The Classics were on the menu today as I got back to Wicklow bouldering after a few months away. I was so excited to be back again! Granite, top-outs, crimps, smearing...
Need I say more!
A total change of scenery and the day was completely refreshing. Wicklow is new again after squeezing every last bit of bouldering I could out of last Season.
Barry, John, Kev and I warmed up on Big Jim and problems that were taking me 5 attempts or more last year, were put away in 1 or 2 attempts today. I was so psyched about that, I had a real anxious feeling that a Summer spent in the Cave had left me completely out of touch with the subtleties of granite bouldering.
That wasn't the case at all. I loved every second of today as we rampaged through the Classics of Glendalough Valley. After we finished warming up we headed over to Rhythm and Stealth. We had met up with Duggy, Paul, Abbas, Daniel and Andrew and there were mats and spotters galore for the dodgy landing!!
Me on Rhythm and Stealth
I was totally chuffed at my attempts on the line, making it to the slap up to the crimp each time, consistently, but never sticking it. My major project from last year was nearly put away on day one of this year.
Duggy got the send of the day, topping out Rhythm and Stealth. Always exciting and motivating to see a project getting ticked and Duggy was totally chuffed!
John and Barry made short work of it completing on their first attempts. Really impressive work, though the ever tricky top out left Barry stuck for a little longer than usual!!
We finished up on Rhythm and Stealth and the four of us headed off to the Egg Boulder. Trying the traverse, I realised that a Summer of Cave climbing has left me a little better at working out sequences for myself. Instead of having to have someone talk me through move by move, though Barry told me after I fell off the middle of the line, that I'd managed to avoid ALL of the major holds.... Doh!
Barry made relatively short work of the Egg Traverse, that has what looks like a super tricky match on a sloper at the end. I hadn't seen it done before and was excited to watch as Barry moved smoothly through and topped it out. Awesome!
The Egg Boulder
Kev got on Tim's Mantle and sent it, leaving me eager to give the line a go. I felt really solid on it and almost had the final hold. Pressing down on my left hand and pushing through my right heel, it began to slip, and I thought, maybe I can just... no it was slipping... but perhaps...
Denied the send, and the guys said my heel seemed to slip in slow motion.
Pokery was next on the list and it occurred to me after a couple of attempts that my power levels were dropping. That 'snap' you need for granite bouldering needs to be developed again, I had a couple of unconvincing attempts on Pokery and had to admit defeat.
The guys all sent it and we moved the pads just over the way to Afro Left. Barry made the point that the line is quite different to the rest of the style of bouldering in Glendalough. The moves are so varied and intricate. It starts off with a long slap up to a sloper from a sit start under the roof. The second hand is brought up and one's weight is pulled over the lip through the use of a heel hook just left of the hands on the same rail. A mantle follows and a series of presses up the corner allows one to reach a standing position, before a balancy reach to the top of the boulder.
John sent it after working out the initial throw sequence. Barry came so close, that I'm wondering now if he actually sent it in the end?! Can't remember!
John sending 'Afro Left'
Next on the list was Chillax, but we took a detour to check out Johnno's relatively new line 'Beta Burglar'. The sun was beating down on us at that point and the crucial holds were all flooded with sunlight.
Barry and John worked it for a while before finally deciding it was too sharp in the heat of the mid afternoon.
Barry working 'Beta Buglar'
We made it up to Chillax and again, the guys took little time to put the problem away. I was out of energy and zapped of any strength and though I made it to just before the jug, again - the send didn't come together.
Admittedly I was a bit miffed, but the day had been amazing so it wasn't too long before I got over it!! I am totally psyched for the Winter Season now. The only way today could have been any more perfect is if I had sent anything!!