Jules McKim reflects on coming of age in the summer after school ended, when climbing took him down new paths and up new routes...
'Despite the urge to begin retracing our steps, we enjoyed a pause, a bracketed collection of minutes to gather our thoughts. Our lives were at a turning point, our hands on a switch: we were aware of our position, both here and in life. Any choice made for our next move would close lots of doors. We talked about this sense of being at a node; a meeting point of pathways and potentialities that had both led us here and would lead us away.'
What a great set of memories Jules .... thanks for a superb read.
Barcud has got a bit of an entry in my climbing life ... the top of 'A Head in the Clouds' on a shunt, amazed that anyone would dare to lead these routes. Later, my most serious lead-fall from high on The Woodentops, a poorly-placed cam not holding, and an assisted ascent of Ethos with a dislocation in the left foot and a sprained ankle on the right.
More recently, another lovely session with the shunt, enjoying Sinecure. Beautiful crag, lovely climbing!
Great stories. I know the area well from family holidays, though have only had the chance to climb there once or twice. Was The Great Valerio one of yours? Quite the experience doing the girdle of that face.
Great article...I don't remember that many routes (especially not c. 30 years back), but Beyond the Azimuth is one!
Battersea power station view must have been something else! Remember regularly driving by it at night, all lit up and derelict; quite a sight!
Hi Andy, thanks! Wooden tops, ouch, that sounds nasty. Hope you made a swift recovery, Jules
Hi Jonny, thank you! I also spend lots of time there with family, more holiday than climbing. Such a beautiful place. We missed Great Valerio. I don't think we understood traverses back then!
Thanks Nic! Nice. Your Screw the Roses at Portland was very memorable for me, just did it this year. Faffed around on the crux and took what I thought was going to be a big fall, as the last bolt clipped looked miles away, shrieked "Take!", let go and stayed still as I had one clipped by my feet and couldn't see it. Pathetic!