Friday, 9 December 2016

Moving to Manchester

Corridors of Power 7C+
Well basically everything changed. I lived in a village of a couple hundred, now I live in a city of a half million. I studied in a school of 800, now I study with 80,000 around me. I’m living in student halls and not at home. Surely this must have affected my climbing? Well yes it has.

Studying physics can’t be done all the time, it’s too intense. This caused climbing to turn more into a relaxation from the work, a time to chill out, let my mind wander and body do all the work. I think climbing is great for this as you can’t think about anything else when you try your hardest. I’ve also met lots of other climbers on my course. I love climbing with them as it gives me the balance of working hard to achieve goals and just enjoying climbing because it’s the best. It’s weird how most the climbers I’ve met have been doing physics, maybe it’s because we are all niche people but climbing no longer is that niche what with the Olympics and all that. Perhaps it’s because we like solving problems, well after many years of climbing the tricks to things come quickly. I think it because we need to get out our heads and it’s a perfect way to do that.

Flick of the Wrist 7C+
Moving to Manchester has opened the door for me in terms to crag access. I can now visit all the best crags in England, apart from Anstey’s Cove, for the weekend. Routes I’ve always dreamed about doing are now a few hours away. All I needed was someone equally keen, so I hooked up with Chris Shephard. We visited North Wales to climb at Llanberis, Parisellas and Devils Gorge. All three venues where great days each with a different style and feel.

The main crag we visited was Malham which has many famous routes like, Raindogs, Predator, Bat Route, Rainshadow. I wanted to hit the ground running but doing Bat Route and Unjustified in a weekend came as a happy surprise. The next visit I tried the project to the right of Cry Freedom. This was originally bolted by Aaron Tonks and had thrown of attempts from a few talented climbers over the years. I tried it with Ted Kingsnorth, who is one of the most psyched climbers I’ve ever met! The route is about an 8b until a high rest on Cry Freedom. Then you blast out right onto a steep wall to do a 7B boulder before reaching the chains. I fell on the top multiple times, each time I was nowhere near fresh enough to do the crux. A week later fortune favoured us and the crag was in the best condition it had been all season. I fell again at the top on my first two attempts. On the third I rested a lot more, I’m not sure why I didn’t do this on previous attempts but it is always good to make it harder for yourself. This go I had the beans and battled through the crux to clip the chains. Although it wasn’t a massively long project the fact that it had never been climbed before gave it an aura to me. Hence it was without a doubt one of the high points of my climbing career and one of the biggest buzzes I’ve had from climbing. 

I should maybe mention the bouldering side of things. I’ve had opportunity to push myself, with a lot of hard boulders close by. I’ve climbed the ones with beautiful moves, ones with savage moves and ones with lots of moves. Each one has been enjoyable in its own way. I’ll pick the problem which I was happiest to do. This was New Noise 8A at Tanygrisiau boulders. The setting is incredible, beautiful mountains scared by black slate quarries. The place is made even more rugged and raw by how the landscape has been ruined by industry. The climbing there mimics the setting especially New Noise, being brutal yet oddly beautiful. The problem boils down to one basic power move. It works everything: the core, the fingers and the arms. Nothing can be weak and it was awesome to have everything work well enough to stick it.

Something for Nothing 8c
New Noise 8A

I wondered when I left for university if I would be more or less motivated. I know now for sure it’s more. I’m going to Spain over Christmas and I’ve never been so excited for a trip. I’ve got projects to get back on next year in both bouldering and sport.