Thirty Three

I struggled to wind down work into December so it looked like I’d missed my window for good conditions for North Wales bouldering. With my birthday approaching I decided a push was as good as a shove so got the van packed up and headed south through the snow.

Keith was nice enough on the Wednesday to come out despite the bad conditions for routes. We had a go at Simon Says F8a but it was too cold to link any more that a few moves. I ended up later eating birthday cake in Costas reading my new Bio on Steve Jobs so in all not a bad way to spend your birthday.

I got stuck into projects over the next week but felt broken in the cave. Still given enough visits I started to regain my cave strength. In the Pass I was back on Diesel Power 8a, that I’d tried for a couple of days in 2009 and got close. I was back but got shutdown unable to do one of the moves. I came back though and cracked the move I was stuck on. It still felt too hard for this trip.

Down to my last few days I too a shot in the dark and headed to the Pass again for a final try before heading back. The weather was rubbish and I got rained off just as I started to dry the dripping wet exit lip. Since I was there I though I decided to go with it for the afternoon. You never know… I spent a couple of hours working the moves again. The lip was still soaking but in my head I though – just in case… Using my dirty laundry from the van and loads of chalk I set about drying it off for 15min and tested it out. I went back to the van for a sit down. 15 min later I was under the lip thinking to myself If I come back in six weeks I can train and do it. I was pissed off at my mentality of always feeding the days efforts into a future event and never focusing on the present. However, it was so unlikely to happen. Then I thought what if I just do it now…

I chalked up the wet holds one more time and got ready. I though I should start the camera but then though whats the point and it was distracting from the current moment. I had stripped off most of my layers by that point. Removed the finger tape and got really psyched! I pulled on slipping on the starting holds slightly and got the crimp badly. This time I adjusted and clamped down good. I got the heel on and pulled through easily. My hand slipped but I pumped it in again and set my feet for the crux… Bang I hit it perfect. In my head I though oh well I hit the mat in a second, but to my surprise I hit the next crux perfect (prev only 1 in 3). I locked through an finished it unsure of what just happened. I had just pissed it? Sketching about on the wet boulder I finally traversed off and let out a war cry – FUCK! Against all odds I’d just done Diesel Power. After taking some video it was off to try Mr Fantastic till dark. Best day since I did Hurley 3 years ago I think.



It’s surprising to dispatch on the first proper try. When struggling to do individual moves in isolation the link seems a dream. But something special seems to happen in that 20 sec from the start. Somewhere in the psyche a channel through the black and white of success or failure appears. Working the grey area in between you just seem to float like watching yourself in the background, movements hardwired, pre-executed almost – a very special place.

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