I thought it was going to be two weeks on the trot. Waking on Tuesday morning, the “man flu” that had been clinging to me like a homesick tick for the last two weeks still hadn’t cleared off. I had cancelled my regular night at the wall last week and was determined that I wasn’t going to miss out twice. An easy day at work and a dose of Ibuprofen and we were off.
Whether it was just the pills or the buzz of anticipation I don’t know but I was feeling a load brighter by the time I was slipping on my Scarpas and warming up. As is our normal routine it was bouldering first, a lot of the routes had been reset since the last visit, nothing looked easy. We eased in with a couple of the simpler problems and
began working on a couple of more complex ones. We then got an audience of six on an introductory session. Dissapointingly though, they weren’t there to watch us, and we were politely asked to vacate the area to allow them access to the beginner’s routes. Moving further along the wall I spotted an overhanging problem that just might be within my level of ability. Green holds from a sitting start, I got out from under the overhang and had to hang and re-chalk. My buddy hollered something along the lines of “nice pose G!” With a little smile on my face I moved up the vertical and had to make a move which was almost a dyno. I made the hold but ended up hanging one armed with my legs dangling. I suddenly felt like Johnny Dawes and calmly swung back onto good contact and completed the problem! That was the first time that I had really felt like I had “flowed” up a climb. It just all felt right and smooth and comfortable. My happy feelings were enhanced ever so slightly when I glanced over my shoulder from the top of the wall to see all six of the “intro couse” watching me. I’m not vain at all, honestly, I’m not 😉 Unfortunately my buddy came a cropper soon after that. Foot slipped off when he was fully commited to a horizontal move and he clobbered a few holds on his passage down the wall. Time for a break to allow him to “walk off” his twisted ankle. After a mooch around the shop it was time to don the harness and see about doing some of those “6’s” that I had promised myself. Knocked a couple of 5’s off with very little difficulty and moved on to a 6a+. Si went up first and I could see that the crux was going to be a bit awkward. I failed on the first attempt and had to lower off and have another look from the ground. Shake out and a restart saw me rapidly up to the crux, I was starting to feel a bit of forearm pump so knew I had to move quickly. Spurred on by my earlier glory on the bouldering wall it all seemd to just click into place and before I knew it I was hanging from the “thank god hold” at the top of the route. I was absoultely buzzing, I had previously done a 6a so to add that little “+” to my grade was just brilliant!
I would have happily headed for home at that but we decided to have a crack at one more route. It was a 5b in a corner, with a little overhang formong the crux. I had just about nailed it on the fourth attempt but all my efforts were scuppered by a sudden cramp in my hip at a very awkward point. Ouch!
So that was it, where Lemsip, Beechams, Anadin and all of their friends had failed, a good session climbing in and old and very cold church, turned out to be the best remedy for man flu!
Top night, loved it!