Rain. Snow. Sleet. More rain. Hail. We've had it all in Sheffield over the past week and then some. It's hardly stopped. And if it has stopped, I haven't noticed. Still, through the medium of Twitter, I've noticed that a lot of people still managed to find some dry rock in the great wide world of outside. Even more impressive, they've managed to find it in the Peak District! How?!? I work in Pilsley (near Baslow) so I've had a front row seat for the weather that has battered this part of the world for pretty much the whole of December. Quickly, I have the utmost respect for those climbers still brave enough to jump in the car and travel around, checking rock and moving on until they find a dry line. But this is something I do not have the time for, unfortunately.
So, I've reserved my vertical shimmying for the indoor walls. Specifically, Climbing Works. I've certainly been getting value for money on my membership. But this weekend has been another cracker. I love climbing at the Works. The scene is like no other. Better than anywhere else I have been. There are so many strong, psyched climbers down that way. And this weekend I feel like I've met most of them. A large part of this was due to the social lubrication of liquor. But don't worry; I don't go climbing sozzled. Climbing Works held its 5th Birthday Bash on Friday evening and I attended. It was a fantastic doo (although, I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of techno/dance music) in Forward Nightclub in the town centre. I'm not going to name drop, but I met all sorts of wonderful climbers, who've battered boulder problems up to the lofty world class levels of mid-teen V-Grades. They were all incredibly friendly, considering I was under-the-influence and most-likely asking annoying questions (I'm a journalist... asking questions is my job.) And I had a blast talking to them. If any of you read this and remember me... thanks for being patient :-).
And then I've also had two sessions at the Works. I'm definitely doing something right because I'm feeling stronger all the time. Managing to flash grades that once required more than the single effort they've now been necessitating. And sending harder problems in just a few tries (I don't tend to "work" things indoors... except maybe the odd problem here or there... what's the point? It'll be gone in 6 weeks anyway). I'd say the Works is about the most spot-on for getting bouldering grades right. More so than anywhere else I've climbed indoors. I think this comes down to a few factors: one, the head route setter also being an international setter for the World Cups, and two, heroically strong climbers work there and give their feedback. It all works pretty well at the Works.
Now, enough of an advert. The point of this was to highlight that even though the weather has been truly abysmal, you can still have a quality climbing weekend without touching real rock. Find the right people, the right place and just get on with it.