Monday, 21 September 2009

Road Trip

A moody Stanage

I had a few days off before my viva this week and decided that I needed to get out of London.

I got to the Peak District late Thursday afternoon and went wandering along the top of Stanage. I wasn’t allowed to go climbing since my shoulder joint was still swollen with dye from the MRI.

Then next day I went to check out Mark’s Roof Left Hand at Gardoms. I promptly decided that it was one that required a spotter and multiple mats. Being on my own I had neither. I monkeyed around on it for a bit before deciding that falling out of the tenuous heel-hooks, landing on my back, rolling down the hill and being run over by a speeding lorry didn’t seem like a nice way to spend a day. Definitely need to go back though, ace problem.

Being in an injured / wimpy mood, I decided a traverse was in order. I’m not a huge fan of traverses as they often involve stamina and technique both of which I have none. They’re also, um a bit... girly. However, I quite like the Walnut traverse at Baslow. It has the oddest moves I’ve ever seen. I’m most likely not doing it in the correct sequence, but I end up heel-hooking practically above my head and lunging to the right. How fun. On about my third or fourth try, I got to the penultimate move, went to throw, got a rubbish sloper and fell off. When I stood up, I noticed a huge pocket / jug. Argh. I tried it a few more times, but I was knackered, not to mention the fact that every single move seemed to involve my bad shoulder. Argh.

All and all it was just nice to be out enjoying the fresh air. I don’t often go bouldering on my own. It’s quite a different feeling.

That evening I picked up Peter at Manchester airport and we stayed at the glamorous Holiday Inn Preston and the following morning we were off to Thorn crag.

I have wanted to visit Thorn crag for ages, but never got around to it. Equally, I found it difficult to justify driving all that way for grit. It turned out to be the perfect venue.

Crag Boulders, Thorn Crag

We’re both so out of shape that the walk-in took us about 50 minutes. We had to park what seemed like miles away from the village since all of the places were taken, so that might have added some time to our walk.

Peter on Burnt Heather

As soon as we got to the Crag Boulders it started to rain. Argh. We camped out for a bit and much to our surprise the rain stopped and a breeze quickly dried off some of the boulders. Burnt Heather was on the top of my list and I wanted to save it until I did a few warm-ups, but it was one of the first problems to dry out, so I had a go. I got it on my second attempt. I really need to sort out my foot work. Burnt Heather is now one of my all time favourite problems. It was quite burly for me at least.

Me on Burnt Heather

We then did some fun arête problems before wandering over to the Sea View Boulders where I flashed Jalapeño Arête, another great easy problem.

Me just having flashed Jalapeño Arête

We had a nice peaceful day. Nothing major was ticked, but that was never the objective. Just some chilled out bouldering in a great venue.

The evening was a stark contrast. We wanted to head to the Lakes on Sunday, but every hotel in the North West of England was booked. We eventually found a place to stay in Carlisle however it was noisy and uncomfortable to say the least. We arose feeling fairly sleep deprived at around 11 and headed to Carrock Fell since it was relatively close.

We only spent a few hours there since we had the long drive back to London looming overhead and by now I was severely lacking in skin.

I got to about 2/3 height on Boardman's Arête before deciding that it just wasn’t worth it, not in my wobbly / injured frame of mind at least. Carrock Fell seems to warrant a proper explore sometime.

We left the Lakes around 5ish and six and a half hours later we arrived in London.

On the incredibly long drive home, I came to the conclusion that although climbing most likely caused my shoulder injury; it is worth it, sort of. I found a bit of peace sitting in the sun next to the Walnut boulder, resting my aching limbs. Thorn Crag was equally good for the soul.

As always, I’m struggling with the next move. Tomorrow, I’m supposedly getting a diagnosis on the shoulder injury. I guess I have to wait until then.

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