Monday, 5 May 2008

Stolen Pleasures

Nipped up to Glen Nevis at the end of last week, in between some bad weather and after picking up Dan who had just been ill, suffering from exam-fever. We made a beeline straight for Steall Hut Crag: Dan went for Leopold 8a+ and I got stuck into Stolen 8b. Since this last route was put up last year by McLeod, I had been hearing great things about it especially from Mr Tweedley, who made the 2nd ascent a few weeks ago-fantastic effort and thanks for the beta!

Moving along post-crux on Stolen 8b

Anyway, the route didn't disappoint with surprisingly good holds for an 8b but with some funkily powerful body positions and a real sting in the tail thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, the crux and final section was wet on the first day but by Saturday afternoon the whole route was bone dry and we were joined by Alan Cassidy. Two redpoints efforts and the route was in the bag for me and I have to say this is probably the best grade 8 I have done so far in the UK. However, Alan had to use a different method on the crux due to being a fat fingered freak and was too tired to complete the route that day, so returned to complete Stolen on Sunday before the rain.

Alan clipping before the crux on Stolen

A few years ago, I had an accident; a ground fall from 10 metres in Ardnamurchan which put me out of action for 2 months with a broken ankle. As part of my rehab after this accident, I decided to focus on sport climbing the following year in order to put a reasonable amount of time and distance between my accident and resuming trad climbing. In that year, I learned the benefit of focusing solely on one aspect of climbing as I nudged my redpoint standard up to 8b with Huecool at Gordale. By aiming myself at sport routes that I knew I could not onsight and would therefore have to work on, I learned a whole new set of skills that I hadn't really developed before. From figuring out moves and finding the most efficient position to clip from to remembering the sequences (and in particular, the foot sequences...), I suddenly understood the point of redpointing: the perfect ascent of a level that I had previously thought too hard.

So now, with a great start to the summer, I am looking foward to learning more and getting stuck into more hard sport routes...


alpinedreamer said...

Good effort Niall! Glad you've been able to take advantage of the good weather.

The spider in my shoe has unfortunately not left me with any spider-like tendancies. Or maybe it's just because N Berwick Law was wet this evening....


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