Sunday, 28 September 2008
sunny bolt clipping
I'm not a sport climber. I don't even like sport climbing. I'm not sure why I don't really like it, I mean I find trad scary so surely sport climbing should be better, what with there being whacking great bolts in the rock for you to fall on. Somehow though I find climbing on bolts deeply unnerving. I always end up thinking - I should be able to climb harder routes than this - I'm strong (ish), I'm technically competant (relatively speaking) SO WHY THE F*CK AM I CRAPPING MYSELF?!
Anyway, I managed to convince myself that I wanted to have another crack at it all. Last time I went sport climbing Dave and I went to Portland and I managed to pick routes that had ridiculously spaced bolt or were stupidly polished. We ended up going bouldering because I freaked myself out so much. So yesterday I was determined I was going to climb something.
We went to Trevor Rocks in Clywd - I've climbed trad routes on this escarpment many times in the past and really enjoy the style of climbing so it seemed like a nice idea to try some bolted stuff there. Turns out I was right!
I managed to scare myself up a 4 (first time on bolts and indeed on a rope for quite a while). The level of fear I experienced didn't really bode well I have to say, but anyway, what with Dave and Phil being all enthusiastic and a load of really friendly and psyched people also at the crag I eventually set my sights on a technical looking 6a. Small holds, crap footholds but a very easy looking top section - perfect! Happily I managed to onsight it, and enjoy it (a bonus!). Dave also enjoyed it.
Next Dave and Phil had a crack at a 5+ - Dave led and Phil [very competantly!] top-roped it afterwards. I was impressed! I didn't fancy that route so played with the video camera instead (hopefully I will manage to edit down some of the days footage so I can post some up here).
I had noticed a route next to the 6a I had just onsighted that looked to be of a similar nature but was a grade harder (6a+) - so that was the next challenge and after a little faffage, it was done! Ok so I fluffed the crux on my first go but second time around - cruised it.
We didn't try anything harder, even though I probably should. I certainly hadn't been operating at anywhere near my limit, so I suppose in a way it's nice to know that I should be able to climb considerably harder. I just wish I could convince my head that my body is able. Ah well, it's all part of the game isn't it?
The last route of the day was a 5. We figured it would make a nice simple, easy warm down. How wrong we were. I bottled it, completely. Dave managed to lead the thing - I'm still not quite sure how! I decided to top-rope it to see if I really had just been making a fuss about nothing...
It was horrible! Awkward, scary and potentially very painful if you fell between the 2nd and 3rd bolt (crux - awkward nasty holdless squoozing up and out of a really awkward groove.)
I'm sure there must be an easier way! Fair play to Dave though on what I considered to be a fairly legendary effort.
I need to do more sport climbing. Every sport climber that knows me is shocked and horrified when I admit I only operate around the 6a grade area - they all seem to expect me to be climbing more like 7a. I can't help but agree with them - I am certainly capable of climbing ALOT harder than I currently do. Hmm.