Man oh man I love breakfast. I am going to miss that big blob of Pigs Blood. aka black pudding.
Well, for some reason I have not felt the need to be blogging. Maybe I just didn't want to waste any energy typing on the keyboard, you know – in case it interfered with my recovery or contact strength or tendonitis or something. Or maybe it was because I was saving it all up for the big successful report where I post that victorious picture of myself standing on the summit of Rhapsody flexing my biceps and kissing my forearms. Or maybe it was because I got sidetracked each night by the next episode of South Park. Hmmm…
let's back up.
Last week, Steve McLure came out with James Pearson and Mr.Dunne to check out this outrageously cool climb. I can't speak for James, but he (although strong as they come) seemed to lose interest in the climb when he noted the contrived nature of it. Dunne as well had little interest but enjoyed climbing on the crack. Steve however stayed motivated and on his second day he linked to my highpoint, (the crux) but slipped going for the first good hold which leads to the top. He then did Requiem to cool down. Easy. We got to talking about the climb and I got inspired to have one more shot at it, in the sun. When I got to the rest in the middle, I decided to have a go at the true Direct version, going straight up the headwall. I sent this line on my very first try. 5.14a R. I don't know what this translates to in the E grade system, but I'll let others figure it out. I did this on preplaced gear. The line is R, but the fall is very safe. It was fun to climb, I called it "DIREQUIEM" and I was happy to make a first ascent at Dumby, but I was not totally satisfied. I came to try Rhapsody. I always knew I could do Direqiuem, I wasn't here for that. I wanted a challenge above and beyond, something to make me try harder and climb better, something beyond or at the edge of my current level of fitness.
You see, Rhapsody may be an eliminate, but it is still Rhapsody. There is a tremendous amount of logic behind what Dave did and that deserves a pile of respect I think. He saw the line, and climbed it to the top. The only rule is don't bail left to the arete, (a cop out) stay on the face and the line is very much obvious. And yes, very hard. Dave presented us all with a challenge. A challenge to climb this sequence of holds and until someone does, that challenge will always remain. I could do the 'direct version' and the 'cop out' version, but I still didn't climb Rhapsody, and I would not be truly satisfied. I came here to challenge myself and that I did. Rhapsdoy is a good route, actually no, it's a terrifc route, it climbs so fucking well, it's actually fun to fall off of. There is not a painful or scary move on it, it's a brilliant line. Compared to say Cobra Crack, as easthetic and direct as it may be – it's stings like a son of a bitch. I always dreaded going back up for another burn when I knew how much it was going to hurt. There is not a bad move on Rhapsody. It flows like fifty cent. It deserves three stars in my books.
The day after that, the boys left town and Cory and I came out again, Booo-Ya, cool and crisp conditions, Tues I think. We both had FOUR honest goes at our chosen lines. This was our 10th climbing day. I fell off the crux move four times in a row, each time feeling stronger and stonger, but I could not sink my digits into the smudge fest finger lock. The hold is so rubbish, even McLure decided to solve the crux by avoiding it, doing a much harder move between two "better" holds. I stuck to the rubbish sequence, I had no choice, just not strong enough. At the very end of the day, just to see if I could, I did the Direquiem link again, no problem, climbing straight through the crux to the top of the wall, again. SO WHAT GIVES?
QUESTION: Why can't I stick it fom the Rhaps approach?
ANSWER: I can, I just haven't yet.
Rhapsody is basically a 5.13c/d into a V10/V11 and a cheeky one at that. Not ground breaking terrain, by sport climbing standards. But every time I think I am going to stick it, something goes wrong, a foot slips, a finger slips, a tip bleeds, or I just miss the hold entirely. It is not a matter of if I can climb the route, it is a matter of when. And so I try and so I wait.
10 days later. Crap conditions, no wind, we are still here and I am still falling off. We decided to rest and enjoy the city. We got proper drunk two nights in a row, stumbling home around 5 am, and that screwed us over for our first day back. but we managed to shake it off and get back on track, (gatoraid) then it rained, I climbed with rain on my back and a t-shirt on the finishing hold. The game plan was to climb up to the last move and have Paul Diffley pull it away just before the final dyno. I fell at the smudge finger lock again. The next day in the sun. and in the sun again after that. I suck. I am just not taking this very seriously.
BUT then today was PERFECTO. My beautiful girlfriend even flew in for a week of support and smiles. Cool and windy in the morning but turned to snot in the afternoon. By the way, for the record, this is the most tempermental rock climbing area I have ever been to. My first go I thought it was in the bag, I smirked as a reeled in the crimps, giggled as I calmly chalked up and laughed when I launched into the air for the 14th time. What went wrong? I still don't know why I fell off, I suppose I just lost tension is all. The whole line boils down to these two or three crux moves, and I am running out of skin and excuses, faster than I'd like.
I tried it again 45 minutes later, same result. Now I am furious. I actually started yelling. Screaming even, like a 12 year old girl with a skinned knee. FACT: I have linked through this section dozens of times. FACT: I have climbed up to this point dozens of times as fresh as a daisy. And yet when I put the two together, something gives out. What? Finally I realized that it's just not cold enough. I want gail force winds or 8 degree temperatures. I am trying to force it. I am trying to push something that does not want to be pushed. It's June 7th, and it was 19 degrees today. Last week the midges were out all three nights, driving us madly back to the car. They are bloody murder they are and I'll be happy if I never see one again. Let alone hundreds or thousands. Evil.
Not to forget Mr.Cory Richards. He is doing incredibly well on Requiem, I am so damn proud of him. The man never climbs rock and he's got this thing down to two falls. He's capable and he's confident. We both are. But tonight is our last night, changing our tickets would mean driving to the airport in GLasgow and dishing out another 300 bucks. Staying would most certainly mean success, leaving would mean going home empty handed losers. But you know what Kenny
says, "you gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em". We are going to crack a beer and start discussing our options. We would appreciate your feedback if you feel up to it. Cory is stoked, he's got nowhere to be next week and loves Diffs futon more than his own bed in Seattle, me, I got a girl going to Colorado tomorrow and I hear there are some pretty nice rocks to climb there as well. Here is the way I see it…
1.Ride on a double decker town bus. Check.
2.Get proper drunk in Edinburgh and crawl home at dawn. Check.
3.Watch the complete series of Scrubs in three weeks. Check.
4.Eat fish and chips, salt and sauce. Check.
5.Drink an IRNBRU. Check.
6.Kill some few hundred midges. Check.
7.Have my girlfriend fly over for tea. Check
8.Climb Requiem. Check.
9.Climb Direquiem. Check.
Well, 9 out of 10 ain't bad. Having a goal is like having money. If you are happy before you make money, you will be happy afterwards. I'm happy with or without climbing Rhapsody, so if I leave tomorrow, it's no sweat off my back, it's just a fun chunk of rock, a wonderful challenge. But then again, nobody is interested in something you didn't do. So maybe you should stop reading this and check out the Teva Games website, www.tevamountaingames.com and see who qualified, I got my money (what's left of it) on Sharma. Best wishes.