Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Real progress at last !

Well i finally climbed a 7b. Tomohawk at my local crag, Villanueva De Cauche, which was nice. I'd been on it on a top rope once before following Ale, a very tall, very dynamic, climbers beta and buggered up my right elbow. I then watched Silvi climb it with technique and vowed to remember the beta.

Steve ( Eagle River from UKC ) has recently got married. What's that got to do with me climbing 7b you may ask ? Well his in laws live less than 1 hr from my house here in Spain. Why couldn't i find a woman like that ? Weirder coincidences are to follow as it turns out he lives about 10 minutes from my Mum's back in Manchester. Anyway i digress, get back to the exciting stuff i hear you cry. He came over for a visit and was allowed out for a few days climbing. I surprised him with freezing cold weather and torrential rain just to prove to all the UKC'ers that it's not always sunny in Spain. We spent a chilly, but mostly dry, day in Archidona cave. I told him not to believe the hype that it's one of the world's premier climbing venues. Yes the routes at 7c and above are awesome ( so i've been told ) but the whole floor - and many holds - are covered in a lovely mixture of bird and goat shit. Anyway we made the best of a bad day and i failed on a 7a on-sight again. Steve got introduced to the world of steep European limestone on Danza Agressiva and then we retreated due to the cold.

Steve had a goal of getting a 7b in a session. He likes bouldery routes and came armed with a clip stick. Tomohawk ( yes i'm back on the story now ) seemed to fit the bill. A couple of metres of easy climbing, a V4 section involving a gaston, guppy, double undercut sidepull off a massive ( but strangely insecure ) tufa with really high feet to dyno for an OK'ish hold. I had 2 more top ropes on it but wasn't feeling like i had the firepower to do the crux slappy move.

Steve showed me how with a very well executed redpoint. As someone who redpoints a lot his experience with that really showed. He figured out, and remembered, sequences much quicker then i can. Most importantly once he knew the moves he climbed them with a lot of confidence and just the right amount of aggression. He cruised the crux, rested and then blasted his way up the 6b+ ish climbing above.

I had half decided ( well more 80% if i am honest ) to just have another top rope but found myself pulling the rope through unexpectedly. Peer pressure kicked in. I reckon if he'd offered me a ciggy i'd have said yes. I quickly found myself entering the crux having scorned princess clipping the 1st 2 bolts ;0) Totally nervous, totally expecting to fail until something clicked and i just thought " Fuck it, i'm here now i may as well just see what happens." There was a pause of about 2 or 3 seconds as i latched the crux move while it sank in that i'd got it. I remember inwardly shouting at myself. " Stop staring at that shit hold you're on and move to the jug next to it." I eventually did and just had the easy climbing ahead after a rest point. Feeling rested, and on a real positive high, i set off into the much easier crux above, totally bolloxed it up, got wrong handed and ended up pulling out some weird, high footed, undercut, gaston thing. I've got to stop trying to mess things up for myself.

Silvi said it'd go next time and it did. She also said i wouldn't be far off Rasca y Pica ( Itchy and Scratchy ) a 7b+ round the corner. So that's my next target.

I've finally updated my goals on here as they were from December so just got to stick to them now.

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