Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Windy Gap

Dear Nature,

There is no doubt that walking through your pristine countryside is awesome indeed, however your little grass covered foot traps and mud splats, sized and gouged to twist the ankles of and suck the runners off the undiscerning walking boulderer are a major cause for concern.

Is it not entertainment enough, that your boulders are perched high up so that we boulderers must march, trending vertically to the point of exhaustion in order reach your rocky gems , without the need for further entertainment as you no doubt watch on in convulsions laughing as we fall into the little traps that are strewn along the way?!

I wouldn't change a thing about you, Nature... But it's important that you know, we'll be on the look out next time - there'll be fewer muddied arses, stumbles, slides, and falls...

We'll adapt, and your jokes will become old...

Next time Nature... NEXT TIME!

Yours Sincerely,

Trish Fox.

We went to the Windy Gap today and it was awesome. Claire drove up and having heard that my iPod had been furnished with music from Ricky and Paul's collections - a request was made for my once vetoed iPod to be hooked up to Claire's sound system once the radio stations went out of range.

We arrived and marched up the hill -

My method is always - walk fast and get it over with, but I've been so spoiled with the walk in to Glendalough - paved and marked as it is. I've become a brat and the walk left me huffing and puffing as I reach the first boulders.

We met up with Dave, John, Ray, Tom and Steve.

It was so unbelievably windy there and after warming up on a low ball arete 'Hob Nob The Marine' (6a) and then around the corner to a sheltered little cave (Cuchculainn's Cave) that led out to a balancy face climb. The left exit goes at 5+ while the right exit 'Mifd' goes at 6c... which seems a little soft for the grade.

We all worked the stand start and John was on the sitter which is down in the Guide as a project but none of us were sure if it had been done as yet...

Neutral Face

It was done today as John launched backwards for the sharp jug and held it, before moving through the far tougher right hand exit to the problem.


I sent the stand start to the Mifd with Steve (the tallest spotter in Ireland) keeping a close eye on me as I endured a flash-pump that willed my hand to open - I looked down as everyone gasped in disbelief and the message was pretty much... 'don't you dare!' - I wanted to drop off, but thought better of losing face in front of the guys!!!! ;)

I slapped desperately at the arete with my non-functioning hands and found a jug flake that I managed to scramble my upper body over before kicking and skrittling my feet up towards the top out - finally using a pretty unsightly knee in order to finish.

Not pretty.

Tom followed.

We all moved up to another arete - 'Sting Like a Bee' (6c) up the hill a bit... Again, spoiled by Glendo, my legs felt the burn on arrival!

Claire worked out a lovely little sequence and looked completely effortless as she worked her way up the arete towards the glory of flashing the problem, before jumping off to everyone's surprise!!

Claire dancing up 'Sting Like a Bee' (6c)


Thieving her beta, I started to climb the problem and had a quiet brush of the pads to begin with, but carried on to flash it, holding my hands up at the top of it to admit my short-comings. Tom said I shouldn't have mentioned it cause he heard and saw nothing!, John said he was waiting for me to step off the problem having seen and heard the dab!!

Tom sent it just after me ;)

As we left the boulder, Ray had a slip and muddied his trousers as we all laughed... and then made sure he was ok!

Next on the list was 'The Reckoner' (7b) and John 3:16 (8a).

In a radical move, John threw on Claire's ear muffs for his send of 'The Reckoner' later claiming he felt 10 times more powerful as a result...


John wearing Claire's magical earmuffs during his send of the Reckoner (7b)

The rest of us had a laugh flailing about the start move for ages before psyche waned and we watched on as John tried 'John 3:16'. He made an impressive attempt at the problem, completing all the moves -

John 3:16 (8a) and John

We moved over to 'Angelina Jolie' (6b?... ah now c'mon!)... Impressively, John flashed it, or retro-flashed it or whatever - but the rest of us were left stumped!!


Me trying the start of 'Angelina Jolie' (6b?????????)

It's super burly and powerful and way far beyond it's given grade... However, aside from the grade - it's a beautiful climb - and I'm psyched to get back to it - The line involves pretty powerful positions between throws to very corse slopey holds, which tore my hands to shreds when I missed them!!

When none of us could pull on anymore we decided to call it a day and started back towards the cars - The ground was pretty boggy though and as John plodded down the way his foot squelched into a muddy hole which sucked the runner off his foot as he stepped out of it. We found him a nice stream and he washed off his shoe and walked out with a soggy foot, in a soggy sock, in a soggy shoe.

Looking like homeless folk, we stopped for soup and coffee and were led 'around the back way' by the waitress so no one would see us walk in... covered in chalk and scratches and with beanies on our heads and so on... lovely soup though!!

The Windy Gap is a beautiful spot for bouldering and we were spoiled rotten with the weather today.


1 comment:

  1. Tell John if he wants to be a rockstar he needs to start wearing clothes which don't camouflage him completely on the rock. Wearing bright garish t-shirts is why I am now an internationally recognised climber. That and my buns.