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.