12 December 2009

A tribute to Ciaran O'Frighil...

I imagine your all wondering who Ciaran O'Frighil is? Well to be perfectly honest I don't know and neither does that great academic source[!] Wikipedia, but Google tells me he once wrote a poem:
"I don't like gravity.
It gets me down."
- A Short poem about gravity by Ciaran O'Frighil

I must admit it seems that his poetic work is rather limited, but don't worry I haven't gone crazy; this poem, and the featured picture, both have a connection and a purpose.

If it was possible to make the picture rewind ten minutes you would be looking at a climber making moves on Faulds (S) at Caldbeck Moor Quarry and they would be about a meter above a piece of protection, with another piece about three meters below that. Fast forward some minutes and you'd see the climber reaching up for a hold near the top of the route. A couple of milliseconds would pass and you'd see the hold breaking off in the climbers hand. A couple more milliseconds would pass and the climber would be in free fall as gravity takes charge. Another millisecond would pass and you'd see the piece of protection, which was a meter below the climber, ripping out of the delicate limestone. A millisecond or so later and you'd see the ropes coming tight on the next piece of protection, about three meters below the piece that had just ripped, just as the climbers feet connect with the grassy mound at the bottom of the route. One or two more milliseconds would pass and you'd see the climber in a crumpled heap as their feet slide out from beneath them.

And now your back at the picture.

The ropes have been pulled through and left in a pile at the bottom of the route; the injured climber and their partner sort out the remaining gear and strip themselves of harnesses and climbing shoes. The ropes are eventually coiled and the pair hobble and walk, respectively, back to the vehicle that transported them to the crag and would now see them safely to the hospital in Penrith.

As you have probably now gathered I went climbing today at Caldbeck Moor Quarry. It was a lovely December morning, but on the first route a loose hold proved problematic for my partner, which resulted in a fall to the ground, and an end to the days climbing. Luckily the hospital diagnosis was soft tissue damage and the prescribed treatment was rest, ice, compression and elevation. Some might view this as a wasted day, but was it? Personally, I'd say no, and for now I'll leave it at that.

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

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