exit from the Cave.

Nice to have had a beautiful day's climbing in the sun. In bits now.

Pavlova?, Jellies?...

Ron arrived out to the Cave yesterday and executed my plan perfectly...

He arrived, warmed up and crushed Solstice.

Myself, Diarmuid, Steve, Eamon and others had been there for a while and the first part of my plan went off without a hitch! I warmed up, did the second half of Solstice without any issue and jumped on the start of Loco Total which is the extension of it - making up the entire line.

Missed the crux, missed the crux, missed the crux...

It was after my first few attempts that Ron arrived out to the Cave, he quietly moved through Solstice and the whole thing looked casual. He claimed his success on the line was due to the pavlova he'd had earlier!

Colm finishing up on Loco Total

Colm Shannon is up for the weekend wondering what all the Cave fuss is about, and it would seem he's hooked! He demolished Loco Total yesterday and found a pretty cool alternatively angled knee bar rest, in the same place I take mine, but his looks more solid.

He claimed in the car on the way to the Cave yesterday that he'd be happy if he could just get Loco Total done before he left Dublin. Having made such short work of it, he turned his focus to Solstice and claimed he'd be happy if he could just get Solstice done before he left Dublin!

I was a little miffed that my project didn't come together for me yesterday. I did eventually move through the crux twice, but didn't have the energy to see the line through to the end.

Before I left for the Cave yesterday, Jono had said to me not to forget my usual bag of jellies as he was sure they were the fuel for his Cave crushing a week ago...

Maybe I just didn't eat enough of them?!

I'm planning on heading back to the Cave today to see if I can get Solstice done.

Are jellies enough or do I need to bake a pavlova before I go?!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Black Diamond Drop Zone

About a year ago I bought a new bouldering pad.

I had seen and bouldered above a 'Black Diamond Drop Zone' pad before and liked the pad a lot.

I also knew that it was the replacement for the old Franklin pads that are as tough as old boots and last forever.

I was happy as Larry for for the first while, but then the foam within the pad began to become flimsy and mis-shapen. I brought it to bouldering sessions and wondered why I bothered - and met a few other boulderers who owned the pad and immediately agreed -

It's a waste of money.

I was in the Cave last weekend and the guys all spurred me on to email Black Diamond and ask what could be done. Afterall - A pad should last longer than a year and I hadn't treated mine badly.

So last Friday I found myself with nothing to do and so put together an email explaining my predicament and detailing my mat's place of purchase etc and sent it off to Switzerland.

First thing Monday morning a nice man called Glen emailed me back and said that yes - that was a piece of equipment that Back Diamond were having trouble with and he gave me two options:

1) To receive a pad with newer foam in it (the foam's been changed but is still manufactured abroad - however it's still the same external pad.

2) To wait until Summer 2012 when Black Diamond will be launching their new Drop Zone with foam manufactured in Switzerland.

I emailed back yesterday and said that I couldn't really wait the guts of a year for a new pad, and said that with the Winter season fast approaching, I'd opt for an immediate replacement.

Glen mailed me back this morning and told me that a new pad would be dispatched tomorrow and should be with me soon.

As much as I've complained and bitched about my boulder pad in the last year, I think it's important to recognise when companies go out of their way to fix the problems customers have.

Black Diamond held their hands up, apologised and are sending out a replacement pad that otherwise would have set me back about a 140euro.

Monday, August 22, 2011

'The Cave has kinda taken over things...'

Recently all my bouldering has been taking place in one place:

Ayton's Cave...

This summer I've pushed my bouldering, a lot.

I've put in hours of hard work, and have seen real progress. My blog has suffered in it's variety, and it seems to be the same story week in, week out.

Thinking about it today though, I don't really have a problem with that. As a boulderer, I love obsessing over one move, one problem. The fact is, that the Cave is so accessible for me (as a non-driver) that during the summer, I've been there as much as I possibly can be - and that's because the projects are amazing and the climbing is really inspiring and unlike anything I usually get to do in the winter.

I love that I unlocked the crux of a problem last weekend with a slight shift in weight to the right and the use of my right thumb on a crimp. It's not the height of the climb or the gear involved that has me hooked in the sport - it's the detail.

The Cave is full of intricate detailed moves and allows me to revel in accumulating broad amounts of beta for a line, then refining that beta and refining it again and again, until I know it so well that it's an alternate placement of one finger that unlocks a problem.

I love to log my progress and my friend's progress, and at times it reads tediously... particularly this summer...

It might be true to say though, that boulderers can be an obsessive bunch. Problems become inspirations, obsessions, competitions, enemies, secrets even! When they come together, the memory of the process is vivid and like a drug, it spurs me on to the next line I might obsess over.

For sure the Cave has taken over things... and I love it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dec's Cave Debut!

Today at the Cave I started from the knee bar at the rest point on Loco just before the link up with Solstice and moved through the crux of Solstice with little problem 4 times. I made it to the end of the line twice.

The difference. I used my right thumb.

Ron's beta from yesterday had me on the right track for sure - but the right hand crimp always felt precarious for me, and John spotted my mistake just before he left.

He told me to engage my thumb on the hold in order to gain more purchase and it made all the difference.

I had argued with Ron yesterday that the crux was the drop back onto the left hand undercut - but today, I think I have to eat my words. I've figured out that move to such an extent now, that I think the following move is, in fact, the crux.

Me working Solstice (7a+)

Before we left the Cave yesterday, Claire had said she was eager to return the following day, but I said I was too tired, and a rest day was in order. I thought at the time, there's no WAY I'm climbing in the Cave tomorrow!!

I did nothing yesterday but sit down and chill out after the morning Cave session, and by the evening, I thought... 'hmmm... I'm eager to sort out the move I'm having trouble with - I'm doing nothing else in the morning... better go to the Cave so!'

I text Claire to make sure she was still going and said that I'd changed my mind...

Her reply: Ha! You caved!

Another early start today and just as I was getting ready to leave, Dec text me to see if I was climbing this morning, I wasted no time in telling him that he HAD to come to the Cave. He hadn't been there before and I told him it was amazing. (then I just hoped the Cave would be dry!)

We all met up at Sutton Cross and drove to the parking spot. The morning was beautiful as the sun beat down on us on the walk in.

Sure enough the Cave was lovely as it has been over the last while and we got straight to work.

Dec flashed Caroline's Traverse (6b) and made pretty impressive progress on Loco Total. He moved through until the link up with Carolines, making short work of the gymnastic moves that make up the first half of the problem.

Dec Working Loco Total (7a)

John, Steve and Diarmuid arrived along and while John worked on his current project at the back of the Cave, I was drilling the moves on Solstice, Claire, and Dec were on Loco Total and Eamon was on Afterthought.

John's project was a bit damp - it's right at the back and just didn't seem to dry out like the rest of the Cave had done. He went off to try some projects he'd found out of the Cave and around the corner. Looking forward to checking them out, but I still have a lot of lines I want to try in the Cave before I turn my focus elsewhere!

Having ripped an impressive flapper on one of her fingers yesterday, Claire continued to tear chunks out of her hands today. No matter though, as major progress was made on Loco Total.

Eamon demoed his sequence through Loco, and nearly finished it - as is so often the case when people climb the line - he just dropped off on the final move!

We all packed up and headed off. Claire had text me this morning to politely request that I leave my shit boulder mat at home, because she had an extra better pad that I could carry in instead. My music and my boulder pad vetoed!!

On the walk out we listened to the squeaky buckles on Claires spare pad squeak with every footstep. Claire then asked if I'd remind her later to oil the buckles so next time we wouldn't be driven demented!!!

I think my boulder pad has been officially retired.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Todays regression on Solstice, which led to me discovering more about what technique I need to do the crux made me think of the frustration I used to feel when attempting to solve my Grand-dad's Rubix Cube.

In the beginning I'd just move the colours around intuitively and not think too much about the final outcome.

Then it would look as though it was coming together and I'd have trouble trying to figure out how to get all the colours on one side without messing other bits up!!

Finally, I'd realise that in order to make progress, I'd have to undo some of the more completed sides of the puzzle. In order for the whole thing to come together - I'd have to look at the all the sides I was ignoring and not just the one that was most complete.

Likewise with Solstice - in order to know exactly how to do the problem - the progress that I had initially made was undone (albeit not by choice). I was frustrated at first, for sure, but in the end, it led to me knowing what I need to do! (Cheers Ron)

If I only focus on moves that I can do easily, then everything will seem comfortable, and one side of the rubix cube will nearly be done... but everything else will just be a mess!

No point in that, cause I really want to send the line!

Weather warning ;)

Despite perfectly sunny skies this morning Hurricane Johnno hit the cave today and ripped through 'Solstice' (7a+), 'Maneater' (7b+) and 'Bring out the Swans' (7b+), Previously in the week 'The Funk' (7b+) had also been torn up in only one session, and early reports show, he'll be back.

Class Act.

Solstice didn't come together for me today at all!, I regressed on it, if anything!!

I've caught the crux move loads of times, but just couldn't do it today.

At all.

I realised I didn't actually know why I was missing the move, and had just been doing it intuitively before... but again - it was body position that ended up being the crucial missing factor.

Ron suggested that I shift my weight right as I drop onto the left catch which is the crux (for me anyway!) - my feet kept slipping but the shift in weight over to the right certainly worked and I got very psyched to try it over and over - it gives me more time to move my hand - it's less of an all out dynamic drop - but I was too tired to keep repeating it and finally had to just call it a day.

I was disappointed with my session today, but I have to look at the bigger picture - I can do all the moves from the start of Loco, I can link that up into Solstice - and from the jug on Solstice I have done the end of the problem in previous sessions... It's all there for the taking.

I never really stopped working at it today and despite failing and falling over and over, it's all money in the bank and I'm always learning.

Ron was catching the crux move on Solstice in a very casual manner and moved through towards the end a good few times today. It seems like the line is coming together nicely for him.

Ron working Solstice (7a+)

The tide times meant that it was an early start to the climbing session, and on a Saturday morning, I thought it would just be a few of us there...

Myself and Shane drove by a lonely looking Johnno on Pearse Street, but I knew Claire would be there to pick him up, so we kept on driving -

Parked up in Howth and the two were right behind us.

By the time myself, Claire, Johnno and Shane got to the Cave, Eamon and Matt had already set up and begun climbing.

Darragh on Loco Total (7a)

It wasn't long before we were joined by Darragh, Paul and Leo. Then Ron and his dog Bella. Bella had the right idea and while the rest of us climbed in the dark cave, she lay out in the sunshine.

Chris soon followed and the Cave was filled with people climbing in every direction!!

Despite my personal disappointment - it was a great session and beautiful way to start a Saturday.

Claire working Loco Total (7a)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


John bat-hanging out of the foot jams on 'Solstice'

Met Dave and Caroline on the way to the Cave this evening - had a nice old chat and tried to persuade them Cavewards, but they had stuff to do - so I went to catch my train -

Met John in Sutton and headed to the Cave!

I had been granted a half day by my boss in work today - the long hours of the last few weeks had taken their toll - 12-15 hour days of major pressure for almost 2 weeks had left me all but brain dead and at about midday I was called into my boss' office and it was pointed out that the day was beautiful, and I should head off at 1pm and enjoy an afternoon off...

Eh.... ok? Cave anyone?

John and Kev quickly responded and I was off!

Delighted to just be out of the office and on rock, I told myself it didn't matter that I was feeling tired and things weren't coming together, but if I'm honest I was a bit miffed.

John had a very business like session - he warmed up as usual and got on his project link up -

I believe my post yesterday might have been quite misleading - Yesterday evening, John had linked Maneater (7b+) and The Funk (7b+) - it's a link that had eluded him until last night.

Tonight Kev and I watched as he linked - from right at the back of the Cave - 'Destroyer', Maneater and The Funk, which is the full extent of the line he had been projecting for quite some time. There was a sense that this would be the attempt that he'd send the line - and I didn't say anything, and Kev didn't say anything and we just watched as John made his way through the line.

Our silence finally broke into encouragement when John was going for the crux move, which is the crux throw on The Funk. He made it and looked super solid.

Holding the final hold, he was chuffed to bits. He dropped off the hold and he seemed happy out from there!

John had told me it was easily the longest he had tried a problem and that the process of working a problem for such a long time had taught him a lot.

Chris arrived along and soon after that Colm showed up.

The session was a little tired as I struggled with Solstice (7a+) and Kev's arm started hurting and Chris was still feeling the effects of the major session in the Cave last night.

I just went into drill mode, and repeated moves over and over again until they were nailed down. Didn't make any progress tonight, but the moves are now clear in my head - and perhaps on a fresh day, I'll have gained valuable experience from tonight's not too inspiring session!

With Kev's arm in pain, and with John having sent his project - the two headed off.

Shane arrived out and sent Caroline's Traverse (6b) - great effort! He then got onto Loco Total (7a) and figured out his sequence.

Chris working Undertow (7c) ... at least I think that's what he was trying! Not so familiar with that side of the Cave yet!

Chris worked on (i think) Undertow (7c) - and despite complaints of being tired - looked strong, but I've no experience on the line, so I've no idea of crux's etc... it all looked good though!

As the sun dipped in the sky it was time to call it a night. A couple of rest days are in order now before I give Solstice a serious go on Saturday morning. Tide driven early start.


On the walk in today we had to climb over a low bit of rock to get to the Cave. I followed the guys down the far side of the rock and my shin got hammered. Later on in the evening I was foot jamming on Solstice and after I dropped off finishing hold, and Colm was about to pull on - he said - somebody's drawn blood!

I had pulled so hard on my ankles, that my left ankle got a nice bloody scratch.

I'm currently covered in scratches, cuts, bruises and my body is absolutely spent tired.

Best half day ever!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Exhaustion set in during work today and it was evident to all around me that yesterday's 15 hour stint had my brain fried.

They sent me home at 5.30pm.

I had text around to see if anyone would be in the Co op, but most of the texts I got back said that the Cave was the place to be.

Claire received a cheeky text from me, saying that if she happened to be in town and wanted to go to the Cave I'd coincidentally be in town too, and coincidentally would also be interested in going to the Cave.

I was pretty sure she'd have gone already, so when my phone beeped with a text saying, 'ah yeah, haven't left yet, I'll pick you up at 6.30', my exhaustion was replaced by adrenaline as I sprinted home, changed into Cave appropriate attire and ran to catch the Luas to get into town and meet Claire.

Good crowd out at the Cave and with time against us, I got straight to work, warmed up and jumped on Solstice (7a+).

Made the crux move but only started from the jug just before it. I'm not even thinking about the foot jams anymore, which is nice - although I don't know how I feel about having that much faith in my hands... but I do - so I made good progress again tonight.

John had to show me my sequence, as I had forgotten it, despite about 2 hours work on the line on Sunday.

My brain really is fried today.

But the end sequence came together for me and I think with a good night's sleep behind me before the next session - I have it clear in my head now.

Ron had strung the end sequence together before I arrived, but the line didn't come together for him from the start today.

Claire looks to have the moves on Loco Total wired now, it's just a matter of stringing the line together. Her sequence includes a wide array of sneaky heel hooks, knee bars and foot placements that I'd never even have thought of trying...

I think it's called technique or something?? ;)

The Funk (7b+) seems as though it'll come together for Kev in the next session or two. It looked like he'd finish it this evening on one of the attempts I watched.

Before I'd arrived, the guys told me John had strung together his link up into 'The Funk' - (please see the 6million or so photos I've posted of him on the line in previous posts!)

Fair dues.

Chris was working some line, that I don't know the name of - again, he looked strong on it.

Short but sweet session.

We all walked out to the backdrop of a pretty stunning sunset, the guys had been slagging me about forgetting my camera - but I was actually pretty disappointed to have missed photographing the sky tonight. Very beautiful indeed

On the way home in Claire's car, I put my ipod on and now, not only has my music pretty much been vetoed in the Co op, it was vetoed in Claire's car this evening too...

I really need to improve my taste in music!

Thanks for rescuing my day Claire!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

No Fear!

The walk from Sutton Dart Station to the cave was arduous today, however I think it did me good. My head was fuzzy after heading to the gig last night, and by the time I got to the cave - though I needed a long sit down - I felt a bit better.

It was such a beautiful day and the Cave was in mint condition.

John was there when I arrived, and as he worked on some new project at the very back of the Cave, I got to work on 'Afterthought' (6b). It came together pretty quickly for me. I needed some beta on the end moves, and it's definitely worth having them nailed down, because 2 or 3 of the lines in the cave incorporate that sequence.

I sent the line and was pretty happy out after that. Shane and Colm arrived along and there was a good buzz of energy about the session.

Shane worked on Caroline's Traverse (6b) and Colm hopped on Loco Total (7a). Colm's first couple of attempts looked strong, but I think it was his third go on it - he just blasted through the moves and sent the line. Brilliant effort from him!

Colm - about to top out on Loco Total (7a)

I played on 'Deepthroat' (6b+) for a while, and even after John demoed the middle of it for me, I soon found out that the crux move is really burley and will take some practice before my muscles learn how to complete the move.

Deepthroat (6b+)

It's super intense on my left arm, and so after I started feeling pain in my shoulder, I walked away from it. It's a cool line, but I'm not strong enough yet.

Having completed Loco Total, Colm joked that once one line is complete, so a new obsession begins... It was then that 'Solstice' (7a+) came into sharp focus for him. I took the opportunity to work the line with him and to my surprise, I made some great progress on it today.

John's spotting stance

I repeated the moves I'd done before (which I hadn't repeated since) and then I tried it from the start (which is the opening sequence of Loco Total) and made it to the crux, which is a drop backwards onto a fairly positive hold, that I get like an under cut - because I'm upside down ish!

Me on Solstice (7a+)

I tried it over and over again, and finally gave into the fact that I was just too tired.

Shane was working on Loco Total and fairly much did all the moves, some in sequence - it's such a cool line!

Shane on Loco Total (7a)

Having gone away to do some handstands and ponder taking my rock boots off and putting my sandals back on, ending my session - Colm suddenly shouted over: 'Trish can you show me how you do the throw on Solstice'

I pulled on and made the throw and kept going. John and Colm both spotted me as I moved through to the foot jams, that scare the be-jesus out of me. John called out beta, and I was able to move through the final section that had eluded me due to fear in the past.

I thanked Colm for getting me back on the line, as it was the most progress I had made all day!

John on his link up project

John came so very close to finishing his link up between Maneater (7b+) and The Funk (7b+). From the ground it looked like it would be done, but then suddenly he dropped off the line - so close! Amazing effort.

We all finished up and again, I was lucky enough to catch a lift all the way to Rathmines, thanks to Shane. As I walked back home, the Chinese Takeout was too tempting and I thought - after such a nice and successful weekend's bouldering I'd treat myself to the first takeout I've had since about January!


Ayton's Cave

Colm on Afterthought (6b)

Cave lotto

Chris cutting loose on 'The Funk' (7b+)

'Conditions were awful yesterday evening - the whole cave was seeping wet'...

Matt was on the phone to me as we drove out to Howth yesterday and he wasn't painting a pretty picture with regards cave conditions the previous night -

Sure! It had been raining heavily the day before and it was raining as we drove out to the Cave but we had packed our bags and left our houses and made the commitment!!

There was no way we weren't going to at least check it out...

As we approached the Cave Paul said he was going to cut across the seaweed field of slipperiness as a short cut...

It's definitely shorter, no doubt about that - but I hate uneven slippery ground so myself and Claire took the slightly longer route around by the steps.

Paul was checking out the holds as we arrived at the Cave and confirmed that we had won the Cave lotto! The whole thing was dry!

It was pretty much as good as it was last weekend, and after what Matt had told me about the conditions the previous night, I felt like we were about to steal a bouldering session.

Honestly, I think as much as everyone speculates about seepage, wind direction, high tide/low tide levels etc... The condition of the Cave on any given day is a total lottery.

You make the commitment and you go, and whatever way it is when you get there, is your lot!

I'm putting 'Loco Total' (7a) away pretty easily these days, which is nice - but I'm still scared of breaking my ankles on 'Solstice' (7a+)...

Went out to the McGetigan's gig last night and was chatting to Barry about being scared on it - he said I just have to believe - and do it...

So as the Cave session went on, Chris and Shane arrived and we did some work on 'The Funk' (7b+). I was a bit tired on it and meant to try the crux throw 10 times but just couldn't find the want or the will to repeat the move that many times, so I left it at 3 fairly good attempts and moved on to the end sequence.

It didn't come together for me yesterday - but I tried and it's all money in the bank.

It would appear that when one is really working the crux throw on 'The Funk' in sequence, that one's right elbow may start to niggle a bit... Both Chris and Kev have complained of the same pain in the last week, and a repetitive strain injury is definitely not something I want to acquire at the moment... Not on a problem that's so far beyond me anyway!

I had set an alarm on my phone for Claire that sounded and left others in the Cave puzzled. It meant Claire had to go but myself and Paul were pretty psyched to stay. Chris had no space in his car, but came up with a plan to strap boulder pads to the roof rack so that myself and Paul could fit in the back of his car.

Chris realised he didn't have his roof rack straps with him, and Claire offered to leave hers under his car.

My climbing session had just been extended by 2 hours!

I thought to myself at the time, that the things my friends do to facilitate my climbing has made me the climber I am at the moment. I can't drive, and there's never ending offers of lifts to and from the awkward places one has to get to in order to boulder outdoors in Ireland.

I'm a lucky girl!

Shane had been working 'Afterthought' (6b) and I thought it looked great... I had been on it before but had never REALLY tried it. Yesterday evening I got pretty psyched on it.

I struggled with the end of it, but Paul had some magical beta that worked perfectly for me. There's a cut loose move which ends up with a massive swing that has to be held.

The move sent me flying about 2m from my cut-loose point every time. Paul's beta enlists the help of a foot smear against the side of the cave which allows the left heel free without the swing at all. Then I could cut loose in total control and move into the heel hook end sequence.

At that point my hands and forearms were spent so the line didn't come together for me.

'Deepthroat' (6b+) is another line I'd never tried before and though the holds are all massive, the big reach backwards is a strong move. Chris took a couple of attempts before he sent it and I think it looks really cool. Psyched to get back on it and try it properly.

After yesterday's session, and the great conditions and introductions to new problems, I will certainly be playing the Cave lotto again this evening!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


It's been a hectic week in work, with a pretty major project on the go, I've had little time to climb and almost no time to train what so ever.

I've been trying to train as hard as I can at the moment in an attempt to get stronger and when I realised that this project was going to mean two weeks of no training (give or take), panic set it.

I don't want to lose all the hard work I've put in!

Also, there were very cool offers of lifts to Cave climbing on Thursday from Matt - which I had to turn down... stuck in work and then again on Friday evening, I received a text from Diarmuid, who I haven't seen in far too long. It read of a bouldering session up '3 Rock Mountain' with Diamuid, Tim and James.

Again, I had to turn down the evening's climbing, as I was stuck in the office. I haven't been outdoor climbing with the guys in ages, nor have I been up '3 Rock' before and I was gutted to be sitting at my desk on a friday night.

Them's the breaks I suppose.

I was told before I left on Friday evening that we wouldn't need to be in the office at all over the weekend. My manic work over the previous few days had been worth it - The project is way ahead of where it needs to be.


To the Cave!!!

Chris offered Paul and I a lift to the Cave on Saturday and even though the weather forecast was bleak at best, we arrived at the Cave which was in mint condition. All holds dry, and as I looked out on the unusually still turquoise water, I felt totally removed from the bleakness of the office that had been taking over my life last week.

I completed Caroline's Traverse (6b) twice as my usual warm up and began work on 'The Funk' (7b+) After such a good warm up, I felt like I should be on form, but I couldn't remember the foot holds and I kept popping off the line, much to the guys' amusement!!

'The Funk' (7b+)

'Dab', 'Fail', etc... Tough crowd, and to top things off and exacerbate my short-comings on the opening moves of the Funk - the guys were less than forthcoming with any beta for me!!! Nevertheless I think they were right in their joking - there's a good lesson in there for me. I need to start remember beta!

Very funny session, at my expense no less!!

Anyway... the opening sequence felt hard yesterday, so I worked on the end moves, which are great fun and out of the ordinary. The first toe hook move is becoming more consistent, but the throw that follows (which is the crux) is a bit beyond me at the moment - I'm about 3 - 4 inches away from hitting it, which may as well be a mile away, but I'm trying and on good attempts, I'm getting a bit closer.

Chris looked very strong on the line, as did Kev who caught the crux throw whilst keeping his feet on the rock - very cool to watch. It's a super tense move and if the feet cut loose, the swing is massive. Keeping feet on the rock looks extremely difficult and Kev did well to stick the move.

I piled the mats up and pulled onto the line after the crux. I tried the second toe hook over and over and suddenly, it just worked. I was able to move my left hand out onto the face and move my right hand to the finishing jug which was wet.

I was chuffed to have strung together the final moves of the line. Though it's absolutely clear that the crux is the 7b+ move, I'm still very psyched to have done a lot of the moves on such a hard line. It's way out of my league, but I'm making progress on it and really enjoying working it.

Darragh had arrived along in the meantime and he was absolutely soaked to the skin!! It had been bucketing down rain while we were in the cave, which was fine - but Darragh had cycled all the way out to Howth and was drenched by the time he arrived. During his scramble down to the cave he told us he had put his hand on a hold which flaked off, almost sending him spinning off the rock, but he got his hand back on in time to avoid any disaster.

Some of the rock on the way in and out of the cave is super chossy.

He got into dry clothes and did well on everything he tried, but his hands took a long time to warm up. Having spent the last couple of months in France climbing, he seemed at ease with many of the tricky moves in the Cave.

Yesterday's session was a really good one. There were eight of us in the Cave including Terry and his son Darragh (a different Darragh) and Brian. Darragh and Brian are both young climbers and it was slightly depressing to watch them cut loose on several moves and so easily hold the swing and re-establish their feet on the rock.

Oh to be young and weightless again!!

They both did well yesterday sending Caroline's Traverse with relative ease and have good attempts on the opening moves of The Funk which they both strung together nicely.

I hopped on Loco Total at the end, for the laugh - and to my surprise, I finished it first go. I was happy out with that!

We all headed off as the tide came in and ended the session and walked out in the pelting rain. Kev dropped myself and Paul back into town.

The Cave - Day two!

Caught the Dart out to Sutton and met Claire. Not thinking we parked at the Martello Tower for the tough walk in!!

It was a beautiful morning and when we arrived at the Cave, it was how we had left it the previous day.


I had met my brother for some beers last night and was feeling a bit sorry for myself, so my climbing wasn't of very high quality this morning!!

Howard moving from Loco Total into Caroline's Travese

Howard and Niamh arrived along and soon after that Kev and John showed up. My warm up had gone surprising well and we all set up under the Funk again. The sun was beating down on the little cove outside the Cave. What a beautiful day.

South Dublin looked like it was in the grip of relentless sheets of rain and Claire assured me that the Northside of Dublin is the sunnier side... promising me statistical evidence on the matter, which I'm still awaiting!!

John on his link up between 'Destroyer', 'Maneater' and 'The Funk'

John was on form today and seemed to climb about the Cave in every direction and variation imaginable. It's insane to watch how effortless and poised his climbing is. Nothing looks a strain. Towards the end of the session he did a cool line that traversed, sit starting from way left of The Funk and with a big backwards throw into the middle of the Cave he moved into Loco Total and finished up out of Caroline's Traverse. I hadn't seen the line before and it looks fantastic. Paul Brennan had arrived too and was working the line with John and made some good progress.

I felt like last nights drinking made me waste today's opportunity to take advantage of the perfect cave conditions. But never the less climbing and sunbathing isn't the worst way to spend a Sunday afternoon!!

Kev's elbow played up ending his climbing early and towards the end of the day, I think the balance of climbing and chilling out in the sun fell in favour of chilling out in the sun... well, for most of us!

Claire had been working Caroline's Traverse and nearly finished it and nearly finished it again and finally, finished it. Brilliant effort!! The last move is a brat and as Claire topped out, she said: 'Yes!... Never again!'

Another brilliant day at Ayton's Cave.