Thursday, 27 March 2014

Keen Roof

So Tuesday marked another BIG step forward in my climbing. It is still taking time to properly sink in as I have been super busy this week with various things and barely had chance to sit down, let alone properly process what happened.

Keen Roof is a boulder problem first done by James Pearson a number of years ago and given the grade 8B/V13. It climbs straight through the roof of the cave down at Raven Tor, and has had a number of repeats of the years. In fact I believe it might be the most repeated 8B in the Peak/UK...

Anyway I had put it at the top of my list of projects for the coming season. I strive to excel at all disciplines of climbing, (bar ice climbing, but maybe in the future...) and while last year I managed to break into the next level with my sport climbing, by doing 8c and then E9 on trad, my bouldering was something I really wanted to try and push further this time around.

Last week I got a message off of Mina seeing if I was keen to head down the Tor, and after hearing how dry the place was I got psyched to get stuck in on the first limestone session of the year. I figured it'd be a good opportunity to give the fingers a good burn and reacquaint myself with the other big goal for this year. It was a freezing cold day, baltic in fact. But all the regulars were there and the place had the usual busy busy atmosphere.
I gave my project a couple of tries and was pleased to find out I could still remember all the intricate sequences and beta. It is going to be hard I'm sure, but if it was too easy then were would the fun be right!
There was a bunch of pads all laid out in cave, with one of the visiting Italians Stefano Ghisolfi, putting in some efforts on the monster problem 'Belly of the Beast'. A line were you virtually start lying in the dirt at the back of the cave before climbing out into Keen Roof. Chris Webb Parsons grabbed the FA of this thing a few months ago and it was cool to see somebody actually trying it.

Around 5 years ago I dabbled on Keen Roof, having no idea what I was doing at the time and knowing that in reality it was something way way beyond what I was currently capable of. Since then I've fondled the holds on occasions but never mustered the psyche to pull on and get involved.
So Saturday I took advantage of all the pads and had a quick 10 minute play with Stu. I decided to try the crux move out to the lip first and totally surprised myself in sticking it and climbing on through to the top. I was in state of slight shock at how straight forward it felt and quickly realised that I might actually be strong enough to pull this off. All I needed to do was link in a handful of starting moves and it'd be in the bag.
My skin was wrecked however and my whole body was a little shattered. But I felt super encouraged and full of excitement at what I'd just managed to do and quickly my thoughts turned to planning what day to return during the week. First though a rest day was needed to grow skin and recuperate!

My rest day was great, and I woke up Tuesday morning feeling much refreshed and rearing to go! Opening the curtains though over breakfast and we were greeted by mist and horrible drizzle and the forecast didn't look like it'd improve much. We figured we'd drive out anyway and take a look. Surprisingly the crag had held up fine, although conditions were not the best. Warming up my fingers felt strong and pretty soon I started to pull onto the different positions along the problem.
My first proper attempt from the start I slapped the lip, just missing the good hold. Second try, a while later, I stuck the lip move but fell coming around to match! It was close, I could sense that this thing was fully on now. The skin on my fingers felt super cold, to the point were I wasn't getting much purchase with the rock. I took 10 minutes to allow the blood to return and recharge myself.
The next try I instantly knew everything felt 100% better, pulling through the roof moves, sticking the lip slap with ease and coming around into the match felt bomber. Throwing the heel up I focused in and fired up to the finishing jug! Job done. It almost seemed a bit of an anti-climax. I hung there for a second or two to enable my brain to try and process what had just happened.
I had just climbed my first V13.

Unfortunately we didn't manage to get the actual send on video but luckily I had something still left in reserve for another round shortly afterward, this time in front of the camera. Here is my quick, and quite poor attempt, at stringing a short edit together. Thanks to my Dad for shooting this!