31 October 2009


I'm currently working my way through a 200+ piece jigsaw, which is graded as impossible. The grading isn't far wrong to be honest; you can see, in the picture above, that the majority of the pieces are white, there is little detail in the whole puzzle apart from word 'Milk' and five line drawings of a cow. Anyhow it's keeping me entertained on an evening.

Not only is this jigsaw puzzling, but also how my motivations for particular aspects of my outdoor life wax and wain so often. At the moment I feel my motivation for paddling is slipping away by the day. I don't think it is the actual paddling activity which I am losing motivation for, but the logistics behind a days paddling: the recruiting of a boating team; the sitting, waiting and searching for water; and the fact that paddling is so intrusive on your every day life. I know that it will only take one good day, or one good weekend away, to resolve these issues, but it just seems like it will never come.

I suppose this might come down to the fact that I've thrown myself into a very intensive training programme to improve my climbing. At the moment I'm spending roughly three days a week on a climbing wall working on improving my stamina, before I move on to strength endurance and limit strength training. It might not sound fun, and it isn't pushing my climbing abilities, but it is, for some strange reasons, highly addictive, but at the same time fun and rewarding. It is hoped that all this training will eventually pay dividends as I've now searched out my project for next summer.

The reasonings behind my project choice are very similar to those of Dave MacLeod in his awe inspiring DVD, Echo Wall, when it comes to climbing hard lines. The route will be at my absolute limit, where the chance of failing is as big as the chance of succeeding, but if I do succeed I will have tested myself to the full not only on the actual route, but also in the training for the route. Yes the project is considerably easier than Echo Wall, high up on Ben Nevis, but for me, it is as big a challenge as Echo Wall was to MacLeod.

The project is over in the Langdales, on Neckband Crag, and it's called Gillette Direct (E2, 5c). If it all comes off successfully it will be the hardest route I will have lead, but there is also a high chance of failing on the route. Will it be failure though? In order for me to even get on the lead on this route I plan to send a hand full of classic Lake District boulder problems, which are considerably harder than the English technical grade of 5c, lead Glorfindel (HVS, 5a), which shares a portion of Gillette Direct, and also top rope the project until I am happy with the moves, rests and protection. I'm also toying with the idea of getting some bolt clipping in at St. Bees on routes up to F6b+, which is marginally harder than English 5c. So if I do fail on the route, yes it will be upsetting, but the preparation towards climbing the route will have been rewarding and beneficial to my long term climbing development.

Good lines, stay safe and see you on the wet stuff...

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