So it would seem that after being plagued through the Autumn and Winter with an atmosphere that was 90% water, the proper Summer has arrived, and its absolutely cleared the slate (no pun intended).
The days have been long, dry and warm – and so every day we’ve been out climbing, jamming, swinging and camming. It’s full on Summer Trad season and time to spend as many hours as possible on rock getting confident, and getting psyched for Yosemite Valley.
Like some sort of climbing equinox, DMM have given us a very generous amount of gear just in time with the good weather. Which means not only did we have the chance to climb and train, but we had the means aswell! Hugely psyched now, it seems like the dice are rolling in our favour in these months leading up to Yosemite.
Spring and early summer started really really well for me, getting out loads with Edmund in the week and once a month going to the Peak or Llanberis for six day sessions, returning ruined and with a satisfying feeling of getting loads done. We had an excellent midge infested trip to Malham, where I had a respectable tally of five 7a’s, two onsight, as well as getting agonizingly close on a 7b. Along with some great days at Millstone, the roaches and regular three star Pembroke routes everything was going great…
That was until I wrote off my car driving home from work about a month ago. I stood in the road, dripping blood from my left hand, rang home and felt like a prize idiot. Apart from some glass in my hand and some painfully bruised ribs I was relatively unscathed.
Trying very hard to take some positives from the crash I told myself, at least wouldn’t have to buy fuel anymore and I’d get fitter from having to ride everywhere.
I decided to end my placement early and I am now spending August working for Henry Castle of Climb Pembroke, running climbing and abseiling sessions on the beach in Tenby.
In a way, its been nice to have a month off. It’s very rare I get so injured that i have to properly take time off, Which pisses off Andy (who gets injured all the time) no end! But spending time researching other trips, reading up on the routes we’re thinking of and trawling through the new ‘Yosemite Big Walls’ guide has got me itching to just get out there and get on it!
..and I’m a lot fitter than when I had a car, as well as getting pretty handy at baking things..
I’ve been in a blind panic for about 3 weeks now.
Ever since Paul, my manager said “5 weeks till you go now!”, I’ve been hurling myself at every route I wanted to try and every crag I wanted to visit this year. But its just not enough time! I haven’t climbed on cloggy, I haven’t fallen off the rainbow, and I’m starting to think I’ll never actually do Spong.
If I’m honest, I don’t think I’ll ever get through even half of my North Wales wishlist – it’s just a by-product of living here! You go out with one route in mind, and you come home with two more.
I’ve managed to squeeze in a fair bit: Shouting in surprise at the top of Cracked Up, shaking with nerves on the onsight of Dinorwic Unconquerable, getting well and truly stuck inside Fear of Infection, getting pumped every 10 seconds on The Strand, unloading my entire rack into Cenotaph Corner, wearing all the clothing I own on Dinas Mot, ripping ancient protection out of Weasels Rip my Flesh, sinking FAR too much time into the Cromlech Roadside boulders, and Parisellas cave, throwing myself headfirst off a whole host of the routes far too hard and scary for a punter to be throwing himself on in the first place!
As the time closes between now and Y-DAY, I’m going to keep plugging away, revelling in the unique heaven of North Wales summer, ticking off and falling off my training routes. But when the day comes, I’ll be mighty sad to lose the magic place!
North Wales… I’ll be back for ye.