I hope you have all been getting out and enjoying the mostly still dry crags. To update you, I am excited to be working with Scarpa from now on. I have been wearing Instinct VS's recently and have been very impressed with the edging power, stiffness and downturned toe which has been awesome on some of the small footgrips at the Tor. In particular, on Mecca you need to be able to stand on some pretty poor, polished edges on the crux section gaining the base of the groove and I have noticed the moves feeling easier due to more weight going through my feet, which is a great thing!
The Tor season is still hanging in there, I have to keep pinching myself thinking the crag is bone dry and it is 23 November! It is a bit of an effort to stay warm enough and avoid the dreaded hotaches or 'numbing out' as it is called across the pond. Sprinting up and down the road 5 minutes before climbing seems to work but then all the blood can go to your legs and away from your hands. Handwarmers work for some. Maybe the Spanish trick of a heated rock in the chalkbag might be an idea...or better actually move to Spain!
Right now I'm trying Haaj, the left hand extension to Mecca which is a cool piece of climbing with some V8 or even V9 moves on the crux on rat crimps and two gnarly undercuts. Fortunately there is a half decent rest after leaving Mecca Extension. I'm also trying a long link of Mecca into the Whore of Babylon, which is easier but will still be a stout 8b+. It adds a 9 bolt 8a on top of Mecca and is very pumpy!
For inspiration, here is a shot of warmer climes from March this year and one of the most classic 12d's or 7c's at Smith Rock, USA taken by my friend Tom Wright. Can anybody guess which route?
Stay tuned folks and happy climbing!