It looks like the grit season is nearly upon us. Both Pete and I have put up a new route each (obviously very dubious in style and quality) which normally marks the coming of better conditions! Those lovely frosty mornings, long johns under the trousers and duvet jackets really get me pysched. I think it’s the thought of all the routes I’m going to get terrified on and the foraging around obscure crags looking for new bits of rock to climb. It’s totally backwater and obscure but I flippin’ love it.
I’m always at Millstone taking a quick wonder round the bottom of the crag with my daughter in tow (advanced babysitting, whilst trying to look responsible) and for once I spotted something that caught my eye. I’ve abbed down most bits of the crag, but the wall above Xanadu had always appeared blank. A few days later I was back with a rope and found that wall had a bucket load of holds all over it (promising) but quite a few missing at the top. Never mind I thought, it’ll be easy. After a couple of sessions of cleaning and working, it was apparent that most of the route is a cruise, but the top move is a bit of niggler. A nasty shouldery gaston-press in a certain deck out position. King Ellmore E6 6a/b is the man for you!
Going back to lead the route one evening after work was actually a bit trickier than I thought. I’ve not done any bold routes for absolutely ages, so many of the usual mind games played away. It just goes to remind me how much you can train the body, but if you forget the mind you’ll be a whole load of trouble. Unfortunately my mind and body are both a little off the pace (my pulley injury is still being a bit of a nightmare) but I can feel them both heading in a good direction now. The crack progression is really hopeful for me at the moment and I’m getting the planning done for some trips next year for some crack shuffling of the very loveliest kind. Oooh, so excited!
On a completely different note, I’m finally able to put some pictures from a fashion shoot that I did with the Sunday Telegraph Magazine earlier in the summer. It was for a climbing/Yosemite themed editorial (why the heck choose The Peak you may ask???!) which meant I got to mince around at Stanage for a couple of days showing some of the London boys how gnarly it is to solo VDiffs. I kept trying to get them involved with something a little more tricky, but they loved the VDiffs, so that’s where we stuck!
I think my highlight of the two days was to get one of the FHM male models stuck in an offwidth doing an armbar in a £800 down jacket. It was so ridiculous, you just had to laugh. I never thought I’d be able to persuade a photographer that it was a good idea, but there he was in all his glory – lichen coveved armbar and all!