Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The wet weather, warm weather dance

There has been precious little to write about regarding the rock climbing life over the past few weeks. A spate of bad weather since the start of Spring hasn't helped much. Training for a little run took precedent for a short while. And then the eventual heat encroached and I'm no good climbing in the heat - my fingers wear through faster than a cheap pair of shoes and my hands perspire like a cold glass of water.

We made a trip up to Northumberland during the weekend before the bank holiday - a four day jaunt to get some climbing in following a previous excursion to the county. This time, however, the fog and mist was so thick you could've walked past Bamburgh castle without seeing it. We nearly did! Water vapour was not only lingering in the air at ground level but also falling from the skies, in a constant stream of fine droplets. It was wet everywhere. Nothing could escape. Despite this, we had a good time sight seeing and relaxing.

Enjoying some comfy stone furniture Bamburgh Castle

On the way home we made a quick stop at Climb Newcastle - so at least we got a little bit of climbing in somewhere - which is well worth a visit if ever you're passing. The legendary Andy Earl owns the place and, now he's making a recovery, he can regularly be heard yelling at youths. He's not the security guard as well as the boss - he coaches there now, it seems.

Other than that, it's just been training, training and a little more training. Lots of pullups, pushups, endurance work, and I'm running still, which is nice. I never thought I'd carry that on after the Sheffield Half but it's proved exceptional at improving my overall fitness (much more so than cycling ever did) and so I've continued to pull on those running shoes and go out for a slog - yesterday's 7-miler being case in point; I felt like I was going to die on one of the hills.

Oh yes, there was a quick trip to Almscliffe over the bank holiday too, but as previously mentioned, I don't operate well in the heat. All goals for the day were thrown out of the window. Myself and a friend climbed The Virgin Traverse, feeling short changed at the 6B it gets in the guide. UKC gives it 6C to a big undercutting flake about half way along the second section, saying "Strenny - feels more like French 7a+ or so", which makes me feel a little better. But better still is that we finished about another three meters further along, in the far right niche. I think we were agreed that 6C+/7A would be more appropriate. Either way, it doesn't really matter, the moves are cool. It would be good to link it into the E3 6A that leads off that flake where The Virgin Traverse is supposed to finish for a more conclusive end (is that even a term?) - if you had the balls to solo it after the pumpy traverse that is. A few other bits in the 6A+ to 6C range were climbed as well, but largely it was a day to enjoy the weather in beautiful surroundings.

And that really is that - the bank holiday was only last weekend after all. Looks like good weather this weekend but the warm will be back. I reckon we'll be plagued with it... summer.