A bit of a mixed bag really. The first 2 weeks of October were HOT – up to 27degrees and never really below 15 in the day. Initially it didn’t seem to matter too much – the rocks were dry and there was no sign of rain. However as soon as we started to try hard problems we realized it just wasn’t happening. It was ok for working moves but definitely not good for linking. After 2 weeks of getting very little done it began to cool down (then the petrol crisis got in the way but that’s a different story all together) enough to try hard.
First coolish day I got up early to catch the better conditions. I don’t like mornings and this was a real chore but I got my reward, 10deg temps. I managed to climb a couple of 7c+s (flashing on of them which is a first in font for me) and an 8a before the heat got too much and I scurried home for lunch. It finally felt like the trip had started.
The next cool day I headed straight for elephunk. This is the sit start into a 7b in Marlanval. I had been close in Feburary but then disaster struck and the grim fingerlock tore my pinkie wide open. That was it for that trip. This time I knew the beta so warmed up on the stand start (doing it a couple of times to get the worst of the sand and dirt off) then after a few goes fumbling the top, from the bottom I had it linked. It’s a shame this problem isn’t all its cracked up to be. The rock is pretty sandy (the boulder is often wet so gets very little traffic) and the crux seems to be the end, not the initial, long powerful and funky moves. Anyway, a nice problem in a lovely setting.
Some more Brits arrived and we went to meet them on UBIK. Initially I got shut down. I had nothing on the crux pinch – like holding a bowling ball without the holes. I decided that I should use a heel instead of committing to the strong campus method as I am way too weak for that sort of thing. After a few goes coming close the sun started to set and the temperature fell. The pinch was feeling better and better and after watching Leo casually campusing through I decided it was time to man up. I cut my feet and pulled, just missing the sloper. Next go I made sure I grabbed it perfectly and continued to the top. Strange. I think the problem had 5 ascents that evening from team England (and a Swede). Goes to show what a huge difference conditions make. The problem went from feeling impossible to slightly less impossible, just because of a few degrees.