Monday, 15 October 2012

Back to the Box, an epiphany

Hello to all readers. My next post has been inspired by a visit yesterday to an old haunt of mine, the Pill Box wall on the mighty Orme. I had it in mind to try and settle an old score of mine, a V12 traverse of Ormesman Chris Doyle which I had invested considerable amounts of time and effort in trying to repeat back in 2009. This had always been classified as unfinished business with me as I had come extremely close in April of that year before deciding to sack it off in favour of getting on routes. My best effort is already on my facebook videos for those interested.

I always meant to come back and finish it off. However, circumstances conspired against me and I ended up being made redundant later in the year, moving to Jersey and then Dorset in 2010 and 2011 for work before moving back up north just over a year ago. Whilst being away from my old training venues in Manchester, it was difficult to train power due to the dearth of bouldering facilities worthy of the name. In Jersey, the best climbing wall was in a corridor, mostly vertical and dated from 1986! and in Dorset the best bouldering wall was no more than 7 feet high with holds also from the 80's. I made the most doing lots of routes outside and managed to get quite fit doing 100 move circuits in a private facility near where I lived in Sherborne, Dorset. However, there were no dedicated 45 degree boards where you could do well set power problems of more than 2 moves.

Back in Manc, for the past year I have mainly been doing routes with only the odd power session thrown in top it up. This was because I was minded to keep fit for Spanish trips and UK routes. This approach has worked pretty well and has enabled me to tick British 8a+'s and the odd foreign 8a. However, the steely power for Font 8a has not been worked on properly since 2009. I have managed to get up Font 7c's and the odd 7c+ but have not been in the bouldering form needed bust out the magic 8 grade for some time now.

Yesterday, second day on on the Box and first climbing visit since April 09 was a rather humbling experience compared to how climbing on here used to feel 3 and a half years ago although positive in that I can see where I need to get to now. I did Pill Box Original, Whisky Bitch and Mr Whippy, both 7a+'s, again and did all the moves on Drink Driving. It seems like a fair bit of work will be needed to get back in the shape needed to do it. Still, I am psyched. Back then it had not had a 2nd ascent - that cachet has now gone as it has now had 3 or 4 repeats. My inspiration comes from the following footage I have found in the archives of the first repeat of Malteser/ Last Rites, a classic Font 8a linkup a couple of months before I nearly did DD. This includes the crux of DD, the big span left to the poor pinch/ crimp.

The day I did this, I had already done 2 other 8a's in the Cave, and it was one of the best days' climbing I have ever had. Here is a link to an article that mentions it:

Anyway, to get in the shape to it do DD again will mean doing more bouldering at Stockport Wall but this is no hardship as it has an excellent circuit of problems and a massive 45 degree board. I will do a session bouldering every Tues and a session routing every Thurs to keep the fitness going and will try to do some pullups on Weds too.

On sat, I managed to do the top pitch of Mecca Extension which is 8a+ which i have been working on for the past few weekends and nearly did it linking in the 7c+ groove of Mecca so am syked for that probably in the spring now. Seems as though the moves on this are not as hard as Drink Driving! Bouldering on the Box over the winter should provide plenty of power for the extension, it will just be a little chilling on that north face in the icy wind! Mercifully, the warm car and hot flask are only 20 seconds away. No pads in the sea this time. 

Venga bichos!

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