Monday, 1 October 2012

Wow I'm a disgusting person!

I cant believe I haven't posted on here since my 2011 Majorca write-up, and here I am, freshly back from my Majorca 2012 trip, and finding that creative writing is like many other skills - if you don't do it, it becomes hard. Much like ROCK climbing - as in climbing on real actual proper rock. Like stone rock, not pulling on plastic holds like I've been for the last umpteen months! Which isn't to say that doesn't keep you in good shape. In fact with the combination of both indoor climbing and route-setting I've definitely noticed a bit of the old burl coming back in the shoulders, but my goodness do I feel out of touch with rock. Looking back through my UKC graphs I count 69 routes in the Logbook in 2012: that includes trad, sport AND bouldering!! 69?!  Compared to 2010's exploits of 245, there is only one word for that. Shocking. And crap. Thats 2 words, but that pretty much sums it up. Crap and shocking.

"But Mike, whats happened to you, I always thought you were an insufferably determined optimist?!" Well anonymous voice, yes I am! So lets take some positives from 2012...

Firstly, its not over yet. The winter is coming, and that excites me. I'm motivated to train again for the first time since my ankle-break, as well as having some great Winter venues around me including Brean Down for some hard sport, and some wicked little bouldering spots near by, not to mention I'm on the way to getting my driving license - 3-day Peak blitzes, here we come!!
Bit of a setting sesh at the Warehouse
Secondly, I've had an extremely productive year with my budding career at The Warehouse Climbing Centre in Gloucester; lots of instructing experience, coaching some future climbing prodiges and now taking over as chief route-setter, which I've become totally obsessed with (I close my eyes at night and see holds. Lots of holds).

The Majorcan Frying Pan! Where dreams become food.
 And last but most certainly not least, I've just got back from yet another awe-inspiring trip to Majorca - it just don't get no better than this! 9 days of climbing back to back. Now normally I'm a big advocate of the importance of rest, but in Majorca it just seems like that doesnt apply. Its not to say we didnt have some slightly more restful days, but I was still climbing 7's every day. Its really odd but, out there you just dont get tired! Our bodies were replenished by constant submersion in the sea and long lounges in the sun, we ate like Kings and Queens (I don't do things by half with camping food - we're talking morrocan feasts, tasty pakora and paella platters) and the salt-water also does wonders for the skin, cuts heal in a day or two and your tips maintain a pleasant soft-yet-tough feel to them. Plus the Majorcan limestone yields holds that are almost all skin friendly juggy pockets and finger jugs. ALMOST all of them...

The amazing and super steep Kill Bill 2 (very hard 7b+!) in the intimidating Tarantino Cave
... but not all of them. There are two moments that I have to let my ego loose to tell you about. Carlos Checa in the Snatch cave is a bouldery 8a that I had tried a couple of times last year and got nowhere on - a crimpy rail to a funky triple-mono hold (like you put your fingers in these  o 0 o  ) and a desperate snatch to a sharp but positive 2 finger pocket, gotta be font 7b+ just to there, before bouldering out the cave on big gibbon-moves on chunky pockets. Anyway, very chuffed indeed to get that ticked, and very keen indeed to try the Cala Barques testpiece Snatch 8a+ next year!

Its all about the knee bars baby!
And then the big one - the route, nay, the move, that has been on my mind ever since I saw Klem dreaming about it in Dosage II. "I think the brain is too slow", he said. It certainly seemed that way for me too, clinging onto two opposing crimps, feet bunched high, and those barrels, so, so, soooo         far         away!! And Klems maniacal screams in my imagination, "COME ON, GETSCHO!!" Jump.... Tickle.... Flail.... Splash!    Jump. Tickle. Flail. Splash!   JumpTickleFlailSplash! JumTicFlaSplash! But as the trip drew to its end, and even though the those barrels had slowly started coming closer to me, my brain was still too slow, and I found myself on the last day of the trip, and still I hadnt stuck it. Time against us, Cailean and I ran up to the Diablo with an hour and a half until our coach across the island, and yes the pressure was on! Perhaps it was something to do with the sangria and liquor-filled melon from the night before, but that day my brain was feeling pretty slow. My body wasn't though.

Flying through the 6c sequence up to the rest I felt elastic once again, got the crimps, jump.......... and tickle, and flail, and splash! My brain is too slow! Another attempt, I get to the crimps, and then I don't remember anything, except swinging from the biggest jug in the Mediterranean!! WAHOOO just doesn't cut it. Total euphoric ecstatic elation doesn't cut it. Words just can't capture that move, it truly is "poetry-in-motion".

Needless to say I fell off the hard 8a climbing at the top, but to be honest I couldn't care less. That's next years challenge. For now I am more than content with sticking that move, and happily amused with the idea that my brain isn't too slow, Klem, it just has no place on a dyno halfway up a cliff over the Mediterranean sea, where rational thought is quite simply not necessary. Let your brain wander and let your body do the thinking!




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