Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Lord's Shit, aka: the Grit: Part 1

The joy of only having casual part-time work is that when the opportunity of a lift and accommodation for a week-long trip to the Peak District is thrust upon you, there is nothing stopping you from seizing it. After a productive visit for Steve Ramsden to North Wales (doing some 'proper trad'), he and I headed back to Sheffield along with a great weather forecast and a sense of urgency to get some sweet grit ticks done before it gets too hot! It did not disappoint...
On the first day, to my dismay, Sheffield was haunted by a hanging mist and humid drizzle. So after lurking around at Curbar for a few hours to see if things perked up (they didn't) we headed for a light evening sesh at the Works.

The next day was more promising, probably being the most prolific day of climbing I've ever had. I won't go into intimate detail about each route (if you want to see my comments go onto my UKC Logbook), but by 3 o'clock I had worked my way up L'horla (E1), Committed (E6), Unreachable Star (E3), Ulysses or Bust (E5), Moon Walk (E4) and although Steve gave me the Lion's share of climbing time, he also cruised a cool-headed headpoint solo of Cool Moon (E7) (cool is the word!). We checked the time and it was only about 3; still plenty of daylight left, but after all that we both felt that sated contentment and full body & mind tiredness that only a long bold day of trad and soloing can give. We pushed on however, wanting to make up for yesterdays bad weather and lack of ticks, so I did Diet of Worms (E4) and both boshed out a flash of Slackers (E6), which, with a belayer to keep you from goin down the slope, is essentially just a bit of a highball (much like Committed actually).

After this, reflecting on how good a day it had been, I concluded that I had so far done an E1, E3, two E4s, an E5 and 2 E6's. It would be rude not to do a quick E2 classic to do the complete E1 to E6 full-house. Skimming through the guide I selected Elder Crack as the E2 of choice, not realizing the nature of the route until I was underneath it. Joe Brown goes up in my estimations every time I do one of his routes (I can't wait to do Right Eliminate next time I'm at Curbar!), and Elder Crack is no exception to his extensive list of absolute gems! I think I climbed it OK; a bit of thrutching in the offwidth section is all part of it (although I have learned since that it is easier to layback), but having 2 big cams to plug in definitely makes that slightly insecure scrabbling and scuffling that bit less nerve-wracking, so more credit to the man!

So there it ended, with a grand total of 31 E points for myself and 19 for Steve. The message that I would give from this day is this; don't be content! When you feel that sense of lethargic contentment creeping up on you, press on in whatever way you feel you can, even if it's just a bit of easy mileage or repeating routes you've done before. By doing this you will develop that all-day stamina which allows you to really make the most of a day out, especially now the days are getting longer! With that type of stamina all sorts of clever and fun little day-challenges are made possible; like doing all the routes of the alphabet, the Tremadog V-challenge, all the Sub-E1 routes of an area etc; these days are great fun and super satisfying for the tick-hungry logbook fiend like myself.

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