I’m a creature of habit, every morning starts with an espresso, fruit smoothie and porridge. I think climbing is the same, you can get in the habit of climbing certain grades which can lead to a plateau and sometimes you need a little push somehow to get up off that plateau and push your grade a bit. Then this new grade can become habit.
I’ve been having a great time at work this week in the sun and my Original Mountain Month clients have got loads done, climbing at Milestone Buttress, Holyhead Mountain and the Slate Quarries plus an ascent of Crib Goch with a wild camp in Cwm Glas. I’ve also ticked two really great routes over the last two days, yesterday was the mega classic route on the Cromlech, Left Wall E2 5c and today was SS Special E2 5b on the Grochan. I’d really like E2 to become my grade of habit, over the last few years my average grade has been HVS and if I could extend this to E2 I’d be really happy.
The training I’ve been doing has mostly revolved around bouldering and the Beastmaker, it was really nice to climb these routes and feel the benefit of all the effort. None of the moves on either route felt particularly hard, but they did highlight that I need to train on the routes indoors too as my endurance doesn’t currently match my strength – so this is something I’ll add a bit more of over the next few weeks.
So the routes?! Left Wall has been on my to do list for years, it’s a stunning looking line on a stunning crag that I drive by almost daily and the climbing did not disappoint, the moves were never that hard, but there’s a lot of them and you should really temper the urge to place too much gear so as to save some energy. If you haven’t done this route and are capable, get on it and if you’re not yet ready it’s definitely something to aspire to!
Last year I went to do SS Special after work on a lovely summer’s evening, the banter was good, I started climbing, I fell off! I got back on it but was knackered and did a variation of it at HVS – SS Sickle. But today was the day and I met Stu at about 0830 and after a quick bit of traversing to warm up I was on the initial crack placing a number 4 nut, then I down climbed back to the floor, should have warmed up more! A few minutes later I was feeling good so I fired back up the crack quite easily, placing a couple more runners on the way, first third done and you’re at a hands off rest, relax and recover. Place another nice nut and you’re off up the middle third which is sloper city, easier than the crack but pretty pumpy for un-warmed up arms. Now with the pump properly set in I was beneath the final third of the route, on a slopey ledge with a really creaky jug of a handhold. I built a mini belay here of a couple of offsets and a couple of cams, because the next bit looked a bit steep for tired arms. Pull up through the overhang and there’s mega undercuts and you’re back on vertical rock where there’s more runner options, one more section of cheekiness and you’re at the top. I’d climbed pretty slow but was really happy to tick this off the unfinished business list! Quality route.
My 2016 wishlist of routes has a few ticks already and I’m feeling super psyched to tick the rest off too, just need to work on the endurance a bit, but hopefully E2 will become habit and will be the average grade of the year…
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