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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Pump up The Jam

Pete Robins has cleaned up another old project- this time down Pigeon's Cave. The 'S Crack' project is located on the right hand side of the crag and is essentially a 3 bolt boulder route. Think right hand side of Raven Tor but amazing. We don't know who bolted it originally but Kristian Clemmow had a few goes in the late 90s and i pulled a good hold off it about 8 years ago. The route involves a hard (font 7c+) move to gain the base of the prominent curving crack then some burly manoeuvres up the crack lead to a big slap the gain the lip and a few more tenuous but slightly easier moves to top out. We started our Pigeons campaign in mid May. Pete sorted out the moves and was quickly on redpoint. He was soon nailing the hard crux, a slap of a small slopey crimp and a trademark Robins magic heel. The following font 7b+ sequence to the top proved to be tricksome on the redpoint but he managed to get the lip only to be spat off bringing his left hand out the crack with incredibly tenuous footholds. He persevered but struggled with this move time and again. After a backwards session or two Pete made the breakthrough two days ago and managed to get both hands above the lip. To his dismay and disgust he fell off pretty much the last move just before the jugs arrived. It looked like today would be the day and after more frustration he finally topped out. The route is called Pump up the Jam and he's given it 8c as it took a fair bit of effort. It is pretty much as good as it gets for such a short route. The sequence is really good and the crack gives it a nice feature. I got it on camera and hopefully will be able to wrap up my little film soon!

Video still:

I was hoping to make it a super Sunday by finishing off my project but what i felt was going to be relatively straightforward is rapidly turning into an epic. On a good day i tickle the hold before the top but those days are becoming few and fair between for some reason. The starts often greasy and it does get wet so i don't really feel like i can relax too much.

We then headed off to a often wet but seriously impressive George Smith E5 by Crinkle Crags called Primeval. It was a bit damp in places and the tide was on its way out so not ideal for DWS. Pete's a bold twat however and didn't let that stop him. When in condition and at high tide it's one of the best Deep Water Solo's in the UK.

Some recent footage of Caff at Pigeons:

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Mental Warfare - The Redpoint Game

Last night i asked myself a simple question. Which of these is the most fun:

a) Crusing up a big cliff with the sun on your back in a beautiful place. Stopping on a ledge every now and again taking your boots off bringing up your mate. Gaining a glorious summit high off the ground and finishing off with a couple of pints and a big fat dinner.


b) Spending multiple days on the same route, constantly tiring your skin and muscles whilst battling factors that are out of your control. Suffering stress, despondency and mental anguish all in the hope that one day the torment will come to an end and you'll be free to go and do the same thing again on a route 6 metres to the left/right.

Sounds like a no brainer on paper doesn't it. Then why oh why do so many of us put ourselves through the mental torture of trying routes that are so hard for us? Redpointing can be fun but i'm sure for the majority the fun days are vastly outweighed by the stressful, torturous days. And when it goes to 10 days+ you're on a one way street to a mental breakdown. I definitely struggled with the mental aspects of redpointing early on in my redpoint career. I remember being on the Catwalk at Malham in 2003, i was just about to have a redpoint of Raindogs and the self doubt in my mind was overwhelming. I was literally telling myself i was going to fall off. Ten years on i guess i'm a seasoned redpointer and have become quite resilient mentally. However it still only takes one bad day or even one go when you grease off and you can literally feel the doubt creeping in. It's so so hard to keep the perfect frame of mind. You need to be relaxed but also aggressive at the right times. You have to know within yourself that the end will come (this part is obviously easier the more you've done). Pete Robins (no stranger to the seige) says: "you've just got to keep going, through all the shit days where everything's wrong just keep trying. So when that good day comes you're ready to finish it". I'd love to know Mark Leach's state of mind after 45 days on Cry Freedom. He must have thought the end would never come. I guess the answer to my question is who wants an easy life? If we did we'd all be single and working in McDonalds. Most obsessives want to see what they're capable of and is there a better feeling than sticking a big number on your scorecard? Of course not. The epic ticks are ultimately more memorable, more rewarding. I can't remember much about The Cad or Lord of the Flies but i can still remember how i felt when i clipped the lower off on Melanchollie. It's a long hard slog with little rewards along the way but it's pure motivation and obsession. And that's what many of us need to get us going.

Neil Dyer after cliiping the lower off on his epic seige FA, Megalopa, LPT.