It was really cold today. The wind was blowing.
The roads were icy today and the cars parked along the way were covered in frost.
I strolled out to meet Shane at 8.15am this morning. It was only getting bright when I was leaving, which threw me a little... I don't usually get up until very late in the day at the weekends if I can help it. On Friday night I had slept for nearly 14 hours.
There was a worry in my mind that the boulders, like the cars parked along side the street I was walking down, would be covered in frost.
Kev said that as long as there was a good wind, the boulders would be clear of frost.
On the way down in the car Kev and Shane told me about the very exclusive 'Midlands Climbing Club'. I was intrigued and ask if I could join...
No girls and you had to be from some place called Athlone, or nearby...
This very exclusive club appeared to have only 3 members... Shane, Kev and Paul. I plead my case all day but had no success!!
During the day Tom arrived along and before long the Shane and Kev asked him where he was from... Mullingar he replied...
and he was in!
I said I'd visited Athlone once... which should be in my favour if nothing else?
Before Tom arrived we had warmed up in the ruins and the rock was very cold indeed. My fingers were numb as I climbed my first couple of problems. By the time I was topping out, I just had to trust that my hands would stick... I could feel absolutely nothing.
We had met Shane O D. on the way in and after warming up he began to try 'The Plum' (6a+). As he did it began to rain a bit and it was blamed on me because I called it!!
Note to self... evening if it's actually raining... never say the 'r' word!
Shane easily sent 'The Plum' in the rain and we moved on over to the 'Big Jim' boulder across the river. It was dry when we got there and we all blasted through all of the problems (with the exception of 'Barry's Problem' which I'd like to tick this season but didn't work on today, simply because I couldn't warm my hands up enough).
I struggled with staying warm and some where along the way Shane Mitchell's tooth started hurting him.
Never the less we moved over to Rhythm and Stealth (7a) and all gave it a go. The compression move in the middle is very difficult for me when I can feel my fingers, so the total lack of sensation in my hands saw the line spit me off time and time again. I just couldn't stick the move.
Shane and Shane made good progress. Shane Mitchell has a wonderful technique of a single all or nothing throw to the crimp up high. No messing.
Tom arrived along as we were moving on from Rhythm and Stealth. We headed over to 'Superstars of BMX' (7a+) and Tom stayed around Big Jim for his warm up.
Over at Superstars and Shane Mitchells tooth ache seemed to get worse and worse which left him out of the initial action. While he came to terms with the pain, Kev Shane and I started on the arete beside Superstars - it's an easy warm up, and a good way to get a feel for the boulder.
I was happy-ish with my efforts on 'Superstars' today. I can definitely pull on now, and my right foot is nearly in place each time. I think I might have placed it on the hold once (momentarily) today. Progress is progress and in the world of bouldering, every last bit of progress counts.
Shane looked like he might finish the problem as he slapped for the top once and only narrowly missed out on sticking it.
He pulled on easily each time and it seemed unfair to me that he didn't send it in the end. We all moved on from Superstars when our sides and shoulders couldn't take the pain anymore.
Around the corner to the Nu Rails (6c) and again, I easily made the opening move but my foot slipped because my shoe was wet because it had started to rain again. I never came close to it again, as my energy was spent for the day.
James arrived along in the middle of our 'Rails Boulder' session and admitted to missing the early start because of a 14 hour sleep that he'd had...
It's not just me then! Other people sleep for that long too!!!!
After a good few attempts on the Nu Rails and not before it began to rain again and Shane slipped and cut his ankle and I took a knuckle wrap that left everyone wincing as I was spat off a crimp , we decided to head off.
Shane and James stayed working the problem and me and Midlanders headed off from the boulders of Glendalough.
It was an honour and a privilege to be brought climbing by such a prestigious club.
James divi's up his Toffy-Pops