Friday, 29 November 2013

Something was different

I woke up on that morning frustrated that I had not done any sort of climbing or exercise during the week. I was eager to get to Alsmcliff. Something was different that day. I did not know why but I knew I would do it.
I had spent so much time on the problem over the last 18 months full sessions climbing, falling, resting, climbing, falling. This had almost become a weekly experience.
I roughly remember my first session on it. I spent the session trying to pull on and work out a foot placement to get to the sloper. My core was saggy and I was not doing well. The second session involved me trying to keep body tension and throwing for the sloper. The third session went better and I hit the sloper 3 times but did not get the pocket.
Back on those first few sessions it was just something to do to kill time. I did not really have much I wanted to do at Almscliff till I got stronger and my mates all had projects. On my forth session on the problem I got the pocket once. At this point I was sure I could do the line.
I must stress this is by no means the hardest thing I have done but It was possibly the hardest I had to try to do a project. The focus and effort involved was draining mentally and phsyically and even when not under the overhanging face I was thinking about it.
Then next few sessions came and went getting the pocket more than once in the session then  failing on the top out usually too exhausted to move hanging on by my pumped tired arms, grit rashed wrist, sore fingers and strained shoulders. I just kept throwing myself at the juggy pocket.
Then something changed the weather it got warmer and we went to cliff less. I was spending my time hanging on ropes and placing metal. Improving my grade in other parts of my climbing but always having this feeling something was not complete. I have other projects I have not done but this was different. I guess I wanted it more
Different guides say different things. Yorks grit boulder 6A+, Rockfax says V4 6b, New Yorks Grit says 6B+. All I knew was I wanted the tick. It would be always lingering until its done. The grade was not my hardest the line was taunting me.
I kept going back having full sessions getting to the top and feeling lost. Lots of people gave me different advice, telling me what I was doing wrong and what I should be doing. It was all white noise as I was stuck in my sequence and the 6b crux drained me to the point I was barely holding on for the top out.

Time went on I was confident but I was not doing it. I kept falling off the top hitting the pads feeling frustrated. Falling off the start as my focus failed. Falling off the middle as my shoulder ached from the strain.

But I kept going back to suffer battle on. The temperature dropped agian. Grit season was back and I need to start it. I need this tick. Getting through the crux became standard occasionally I would miss the pocket. I worked out why and changed my sequence minutely. Then the top out just remained.
Overall I probably spent 10-20 session on this and 10 goes plus a session.
Last saturday something was different. It was a slightly warmer day. Probably a good Caley day but me and Tom were keen for cliff. I went there knowing it would not take me long. First go of the day I was at the top out and the usual happened. Flop, bang, mat.
Tom pointed out a higher foot hold. Next go I used it set enough got the two finger pocket turned my right hand and I was higher. My weight was over my foot my stomach on the upper slab just rock further my left foot slipping right foot on nothing not able to move.
Flop I hit the mat from higher than ever before.
A proper rest was needed. I swapped my shoes and went for a short walk, had a quick drink, chatted to a few people and other little tricks to make me rest longer when all I was wanted to throw myself back at it.
It was time pulled on throw for the sloper, missed and was back on the mat. Er ... arse. 30 seconds rest. go.
Pulled on digging my toe in to the polished pocket. Throw hit sloper generating moment from my shoulders and hips threw for pocket. LF high matched juggy pocket. Set RF and throw to the rib at the top. Focus. Rf on the high foothold and flag left. Lh in the two finger pocket, turn rh to a cusp. Sucking in my hips lf on the lip and rock left ward lh match the rib keep rocking. Then. I am there ..
I turn and just sat there. No cheer. No screams. No strong man pose. No other overly expressive gesture. Just pure satisfaction. I just sat there enjoying the day it was still early in the day. The sun is still low in the sky. People are arriving at the crag. I am allowing myself the joy just sitting enjoying all the beaty I could not see while single mindedly focusing on flying arete.
Its over. It was never about the grade. It was a battle of me against the line. Something not my style, not my strengths. It was something I liked the look of and wanted to do. I wanted to do it for me. I could of spent the time projecting a hard problem. Something that would mean I moved to another level. A new grade to brag to friends about. Instead I continued with this battle. Falling over and over. Hours of driving. Probably a few hundred quid in petrol. What was different about saturday? I don't know but some thing was different.
Was it worth it.
If the feeling at the top out is anything to go by ... yes.
it is over ...

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