Bye bye Cave,
I think I'm happy enough to call it a day on a really successful Summer's climbing in the Cave.
It's kept me fit, it's made me stronger - both physically and mentally I think - and I can't wait to see what I can do there next year, but for now... It's certainly time to reacquaint myself with the wonderful granite of Wicklow.
I've done far more than I ever imagined I would at the Cave this Summer. I started off not being able to complete Caroline's Traverse and I was sure I'd only have a couple of sessions down there attempting to get Loco Total, but that Loco would be more of a long term project...
The Cave and me just clicked this year, and I got so psyched to project the lines there. In addition to that - there was always something to go to next. When I was finishing up on CT, there was Loco, that ended and there was Solstice.
Solstice was my Summer project this year. Tiny crimpy holds took me out of my comfort zone completely - and I really enjoyed that. The crux on that line is the hardest sequence of moves I've done on rock to date.
When that was done, I snuck in a send of Maneater (the knee-bar way).
Ron, Chris and I were going for an early raid on the Cave today and I couldn't get to sleep last night and this morning I woke up at 5.45am...
Climbing suffered, and though I warmed up well and took a few fairly decent attempts on the crux throw backwards of 'Bring out the Swans' - sticking the hands but always having my feet slip from the rock, negating my success - my power soon fizzled out and my brain seemed to sort of go asleep. My hands wouldn't close on holds and I just felt heavy.
Chris arrived along a little later than us and warmed up in a very patient manner. He never seemed rushed or overly eager and seemed to piece together 'Bring out the Swans' in a sort of backwards fashion, working it from the end and then starting closer and closer to the beginning on each warm up attempt.
He pulled on from the start and despite afterwards admitting to a few stress points during his send, the whole thing looked very smooth indeed.
Great to see it come together, and the throw backwards is made all the more impressive by the fact that Chris' foot isn't in the jam that taller people can use, his foot is simply pasted against the wall and pushing backwards, keeping contact all the time.
Ron had to go soon afterwards. We realised that despite an early start (setting off at 8.30am) it was already midday. Chris and I worked The Funk afterwards and I had fun, but was disappointed that my arms and body and brain weren't in the game.
Chris discovered the heel placement that John had shown us before but neither of us had ever used. Weird how today it just fit. Both Chris and I were able to place our foot in exactly the right position on the rock each time - where before I always thought - 'that's too fiddly, I'll just throw a toe in and hope it sticks'
The heel/toe in a lot more solid.
On Wednesday, there were a couple of things left behind in the Cave - including Dave's grill and Ron's dog leash. When we arrived along today, not only was the Cave in very good nic, the tide had spared both objects.
Whilst Ron took his dog leash, I am currently in possession of Dave's filthy, greasy, seaweedy grill tray...
I think I'm happy enough to walk away from the Cave because I have no more projects there for this year. There's still plenty more to do - but it's all way beyond me at this point.
Bring on Wicklow!