Friday, 1 November 2013

Chillin, relaxin and the GRIT is back...

It has been so nice these past two weeks to be able to relax a little, chill with friends and have none of the pressures of redpointing weighing on my mind, as well as indulge in some incredible tasting bread! I absolutely love being in project mode and cannot wait to get back in that vein of thought next season but its great when you can just head to the crag stress free and not have to worry about the weather, conditions, skin and queues etc etc. I've spent my time checking out next years project, this one is significantly harder and definitely a big step up from the Extension, but I've made massive inroads within just two short sessions and it has fully fired me up to get training over the winter.
Take a look at the cool pics below I had sent through from JC of a quick shoot we did on Mecca Extension a few days ago.

©Jon Clark

©Jon Clark

I am also immensely psyched for the grit and while it might not be fully here just yet it is getting there and yesterday saw us kick off the season with a bang. Our good friend Andre was up visiting from London, keen as mustard to get stuck into some sketchy trad! We all headed over to Shining Cliff with Ed and Dave both wanting to get Gecko Blaster done. Sam had already took down this slightly scary solo the previous weekend and I'd first managed it back in February. However there was still the second ascent of the direct start up for grabs... Something Tom Randall had put up last winter which he had given E8 6c.

Andre committing to the final tricky move on his send of Gecko Blaster, E7 6c
©Ed Hamer

Ed went first on Gecko and smoothly climbed to the top, Dave got the flash and then Andre suddenly decided to go for it and also managed to get it done. Top effort from those lads.
After completing spotting duties I pulled on the boots, eager to try the tricky boulder problem that guards the direct start. I had tried it briefly before, and found it to be awkward, not too pleasant and abit of a skin trasher... My fingertips felt good though, toughened from 3 days off and the sharp crimpers felt perfect from the moment of pulling on. Within seconds I found myself on the top wall committing to the final sketchy pull to the good edges and then it was all over.
It is a quality bit of wall, always dry and sheltered from the wind, super solid rock throughout. It is definitely not your average grit route however, and climbs kind of like a sport route would. Think crimps, gastons and powerful undercutting. With something like this it is incredibly hard to commit to a grade. Overall I felt the difficulty of 'My Kai' be somewhere between french 7c/7c+, maybe a tad harder, I don't know. Basically, go try it and see for yourself!
Good skills from Tom making the FA of this old project! You can check out his blog with his own thoughts on the route here.

I've caught the grit bug again in a massive way and cannot wait to see what this winter brings. It is currently hammering it down with rain outside, lets hope those cold and crisp mornings that we all love so much, are not far around the corner... Hope you all have a good weekend!

Tea and cake to finish off a successful day back amongst it on on the grit!

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