Thursday, 17 March 2011

Public transport, retro-flashing and day-long fitness

You might think not having a car can be a bit of a shite sometimes, and I suppose it is, but I haven't let it stop me getting out, with Gwynedd County having the 26th best public transport service in Wales! (I'd also add that 63% of my statistics have been made up). From the hub that is Bangor you can get a train or bus to Holyhead for North Stack, a bus to Llanberis for slate or an easy hitch to the Pass, or Bethesda for an easy hitch to Ogwen (both prime hitching routes on roads that only lead to one place), and Gerlan for Caseg boulders (about £2 return!). The other day Duncan even got a bus all the way to Tremadog (you can get to Aberystwyth on this for £5.40, and then your halfway to Pembroke!), and my personal favorite, and a regular pilgrimage last year; the trusty Number 5 to Llandudno for the Orme. This is a safe bet be it rain or shine; it offers wet-weather bouldering in Parisella's and a host of top-class limestone sport and trad routes! With all the students balls-deep in academia this week no lifts had arisen, so for the first time in 2011 I made the familiar pad-laden trudge to the bus stop to meet Tim 'Pectoralis Major' Peck. Public Transport rocks!

Unrelenting rain on the journey didn't bode well for routes, but when we rocked up at the cave the sun was out and conditions felt prime! Warming up in Split Infinity my muscles felt supercharged, retro-flashing Lickety Split and knocking out a quick send of Bellpig (V9), which I was close to last session but with fresh arms today it went 3rd go. Moving into the 'proper cave'  I was feeling electric, with a routine retro flash of Clever Beaver and a surprise retro flash of Rockatrocity, feeling really comfortable on the moves even though I only had a pad for the starting moves, and then sticking the first move on Trigger Cut (V11) for the first time!
Time for lunch and some idle spectating of Jim McCormack crushing Tomorrow People F7c. With as much beta as a man of his stature could give me I threw myself at the flash attempt, fighting my way up through the bouldery crux, but with just one more hard pull from the awesome up-side-down-knee-bar rest my arms refused to pull and I had no choice but to slump onto the rope, totally boxed but psyched that I had got so close on the first steep sport route of the year.

After a bit of a rest and a pear (the fruit that gets things sent!) I casually pulled onto left wall to finish off the session, but ended up getting to the LW high/low fork feeling fresh, so thought I'd give the LWH a shot. At the sideways-heel-on-the-flake rest I was in disbelief; how had I recovered so well from my recent and deep-set pump?! Just the heinous V6 finish to go now! The final left drop-knee move felt glorious; retro-flashing 2 V9s and ticking a new V9 3rd go, with a lot of climbing in between. The last few weeks of long-day 'training' (just doing lots of climbing in a day) has paid dividends, no doubt about it! I foresee this being pretty beneficial come Font and El Chorro, where you have a limited time to do a lot of stuff. To add to this, my skin regeneration also seems really good, partly due to the sheer volume of recent climbing, and also due to lots of washing up.

So here's a link to a fantastic little bouldering film by Mark Reeves, Amateur Hardcore, which features loads of classics at a range of North Wales bouldering venues, great for some beta-snatching and psyche.

And here is a nice little video by Mason of him doing Left Wall High last year. It's said to be about F8a+, quite power-endurancey with around 25 hand moves and a fair bit of foot trickery, one of the classic true lines of the cave!

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