25 December 2009

Christmas Day: Bouldering Time

The view from the top of the Bowderstone: Low Scawdel and Nitting Haws.

I've just got back from an afternoon of bouldering at what has been described as the premier single boulder in the northern hemisphere, The Bowderstone. I think this might be a slight exaggeration, but don't get me wrong, it's an impressive piece of rock and the problems are some of the best around, but if your off form, or not feeling that strong, you won't be able to pull hard enough to make the moves, and you'll come away feeling demotivated and unenthusiastic about your climbing.

The south face of the Bowderstone.

This was the case for me today. I worked three problems - The Rib (V4), Picnic Sarcastic (V7) and The Crack (V4) - and to be honest I didn't get any further than the first move on each of them and I've visited the boulder on one previous occasion and very nearly completed The Crack. I wasn't very happy, to say the least, and as I walked back down the snowy path, to the van, I wondered whether all this training of late has been in vain.

On reflection, it cannot have been; I am climbing better than I have ever climbed inside and there it is, the most important word of all, inside. All of this training has been inside and as
Dave MacLeod says: "if you are training to climb real rock, training on something as close to it as possible is a rather good idea" and therefore I need to address this problem in my next phase of training, which I plan to start in January, when the new semester at University begins.

Latching the two finger pocket on The Rib (V4).

Anyhow, less of the deep analysis, lets look at today for what it was. One single day of the year. Yes it was Christmas Day, but still it was only a day where one bad performance doesn't mean one wasted week, month or year. It's just a day and today's afternoon was probably one of the better ways to spend Christmas Day when her in doors is, at work, on a twenty-four hour shift.

Establishing my feet in the hope of making one more move on Picnic Sarcastic (V7).

What surprised me the most about today was how many cars were on the roads, but more importantly how all the main car parks, which serve classic Lake District routes, like Sharp Edge for example, were as full as they normally are. Obviously many people enjoy spending Christmas outside in the hills, away from the crowds[!], and the usually predictable Christmas Day TV and to be honest who can blame them.

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

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