I seem to be making a habit of this on my last few days at Ceuse - last year revolved around quitting attempts on Carte Blanche due to a bleeding finger. It’s an ethics/considerate thing for me to do so - I don’t particularly want to coat a wall after an injury. I suppose it makes sense too, in any other sport they’d halt for a blood injury so I may as well follow the same attitude.
This year the route was Petit Tom (7c+ - most people seem to be of the opinion that it’s 8a. In comparison to the others I’ve done on Berlin sector, it’s not 7c+). Having watched an Australian friend (previous blog post where I talked about it) spend a couple of weeks trying this, I was inspired enough myself to give it a go, but like on Bourinator, I didn’t particularly play my cards right and jumped back and forth between the two meaning that I wasn’t really learning how to climb either route. Still though, I was inspired for this one (much more so than Bourinator) - there’s something amazing about climbing long, slightly overhanging walls on tiny holds.
My second last day at the crag led to some interesting events. My first attempt went brilliantly, cruising through the first three bolts (the hardest section), all movement perfect and feeling strong. But, looking for a true challenge (and to support my goal of an 8a onsight in the coming year or so), I hadn’t really practiced the upper 20 meters as I didn’t want to have all the moves rehearsed. So, off I went climbed really well, got really pumped, made it all up, grabbed the last small hold looked up to grab a big hold you can rest on, and as I re-adjusted my foot popped off and down I went. Oh well, positive experience and close oh so close. 2nd attempt didn’t go so well that afternoon - I got to the third quickdraw which you have to clip from above (holds below are too marginal) and realized that one of my footholds was about to slip off. Couldn’t re-adjust as I couldn’t see it so decided to make the commitment and try clip the draw. Dropping the rope into the quickdraw, I could feel the foot fall away and I was off. Close call, I would have hit the ground from several meters if I hadn’t made it. And who says sports climbing is safe? ;)
Anyway, I was feeling pretty tired by now and with another day left, I felt happy enough leaving it to the following day to complete the route. Thankfully Naomi was there to persuade me to have a burn on Berlin (7c) which I hadn’t ticked yet (kept trying it after multiple routes in a day and too tired for it). It turned into a bit of a fight, but managed to clip the chains in a rain shower. Nice. In between all this, Naomi was having goes on Diedetic Line, a 7b. She wasn’t feeling overly psyched for it by then but was getting closer, so much closer by the end of the evening......
When I ticked Carte Blanche last year, a blood injury had been o.k as it was on the 2nd last day. I was happy enough stepping off, giving the finger a night to heal a small bit, tape it up and go for it (with success). My last day attempt on Petit Tom didn’t leave that flexibility! As it happened, I got through the first 3 bolts pretty easily. And then looked up to find a gash in the back of a finger, presumably from stuffing my fingers into one of the many narrow finger slots below. Bugger, decision time. I knew that I didn’t really have too many goes in me that day so took the decision to see if I could manage the cut to the chains. Daft, and not particularly considerate of others but I felt I wouldn’t get the route on another attempt. The short story is, I stopped on every hold to press the finger against pants, and cover it in tons of chalk. On every hold to the chains. Success! I’m so chuffed with this one, ticking the route while recovering on every single hold. It’s also a sign that I wasn’t being fully tested to my limit also which has got me thinking about a few things.....that’s for another day though.
As it happened, Naomi wasn’t to have the same success on Diedetic, falling off at the very top on her 1st attempt (the last hard move), and then on subsequent attempts lower down. There was issues with the holds being coated in chalk by the end of the day, but forgetting excuses, she just needs a bit more stamina on steeper rock now. Guess what she’ll be working on for the winter! In all though, she learnt a huge amount from the route (it’s intensity, the mental challenge on a route like this, etc.) so it can only be of benefit to her.
So all in all, a great trip!
Naomi ticked 10+ routes of 6c+ and above, onsighting a 7a+ and 7b in the process. Fantastic going, especially as she only trained this year with the use of a fingerboard and the Archway wall in Dublin. For her, probably the best learning experience was that she still felt a long way off doing Angel Dust, the 7a+ that she couldn't do either last year. It's a real mix of very sustained climbing on small holds up a vertical to slightly overhanging wall. Something that will give her a focus for the coming months!
I ticked 5 7c’s (one onsight, two more that I should have onsighted), a 7c+ and two 8a’s. I’m more than happy with that, I had a lot of other things to deal with this year so can’t complain with that list at all. The two mains routes that I really hoped to get was an attempt of an onsight of Les Collonettes (7c+) and a redpoint of L'ami du tout la monde (8b). One positive from the trip is though that while I always used to look up at the route and think it would be impossible for me, on the last day, as I stood underneath it (just to try and remember some of the moves), I realized that I believed that I could do it. And not only that, I could do it relatively easy. Something to try and remember over the coming weeks as I try to get onto some of the local limestone of the Peak district, and to tide me over the winter!
Hopefully many others of you are happy with your summer ticks? Comments and stories welcome as always!