Finally, the weather is taking a turn for the better.
Last week was, possibly, one of the best climbing weeks of my life in the Peak District. I got out every day, even when it was warm, muggy and greasy as Fonzie's slick back do. But I still managed to send loads of good problems - the highlight being Marks Roof at Gardoms. I had climbed Marks Roof Original, a slightly easier variation, the week before, so to go back to get the harder line was a great feeling.
Another highlight - quite unusually, but I'll come to that in a second - was sending a miserable looking line at Burbage Bridge called Mermaid. It's quite a short problem, with a low down sit start, and there's a block at your back which makes things awkward. It really doesn't look too appealing. But I had sent another boulder called The Nose, at Burbage West, about 20 minutes beforehand and was getting midged to death, so had to make a quick retreat. The Bridge was the nearest and windiest (to keep the little blighters at bay) area, and Mermaid was one of those lines that I had tried before but always struggled with every move.
Anyway, after about 40 minutes working it out, the send go felt easy and smooth. The moves just required a little muscle memory and the correct body positions and all of a sudden it was unlocked and climbed without too much effort. Having done it, I can see why it gets a star in the book (I think it gets one anyway, I'm going from memory) because despite it looking a bit crap, the moves are brilliant. Hence why it was an unusual highlight.
And then two days ago, I went out to Stanage Plantation to have a little play on Captain Hook. Having been climbing for over a decade and having paid dozens if not hundreds of trips to the Plantation, I had looked at Captain Hook on numerous occasions and it had always looked far beyond my capability. But the other day, I worked all the moves, and then had two really good burns, falling on the very last move on my last go of the session. I only needed 15 minutes rest and it would have dropped, but the rain swooped in, heavy and hard, drops the size of golf balls. Ten minutes of downpour and the sun came out again, but everything was drenched, the sun was slowly declining beyond the horizon and it was cold - I didn't see anything drying. I was horrendously annoyed that I didn't get to finish the boulder.
Anyway, I'm going back this afternoon to sort out this unfinished business. It shouldn't take long. The moves didn't feel hard the other day - they just took some working out. Now I have the beta (it's all I've been able to think about for the two days I've had to wait for it to be dry again) so I'm hoping a handful of tries and I'll be stood atop victorious. Then onto other things... maybe Zippy's Traverse next. Another I've looked at, tried sheepishly but never given it much effort. The way I'm climbing at the moment, it should definitely be possible. Here's to progression!
Captain Hook = ticked! It only took one try this evening. It felt pretty straight forward, despite the rock being a little damp. The temperatures were there though, the moves were firmly lodged in my noggin, so it just took a good warm, a deep inhale of breath, a pull on in confidence and before I knew it I was on the top. C'mon! Good feeling.