nr's blog

General waffle 27 January, 2008

Filed under: General,Indoor climbing — nr @ 3:20 pm

Hmmm, seeing as I have a ‘general’ category I guess I’d best write something to put there. This could be put down to destiny, kismet, karma or some other such new-age bollocks. Or it could be in an attempt to actually write something here rather than having another unloved blog festering away on a server somewhere, clogging up someone elses disk space, another momument to the uncommitted.

So, what’s been happening then? Well, I’ve got a lovely new computer (thanks Freecycle), and have just had tea, so there is an awful lot to be cheerful about. And the first signs of spring are appearing in my garden, which is also nice. On the climbing front though, all is not so rosy… Firstly, I’ve done something irritatingly painful to my left elbow. Secondly, due to a recent change in working hours by my wife, it’s been increasingly difficult to actually find any time when I can get out with my usual climbing partner. Option B is just to trot down to Cambridge and get on with some bouldering, but in all honesty, I’d rather contract syphilis. So, in the past three weeks or so, I’ve only managed two outings, which is a little disappointing. However, in the process, I have made my first ventures East to the frozen wastelands of Suffolk and the Stowmarket climbing wall. And it’s actually rather nice. Not too high (about 7 metres at the highest I’d guess) but nice and friendly, with a good selection of routes – some slabby, some overhangy, some with big bulbous knobbly bits, some with little evil crimpy bits and cracks. All in all, a good find for me. Far closer than Hatfield, and far nicer than Cambridge. And cheaper than either of them.

Here’s a question: Why can’t climbing walls standardise on one grading system? (Or, in the case of Cambridge, why can’t they have a grading system, other than “can climb that one” or “can’t climb that one”?) Hatfield uses a UK technical grade, while Stowmarket seems to use Font grades. While I don’t want to get hung up on chasing numbers, it’s bloody irritating for a newcomer to turn up, and not really have a clue what’s what. Still, looking on the bright side, I now know that I can managed a UK grade 4c without too much trouble, or a Font 5+ with a little bit of swearing and a bruised kneecap. Lord only knows what grading system they use at Bear Rock, Warwick, as when I went there a few weeks back I skipped up a 6a without really much of a problem. Or perhaps gravity just isn’t as strong there.

On the ‘things to look forward to’ front, there’s a couple of things coming up – firstly, a trip to Birchen next weekend. My first attempt at trad lead climbing.  So looking at things pragmatically, unless I write something else before then, there’s a chance that this could be the last blog entry, and my last act on this earth will be to make a small crater at the bottom of a bit of gritstone while wondering what went wrong with my cam placement. Secondly, I’m off to Spain in a few weeks for a few days sunshine and climbing in the Montserrat Massif. Which will be tremendous fun, apart from one thing – I am terrified of flying. Gulp.

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