|Audrey having a sleep on me. She was only a few hours old|
A lot has changed in the last couple of months. Well...it’s only one thing that has actually changed, but it’s a big one. I’m a Dad! On the 27th of April at 12:08am Amanda and I met our daughter, Audrey Kate O’Halloran for the first time. It seemed like it wasn’t all that long ago that we were planning her and now we have her. I’m sure now she is out, time will zip by even quicker! It’s already been eight weeks. Where did that go? It has been a lot of fun so far. She’s had a few little adventures; little trips up to the coffee shop, the BBC and even a couple of trips to the cliff. She’s a little cutie and I can’t wait to go on lots of adventures with her and her mum.
|Sleeping like a baby|
Climbing has been great fun lately. Ben and I have been heading down into the Glen, having a play on our projects and a few of the established lines. There are a few routes around that I have always wanted to get done and it has been great to have the time to finally get to them.
Moonshadow was one on my list. Moonshadow is a link up of Levitation, 29, into Search and Destroy, 32. Two classics linked together, creating an uber classic. You get the rad little roof boulder of Levitation, followed by a juggy traverse to the big ledge rest at the base of the business section of Search and Destroy. Reset yourself, then give it what you’ve got. For me, I think this route is 32, a top end 32, but still 32. People have made the point that by adding Levitation to S&D it adds a grade, I don’t think so though. The main difficulty of Levitation is four moves, leading you to an easy traverse followed by a rest where you can get nearly everything back. I made the comment on my 8a.nu that just because you have 32 litres of milk and you pour a bit extra into the jug, doesn’t mean you have 33 litres of milk. You could have 32.6 litres or 32.8 litres. In the end I guess it doesn’t really matter. But I thought I might as well have my say. Just some thoughts.
Meanwhile, Ben has kept his drill bit hot and poked it into the cliff at the Glen, bolting a line running under the uber traverse of Larger than Life. I think it could be the BEST line in the Glen and one of the best in the Mountains. All the moves have been done now and Ben is putting some good links together. Big throws down low, lead into some radical tick tacky moves up higher, all without a sniff of a rest in 15m. I think this one will clock in at 34 or harder!
We had a pals day out in the Ukulore recently. Super fun afternoon revisiting the classics.
|Rowan on Strips and Clippings, V10|
|Rowan on Strips and Clippings, V10|
|Ben on Strips and Clippings, V10|
|Mega Arete proj in all her glory.|
|Ben on an as yet unnamed highball around the V5 mark.|
This angle dwarfs how tall it is!
|Dave bustin' skulls on another project.|
The Underworld is an often forgotten about crag. I’m not sure why though. It is chockers with some of the best rock climbing the mountains have to offer. I think the proudest line there would have to be Hashish, 32; a Zac Vertrees classic roof blaster. Start up Vince Day’s bouldery classic, Mississippi Moonshine, 29, then you truck out through a roof to a good rest before the last crux. The last crux is super! I made a dog's breakfast of it on nearly every attempt though. I have an amazing ability to forget sequences. Even on routes I’ve been on 100 times. If there’s a sequence, I’ll forget it. There’s a little left hand flick you need to do midway through the final crux and if you forget to do it and release your heal toe cam early, then it’s game over! No going back. On nearly every redpoint attempt I found myself in the rather frustrating position of being at the top crux, not being pumped, not having flicked my hand, but having released the heal toe cam and unable to reverse the move. I’d be stuck in the spread eagle position, looking back through the roof at all the climbing I’d done to get to where I was and thinking, ‘well, that was smart.’ Then just drop off and have to start again. Maybe there was a naughty word thrown in there too. Annoying. Finally I learnt my lesson and correctly remembered my sequence, a good lesson to learn, and got through it all. It is one of the best routes getting around and a very satisfying send.
I also sunk a few bits of steel in the cliff down there. Three new routes emerged in total. Two share the same start then split after a few meters and encounter some super steep real-estate. I haven’t had a proper go on them yet but the brief dabble I had on the easier of the two was a slap in the face. HARD! The third starts up an existing 27 and then blasts out 7 meters of new roof territory on scoops and underclings and funky edges. Hopefully this one will be a little easier than the other two.
Lastly there’s Bowl of Milk, 32, hard yes and totally inspiring, contrary to prior reports. Ben bolted this as a fresh-faced youth many many moons ago. Then climbed it as a fresh-faced fella many moons ago. It’s an ultra bouldery 11 move crimp fest busting out a little overhang. Very very fun. The more you bite down and try really really hard the easier it is. This isn’t a poker face route. Everyone can see you grimace your way up it. Ben originally gave it 33, but we now think it’s just a good ol’ fashioned 32. Ben belayed me on it and we chatted and we both agreed that maybe it isn’t as hard as what 33s look like. As it goes, it was the second ascent, eight years after Ben. On the send, my Alzheimer’s kicked in again and I forgot to clip mid crux. Falling above the crux, a very real possibility, without it clipped is not a fall you want to take. It would be a long walk out with two broken legs and maybe a bit of poop in your pants. I went back one move, made the clip and hoped I had enough wind left in my sail to get up the last few moves. As it turned out it was totally sweet as and I clipped the anchor. Happy! We made a little video of the send. Filmed on my phone, balanced on my chesty bonds, up against a shoe. Not the best, but it’s fun recording these things. Unfortunately embedding the video isn't working too well so click on the link and it'll take you there! Video here
Now Amanda, Audrey and I are all sick. We’ve been stuck at home feeling totally yuck for three days. The bug has gone through Blackheath slaying all in its path. Motivation for fun stuff is still high, however the handbrake needs to stay engaged for now. Plans are brewing away though and there’s lots of fun stuff to come!