In which I take a photo every day that I'm 50, and post it here on this blog, with a bit of related blurb.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Day 107 - A Gathering of Wind

empty crag

It's been a long day today, so a fairly succinct précis will have to do.

I had the day off, using up my last day of leave on the last day of the leave year to take a trip up to Windgather with Jezz.   The forecast had been threatening rain for a few days, but so far it had mostly failed to materialise. 

When we got there, we had the entire crag to ourselves - brilliant!

At least, it was brilliant for three or maybe even four minutes, until two transit vans full of students from somewhere or another showed up...

To be fair, though, their leader came straight over to us, asked what we were doing, and said he'd keep everyone out of our way.   We were impressed and appreciative, and replied that we'd go up the far end if they wanted to stay at the near

They didn't bother us all day, which is a first for a group of this type, in my experience - they can completely destroy the peace at a crag!

Anyway we had a great day doing easy trad stuff, literally showing Jezz the ropes.  He's picking it up really quickly, and even led his first climb today!

Here he is girding his loins for his first lead ascent.

loins fully girded

I climbed a couple of VS's, which are near the top of my grade range, and found them quite straightforward...satisfying and encouraging!

I also soloed a few routes, to test my head.  I'm pleased to say that it held up really well.  The only slight pause for thought I had all day was late on, when it had started to rain more heavily.   I was two thirds up a slab, with no ropes, and realised that not only were the footholds very polished, they were also sopping wet.  

It was only a fleeting thought, however, as I realised I simply had to keep climbing upwards, and I made it to the top without drama.   

In any case, I had no adrenaline at any point today.

Here I am climbing a steep, slightly overhanging upper wall, with no ropes:

back on the horse

This was a climb I'd done last year, on ropes, and I'd had a bit of a nightmare on it.   The top section was steep, greasy, scary and exposed, and generally a little bit desperate. 

So obviously, when I was tired at the end of the day and noticed it, I decided to climb it ropeless...

I'm pleased to report that I climbed it much better than last time, and I had no hint of nerves even whilst negotiating the committing top head is really good on solo at the moment...  

Conditions are starting to look favourable for the 50@50!


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