Climbing of late hasn’t quite been going to plan. I really want and need to be getting out cragging more – or at least I do if the weather holds for more than a few hours at a time.
So why haven’t things been going to plan? Well primarily it has been a lack of decent weather – take yesterday for instance: Patrick had come over and I wanted to go and do some nice mountain VS’s on Glyder Fach, and maybe Noah’s Warning on Dinas Cromlech (VS/HVS). All would have been great apart from the tiny little matter of the driving heavy rain in the morning. So we ended up cruising the shops in Betwys-y-coed, having tea and cake and then doing a scramble – up Bristly Ridge to the summit of Glyder Fach and back down Gribin Ridge. Not a bad day really, but we weren’t climbing!
Oh, the other slight issue has been one of me, my time and my priorities. Last week I headed back to Bucks for two nights – obviously using up three days of potential climbing time (although this wasn’t simply a waste of time as I did manage to fly some circuits at Halton in between thunderstorms, thereby keeping my license current – phew). I’m not sure the weather was that great back here over those three days anyway, but given some motivation, I could have gotten out walking or scrambling or running (fitness, fitness, FITNESS).
So when did I last climb? That would be Monday, my Monday climbing session with Dave. Great, we headed over to Maeshafn and Pot Hole Quarry – two Clwyd venues I hadn’t yet been to. At Maeshafn I led a nice little VS called ‘Puppy Power’, finding the only difficulties to be in working out what the guidebook meant by a ‘shallow groove’ and then the top out – a tenuous horribly mantle onto a very steep mud bank. Lovely. Dave led another VS, ‘Layback on me’, a very misleadingly named route that was much less layback, more tenuous step up. Hmm. Anyway, after our depressingly poor efforts we decided to head over to Pot Hole Quarry, where we were hoping for less mud and more pleasant top outs…
Pot Hole Quarry, small, compact, very near vertical and thereby fairly intimidating looking climbing. I thing the routes are probably really cool – there looked to be an abundance of positive holds and cracks. I say there ‘looked to be’, because I didn’t actually get to climb anything here – our jolly little afternoon in the sun, bimbling around on easy(ish) routes was about to be gut brutally short by Dave coming off the route he was on, only to have his sole piece of gear (a friend, unfortunately notoriously unstable in polished limestone cracks) rip out, sending him tumbling to the ground and a very solid rock ledge. My only use was as a spotter, as belaying had been rendered totally unnecessary by the sudden dearth of gear – so I tried to catch him…I like to think that I somehow stopped him landing on his head and ending up with some kind of horrendous neck or back injury, but we have no real way of knowing if I was really of any use. After avidly telling me he was fine, and me having checked him over to make sure he hadn’t actually broken his back or anything, Dave then decided, in a very matter-of-fact manner, that he thought that maybe, just maybe, he’d broken his foot…
Long story short, after an agonising ‘hop’ out to the car and an even more agonising wait at the hospital (probably more painful for me as by then I was absolutely starving), the poor sod has basically obliterated his heel. Operations involving metalwork and possibly bone grafting are what I’m now told he may well have ahead of him, along with several long months of simply not being able to walk on it at all, let alone drive or even climb. I feel terrible for him, and Dave, if you’re reading this – I wish you well mate and you’re in my thoughts. I hope I haven’t been too unfair in writing this account!
So yeah, weather, me not being able to prioritise properly or even get myself motivated, and losing a partner due to an accident have all been reasons I haven’t been climbing anywhere near as much as I should have done. So what’s today’s excuse? Well, I’m tired, lack motivation and need to get the house in order before our friends come to stay tomorrow. I really should be out scrambling in the Rhinogs or something, but actually, the housework and other chores (including finally making myself an appointment to get some contact lenses!!!) have taken over in priority today. Ho hum!