O.k., so this took a little longer than planned. Put it down to needing a holiday and spending some time doing that thing - climbing! A positive sign was also that yesterday, I didn't realize what day it was which we all know is a sign you're really on holiday :)
Anyway, here's the short catch-up for the past couple of months:
- Basically every weekend (i.e. Friday and Sunday evening) was spent either traveling to and from Ireland, or collecting Naomi from the airport. Losing two evenings a week turns out to be quite a lot and leaves you permanently worn out. Two years of it is now over though, boom!
- A brilliant trip to Siurana again at Easter. A couple of days at Monstant and Margalef too. Ticked a lovely 8a (in the rain, spicy), came close on another at Monstant and had a great onsight attempt on a 7c+. Climbed some beautiful 6's and 7's also, always a great crag. Tried a cool 8b, doing all the moves quickly. Unfortunately ran out of time to try it again at the end of the trip. Tried another 8b on the very last day while completely wrecked and proved that on-the-limit climbing is not a good idea when wrecked :)
- Managed a couple of weekends at Kilsney. Climbed the fun 'Comedy' 7c (it's not a classic by any means though.....) and ticked the not-so 'Soft Option' 8a (or is it 8a+? local upgrading may decide - my thoughts are it feels about 8a until you try to put all the moves together).
- Got a couple of evenings at Raven Tor and Chee Dale. Worked moves on Ben's Roof, and had it down to one rest. Almost......
- Tried to do as much as possible climbing wise but struggled for time. As I alluded to in this previous post, I was doing a lot of the indoor climbing at the Works. Yes, it's an amazing wall but for transferring to route climbing, it's not perfect and it's currently showing :)
More recently, I've absolutely loving life. There's nothing like spending all your time in the outdoors to do so - fresh air, sunshine and exercise make Neal a happy camper :) We ended up spending 5 days at Orpierre at the beginning to re-acquaint ourselves with climbing after a couple of weeks off, and also because I needed a holiday. Ceuse is amazing but it's a bit work intensive so the chill-out in 30+ degree heat at Orpierre seemed idea. Managed to get myself up two 7c's and drop a 3rd onsight right at the top. Subsequent attempts all weirdly ended up in failure - the most amusing being me exploding off some holds right at the top in sweltering heat. Naomi also ticked a beautiful 7a she'd tried last year and was causing trouble.
Since then, we've been at the crag of all crags, Ceuse. My 6th time here (or is it 5?) and it's still amazing. The people, the campsite, the campsite owners, the view from the crag, and the climbing all make a perfect situation. It's overly busy this year, but even still it's hard to complain as everyone is so laid back and of a similar mindset.
This year, I'm taking a different focus trying some routes that are harder than I can imagine right now. Some of the challenges are because I'm just not as strong as last year for this type of climbing (stronger shoulders but fingers aren't as strong - the nature of the bouldering I've been doing it seems), and namely as the route of choice is not my style. I tried it last year, the classic "L'ami du tout la monde" 8b - bouldery and really steep, over a relatively short distance. But I'm loving the experience! it's 10 bolts long, and so far it's down to 4 rest points (and close to being done in either 2 or 3). I've no idea if I'll do it this trip but the experience has been great. In comparison to the one I tried in Siurana (long, vertical), this is not exactly my style (which is what you should be working when aiming to go up a level) but I'm just loving the experience on this thing. Insights: I was strong enough finger-wise to do this a couple of years ago, but don't have the power-sustaining levels for it (especially after not working big routes like it recently) - that's brilliant! Anyway, who knows what will happen with it - psyche!!!!!!!!
I'm also the most unfit I've ever been - the hill is actually taking a toll this year on my legs! Must sort that out this winter :)
Side notes, onsighted possibly one of the best routes I've done at Ceuse yesterday - can't believe I've never been on it. "Cent Patates"7b+ is quality, can't recommend it enough!
There's also a decent sized Irish contingent this year here - really impressive to see them all trying hard across all the grades. The scene in Ireland seems really motivated right now so it's great to see :)
On that note, hope everyone is off enjoying their activity of choice - make the most of it!