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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Last Drink

Reality has bitten in the last week. I'm in the middle of a 16 day in a row work stint so climbing has taken a back foot. It's not too bad as the job isn't tiring and i'm only 45 minutes from home but the early starts get to you eventually. I've been getting out a bit since that surprising day on the box with Smitton and Dylan. After that day i started to wonder about the link into Last Orders. It seemed like it might be feasible as long as that day wasn't a one off fluke. It would give Drink Driving a great finish and would undoubtedly be a better problem with more tricky climbing tagged onto the end (without a rest) as opposed to a nothing piss finish. The crux of Last Orders is a long stretch and we all know big moves are hard when you're tired so i knew it would be a bastard on the link. I returned again but failed to do as well. Drink Driving is essentially all about two moves. It's 10 sustained crimpy moves to get there and then the difficulty lies in reversing the crux moves of Millenium Drive when you're tired. I used to be so low percentage on them both when i was first seiging the problem. In my recent sessions i had been quite consistent on the first move - an accurate span to the MD pinch. After a couple more duff sessions i hit the pinch again this week. This time i squeezed it so hard and with every ounce of effort that i could muster i shook my way into the good undercut that marks the end of the hard climbing. However it is still steep and you can't really rest. When i did Drink Driving for the first time i shook my way across this finishing section and was so close to falling. Where Drink Driving drops down to Font 5 territory you grab a undercut with your left and launch straight into Last Orders. This was new territory for me and i knew i needed to fight. Almost dropping every move i got to the big crux on Last Orders but my arm melted on the pinch and that was it. I fell but was chuffed to bits, it was definitely possible. I returned again with Mr Panton but it started raining so things weren't ideal and i only had one go (on a seperate note go do Where's My Hippo - best 7a on Orme?). I knew if i could do Drink Driving every go the link wouldn't take long. This was unrealistic however as although i was a lot better on it, it was still hard! The main thing that was i knew i needed to try as hard as i could when i was crossing under to the pinch.
Today i left work a bit earlier and planned to go down LPT with Pete Harrison. I got a txt when i was sitting at the Cave saying he had some car issues so i resorted to plan B - the box! I didn't really want to be there and wasn't feeling psyched but knew i needed to keep ticking over. I warmed up and messed about, not really taking things seriously. Interestingly i worked another sequence for the start of Drink Driving. It seemed strange to be playing around with it after so many years but the new way involved less crimping and more powerful, bigger holds. Maybe it could give me the edge. I only had 2 pads so i stuck them both under Last Orders as the landing isn't so great. I sat on my jumper (i really hate starting a boulder problem without a pad, it feels uncivilised) and set off wizzing along to the business section. I felt good and hit the pinch, when you get it you need to move fast before the left hand powers out. Like the last time i did the move it was all out getting the undercut but once i had something felt different from the last attempt. I felt stronger and more composed and even managed a few shakes of each arm. I couldn't believe it, i knew i had a chance. As i started up Last Orders the surpise grew as i still had some strength and i realised it was on. I got to the crux and sucked in and stretched and grabbed the good hold. I matched the finishing crimps above and stepped off onto the box screaming. It felt amazing! I knew this new link was a great improvement and one of the hardest things i've done. It could well be harder than Jack the Drunk. Jack the Drunk has a hard start but you're fresh. For this link you need to climb Drink Driving with a bit in the tank and this gave me more satisfaction than anything. Through all the dismay that this year has brought, the abysmal weather and wet crags, the frustration trying one route and the lack of ticks i have managed to keep myself from getting too pissed off. And that is because i know i have improved at this game. I climb better and my base level is so much better. These days i seem to be able to maintain a much higher level rather than the odd flash in the pan of times gone by.
There is one more link to do on the box and i can't help but wonder if it's a goer. The link into Last Rites would be significantly harder again but it's a great challenge and i'll never tire of going to the box. The new link is called Last Drink, i was saving this name for DD/Last Rites but Pete R suggested 'One for the Road' for that and i think it fits. Back to work for me, hopefully i won't have to wait as long for another such moment.


Huffy said...

Nice one Chris, impressive stuff. All that dedication pays off in the end! Catch up soon.

Doylo said...

Cheers Huffdoggggg