A Bit of Local Interest

Local Bouldering

The trip to the states is starting to take shape – I am currently en route to get to London to get my US Visa application in. In the mean time though, I have been getting in some of the local bouldering, trying to tick off a few things that have eluded me…

Namely, ‘Amateur Acrobatics’ (f7a+), a fairly newly found but soon to be classic problem on the Moray coast. The problem is undoubtedly brilliant – a classic at any venue. Unfortunately, it is also a total bastard. I have put more goes into ‘AA’ than any other problem I’ve attempted. I think I have had 6 sessions up there and well over 100 goes at it. There are only 9 hand holds, and I have fallen off of every one, including the very top jug which I somehow managed to slip off.

So, with all that in mind, I nipped up for a quick session last week to see how it felt. The coastal rock can be a bit greasy, and truly primo conditions are rare. However I reckon it was about as good as it gets when we got up. Kinda a mixed blessing as good conditions of course means that you have no excuses… However, I knew I had the beta dialled, I was feeling fit, and I had the conditions. I probably should confess that I was somewhat hoping to get it done at the first time of asking… But of course, pride cometh before a very literal fall. And fall I did. Repeatedly! Maybe karma was repaying me for the arrogance of the assumed retroflash.

I’m not really too sure what was going on with this problem. I think I had developed some kind of mental block in actually finishing it. I managed to change up the beta on the top half, only to discover that I could no longer do the bottom. Getting through the bottom moves, only to find that the ‘new beta’ for the top was much the same as the ‘old beta’  Moves that I thought were 100% suddenly became less so and frustration really started to build. With the tide closing in, and the skin starting to get thin, I sat down and pulled on for one more go. Last go best go. Got through the start easily enough, made the crucial move to the sloper and then…. slipped off the slippery bastard.

Defeated again… or so I thought. Of course, we all know that’last go’ is a promise that is made to be broken. On more go, even though I know I can’t do this. Even though I know I’ll fall again. Even though I’ll probably end up injured, or bleeding, or both. One. More. Go.

I couldn’t quite believe it when I wrapped the top jug, and I was again surprised to stick it this time and get myself up and over the top! Delighted, of course, but honestly more relieved than anything to have finally put it to bed.

This problem was a real bastard for me. It’s not a good match for my style, being overhanging and using a lot of compression. However, I really think that it became some kind of a mental block that was holding me back. I spent most of the day climbing like a brick. I only got the problem once I had decided that I was not capable of finishing it. Never mind positive thinking, or ‘beginners mind’. It took me a mix of rage, frustration, and sure knowledge of failure to finally get up and over the top. Make of that what you will!

I am delighted to have finally got the the top of Amateur Acrobatics. This problem would be a standout in any location, a really ‘world class’ problem, and definitely the best that I have done in Scotland thus far. I think I did enjoy the protracted process of working it, although I’m not sure how I would have said that if I hadn’t finished the problem!

An excellent problem, and an excellent day out. Excitement for the USA trip is rapidly building.

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