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MIA Practice kicks off

19 May 2008

I've just had a busy few days of practicing for my MIA in North Wales. Alyce, Parisa, Gill and Hannah all joined me and we tackled a few classics.  I must say that Crackstone Rib (severe) in the Llanberis Pass was a highlight- for some reason it had missed my radar before.  My head is a bit fried from rigging up fixed lines up Tennis Shoe on Idwal slabs, making sure belays didn't get too complicated with 3 people, knots slings etc and ensuring I was as organised as possible.  My most challenging part was descending off Milestone Buttress in the rain with Alyce and Parisa, trying to figure out appropriate short roping techniques.

Alyce on her first lead on Little Tryfan

Prior to that I had an excellent coaching day at Stanage with Carol, pictured below on Christmas Crack (HS) at Stanage.  This climb was a real milestone for her.  She emailed me afterwards "It was a real boost to my confidence, both in terms of climbing and generally - it's good to know that you can get back to where you were after kids."

Carol Taylor Christmas Crack

Lovetoclimb in the Peak District

06 May 2008

Kathryn and Louisa

Lovetoclimb held its first course on Saturday!!  What that actually meant in reality is that I met up with Kathryn and Louisa on a tour of the Peak for some gritstone technique.  We mainly spent the day looking at standing properly through the feet and using body positioning on different rock features.  We started off at an empty Stanage plantation and enjoyed some of the classics.  Kathryn and Louisa are already friends.  I don't know if they still are because Louisa failed to mention to Kathryn that on her booking form she had specified wanting to improve her confidence on cracks and off widths.  When Kathryn found herself wedged in a wide crack at Higgar, she wasn't too impressed.  Anyway we finished off the glorious day at Burbage South on the crag edge with two classics pictured above both hard 5+s.

Sunday was a drizzly nothing day but good for sitting around and doing nothing.  On Monday, with Tom and Rachel, we went with to the 'greenhouse' of Millstone.  It was a strange phenomenon of boiling hot sun and damp cracks and in some places completely wet walls still left over from Sunday's warm and wet weather.  Nic and I enjoyed some HVSs whilst Tom went above the pre-agreed relaxing level of HVS to E3.  Here's a picture of Rachel seconding Twikker a hard E3, especially in the heat. 

Rachel on Twikker E3 Millstone

Brad Pit... who'd have thought it

04 May 2008


Brad Pit I’ve heard more than a few climbers say that your best ascents happen just when you’ve given up and the pressure’s off or, on the last day of a holiday when the pressure’s on.  This has always mystified me as I never seem to pull any ascents ‘out of the bag’ – they usually come out of lots of preparation, determination and perseverance.  But this phenomenon finally happened to me on Friday. 

I only turned to Brad Pit (7c+) a couple of weeks ago because my winter project, Jerry’s traverse (same grade - at least it used to be until 'someone' downgraded it), has become a bit too greasy in the warm weather.  I knew that I could do the top as I succeeded quickly when pushed on.  But five trips to Stanage I've spent confidently chucking up my heal, pulling with lots of gusto for no upwards progress – the move is baffling.  So on Thursday when I was at the wall I asked Lucinda if she could give me any tips (she did it earlier this year).  Very kindly she offered to come out with me the next day and Lily came too.

I guess I needed to see someone actually do the move.  Lily pulled straight on first go and fell touching the jug (unbelievably Lily has touched that hold about 10 times but still not done it).  Wow, I was inspired.  Still an hour later I hadn’t yet done the move but I was getting literally a millimetre closer each time and slowly (very slowly) I was beginning to learn ‘the knack’.  I was beginning to expect not to do it again after so many tries but the realisation that it could happen some day was creeping in.  Time ticked on, Lucinda and Lily were chatting, looking at the view… and I did my usual but actually caught the hold.  I surprised myself by keeping it together and moving on to the top.  I’d done it!  A Stanage classic (its miles better than Jerry’s traverse anyway…).  Thank you Lily and Lucinda!