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Topic - One Memory - One Route - Only One!

Goucho on 15 Feb 2014
Difficult one this.

Lets imagine that under some future totalitarian society, everyone has to have most of their memories erased, but you can keep one climbing memory intact - just one!

So which would it be, which would be that one climbing memory you would want to keep?

For me it would be Great Wall on Cloggy.

Ever since I started climbing, Great Wall was something that inspired me. The Black Cliff, Drummond's brilliant essay in Hard Rock - "elephants bounced past trumpeting" - black and white photo's in old Mountain Magazines, possibly the most beautiful sweep of rock in Britain?

When I finally did it, on a heavily overcast midweek day, after several days of rain, the crag deserted, just one of my closest climbing friends (no longer with us) and the squawking crows and ravens for company, the mist hanging low, heavy and menacing, it was everything I imagined and hoped it would be.

Climbed in one pitch, the rock still seeping that cold wetness in places, the clink of runners on harness echoing eerily, anxious and excited in equal measures. Every move pulling me further in to the history, the folklore, the magnificence of the route.

At the ledge at half height, I took a rest, looked out over the black lake below and across towards the black clouds moving in from the coast.

"Doing well youth" drifted up from below, those dry dulcet tones providing just the reassurance I needed.

The groove, the crack, and the moves right to the ledge, fingers cold, arms tiring, head trying to avoid premature feelings of success, slow studied movement - a shouted laugh from below "don't blow it now kid" drifted up and echoed around the black cliff.

And then, I was there, the top, wet grass, and wet cheeks from a few small tears of joy.

As I bought the dulcet tones from below up, I have to admit, I felt extremely bloody pleased with myself, and that fag, god that fag, tasted so so good, up there at the top of Great Wall, with the crows, the ravens, and the dream at last realised.

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