I can now hold small holds, but I just can’t yard on them. This is ok however as it has opened up a new set of problems which I can try. As long as there are big footholds, and the moves are small I am ok on crimps again. Luckily Britain is full of problems like this – small holds, small moves. I headed back over to North Wales as I decided it was about time I finished off Diesel Power, an 8a roof in the Llanberis pass.
I have had a couple of session on this over the years, always in warm conditions, and always falling off the last move (not even the hard bit!). This time, after a warm up of walking up and down a bog (and climbing the amazing 8a, Will while we were up there (see photo) I pulled on and did it first go. The small crimp felt ok on my finger as your feet are on a massive ledge at the back of the roof – it is more about body tension than crimp strength. The cold temps made a huge difference allowing me to spend time on the holds rather than rushing the moves. The only issue was the hail/sleet storm that had soaked the top! Despite my best efforts to slip off the huge jugs, I topped it out.
A Bigger Belly is a tiny little squeezed in problem at Rubicon, revolving around 4 minging crozzly crimps. I had spent a bit of time trying it with Dan Varian before he made the first ascent a couple of years ago – very impressive to watch. He gave it 8a+ at the time but its generally considered to be pretty hard – not many people can even pull off the ground, and it had not had a 2nd ascent. This is exactly the style of climbing that I am bad at – snatching between tiny death-crimps, with a dynamic last move to a “jug”. Fortunately I have bendy legs so I was able to use a heel hook that Dan hadn’t – this made the first few moves much easier for me, but it made the last move much harder.
Still one hard move is better than 4! Last summer I had a couple of session falling off the last jump move, and I hadn’t gone back to finish it off since then. Although this problem is one of the most minging things I have ever climbed on I just had to do it!
I had a session a couple of weeks ago and felt much stronger on the tiny holds. I also got a new bit of foot beta which made the last move ever so slightly easier. Still I had another session falling off the last move! I had invested too much skin into this problem. I wasn’t going to leave it. After a couple of rest days I went back on a cold(ish) morning and finally held the swing! Pretty satisfying as it means I never have to try it again! Although it’s the longest I have ever spent on anything (6 or 7 sessions I think) its not the hardest as the climbing totally doesn’t suit me, and each session was always cut short by ruined skin, rather than tired fingers.
The next stage of rehab is a month in the best bouldering area in the world (Font). I reckon the slopers might cure my finger (although my elbows wont be happy!)