Friday, 22 October 2010

Autumn Colours

You forget just how hard digging over a patch of ground is! Under orders from Cath, getting the final vegetable patch dug over took quite a bit of work - just need a few frosts now to break things up - I was unable to do it last year because of a little accident on Stanage. Then it was on to cleaning out one of the borders, it seemed as if half the border was weeds and brambles!

Sunday and half the team were looking at going to the Peak again but given the driving to climbing ratio from last week I wasn't keen so Simon and I headed in to the Dales for something a bit more local. Contrary to the forecast, things were getting cloudy plus it was quite windy. The initial intent was to get some trad limestone done but the time spent standing around belaying in the cold wind wouldn't have been pleasant so we ended up at Robin Proctor's Scar. The parking area was nearly full so it looked as if the crag would be busy. And so it proved.

A large number of those at the crag were the Leeds Mafia who have been responsible for most of the (retro) bolting of the Yorkshire crags. A good natured banter session was assured!

A couple of warm up routes proved anything but - it was positively Baltic in the wind blowing across the crag - and by the third route, the admittedly excellent Wheels on Fire, we were only just getting going. One reason for going back to RPS was that I'd a couple of routes that I needed to redpoint so I now looked towards "The Marshall Plan" which is borderline F6b+/F6c on which I'd had to take a couple of rests earlier in the year. First I thought of avoiding it due to the cold but then decided to give it a go.

Setting off I had to wait a few minutes while someone on Yellow Edge got out of the way. Immediately you are on the crux, I only managed to get one finger in the target flake - it would have to do - bolt clipped I carried on and realised that I'd forgotten that it wasn't a one move wonder style of route. Getting to the ledge at two thirds height is quite sustained. At the next bolt I wasn't correctly in balance to make the clip and began debating whether to grab it or not but resisted and got to the ledge with increasingly cold fingers. Five minutes on the ledge trying to get warm then it was time for the finishing moves which aren't as bad as they seem. Belay reached it was time to lower, with a quick play on the crux wall of Forever Young, definitely pleased with my hardest clean lead of the year and on such a cold day.

After a couple more routes, we'd had enough of the cold, we could hardly keep warm so headed to the pub. I don't think the other teams stayed much longer, it was becoming just too unpleasant.

A lot of biking to and from work this week, a bit windy on the way home but not as bad as it has been. Definitely cold in the mornings, I had to wear my winter gloves for the first time this year on Wednesday and still had cold hands when I got to work. Somewhat bizarrely I noticed a large bruise on the back of my left thigh the other night - a bit awkward to spot really - now the only incident that has happened to that leg in recent times is the hamstring strain from the other Sunday on Froggatt. I'd noticed some slight discomfort when sitting down but had assumed that it was the strain itself as it was somewhat lower down the leg than the initial pull. It looks as if I've been set on with a baseball bat!

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