The bacon roll before Chris arrived went down a treat. Jumbled mats tucked into the back of the car awoke Louie, our bodyguard for the day, who let out a loud bark, as if to say; “off to Bowden we goo!” although, “woof!” was probably more accurate. It was crisp and cold.
The journey down on the A1 from Scotland was impressive, which is an impressive comment itself as it's only a road, although entering the County highlighted the stark contrast of the snowy weather Britain has had recently in various places. White fields awash with snow and the main roads sprinkled with gritted gunk. The radio uttered reports of a lack of grit for minor roads, which made the parking all the more entertaining.
Crunching into the boulders with Louie running along ahead almost demonstrated the amount of “psyche” I had to get climbing again. With a personal goal reached a few weeks before, I wondered what this day out might bring. Chris and I both warmed up on some easier problems at the first boulder that was not soaked from runoff by snow, a couple of problems knocked off was a good start so exploring what the rest had to offer was our next choice. The faffing around with shoes, mats, bags and dog eventually came to a hault at a problem named Thundering Apoplexy.
Chris had done this one before, knew all of the beta and had the best way to demonstrate, narrowly missing out on the last hold on his first attempt. This was what he liked to describe as “the Knowledge”. Comfortable with this knowing, trusting Chris as usual from many a power spot, I embarked upon the first and only move. Poised, perching in from a small boulder to set up with a cupful of arête and a dash of smear, a huge lunge and a small swing-slap-crash later I found myself looking up at the wall in disbelief thinking; how could something so improbable and yet achievable be so frustrating?
Chris regailed me with his version of this particular problem his first time around, with repeated incessant attempts until it was sent and the rage that grew within him before hand, seemed to offer insight into the way it was appropriately named. However I was not like that on this day, I had developed a mellow attitude to this dyno. After some ridiculously close attempts I moved on to come back stronger another day.
The drive home was not as entertaining as earlier, now dark, with the burgh laying way ahead in the distance, to say the least it had been a great day. The warmth of the car and then in the flat, the swing-slap-crash arrives, frustrating me after all, slowly building the rage and excitement until I manage to get it, next time.
The list of entries so far is below (closing date for entries is Midnight on Monday 9th March):
Click to read individual articles in this series:
A Grand Day Out is another creative competition and a chance to express yourself and share your adventures.
FULL DETAILS HERE: LYON EQUIPMENT COMPETITION: A Grand Day Out
Dan Varian has more bouldering first ascents of 8A and above than anyone else in Britain. With 123 first ascents of problems from... Read more