Saturday, 24 March 2012

For a Few Beagles More

Yesterday I got on a boulder problem called "For a Few Beagles More" at Baslow, on the huge and imposing Eagle Stone. I had wanted to climb on this block for a while, having perused its problems in the book and discovered that it had multiple highly-rated seventh grade problems. I want to climb them all, but I really wanted to do "For a Few Beagles More".

I squeezed out of work early, at around 2pm, and shot straight out to Baslow by myself. I had heard the block was tall so I was a little apprehensive about climbing on it sans spotter. Still, I thought I could give it a bash. After I arrived at the Eagle Stone, I had a wander around it, book in hand, placing all the problems and seeing what looked do-able. To my great surprise, the problems all looked do-able. Nothing seemed out of reach, which was a nice boost. I dropped the mat and began hanging off a few holds to warm my forearms up. I stretch a little in the sunshine, feeling like a dog enjoying a relaxing afternoon in the garden, and then started throwing some moves on a few of the problems. I wasn't really trying to send anything, as I was trying to warm up on a 7A+, which turned out to be much burlier than I had expected. But a few pull ups on some crimps, a few throws between slopers, and I was ready for the main meal.

I walked around to "A Few..." and threw the mat underneath. The shoes were pulled on, a little clean of the edges, a quick windmill of the arms, and I jumped on the problem. It begins with a nice big sloping sidepull and huge footholds. You immediately cross threw to a small but positive crimp - again the footholds are gigantic, so there isn't really any strain here, you're just setting up. A slight reshuffle and you reach the right arm through to a nice sidepull. Spread your weight and, being 6ft 1" I could reach right through to a good rail, about 5ft above the last hand placement. Now you bring your feet up onto some big sloping footholds, squeeze your core and bring your left through to match the rail. Bump the feet up again and reach with the right to a bad sloper. Your legs are way underneath you at this point, so all the strain is being taken on the left arm. Pull really hard and bump up the right hand again to the top, and a better sloper. Now you have to bring your left hand up and as I did this I shot off the problem and came crashing to the ground.

To get this far took about six attempts. But on this try, I missed the mat and hit the ground feet first. A quick shooting pain through my ankle quickly turned into a numb twinge, so I decided to leave that there. Next time, I need a spotter. I have decided the Eagle Stone always requires a spotter and two mats. But I know this problem will go next time. It didn't feel took tricky. I just need to match the top and pull over.

After this little foray, I decided to head back to the car. I had forgotten to bring water with me. It was a warm day and I was struggling without a thirst quencher. So I went for a quick, extra hour-and-a-bit at the indoor wall and called it a day. Now I'm off to Stanage for a few hours. I love climbing.