After yesterday’s early start to get James to the crag and back before 11am I was feeling super tired this morning. Tiredness was pressing me into the mattress but psyche was picking me up. Luckily, I think, psyche won out and I arose at 8am with the intent of going to Cuisinier to try Karma. Once we got there it was clear things were not as rosy as I’d hoped. It was certainly cold, but there was some mist in the air and normally that means an end to everything. The rock is just too porous and any moisture in the air translates to black holds which are very difficult to grip.

I began the warm up, trying various problems and was surprised to find that I couldn’t do a particular 7B. I was doing the moves all right (as I’d hope), but as soon as I did more than 2 moves I would grease off straight away. I was a bit pissed because I’d gotten out of bed with the desire for crushing and it was looking unlikely. But, the ability to constantly evolve, adapt, and continue is what separates the great from the mediocre. As I once read in an ancient philosophy text written in ancient Sanskrit (but translated here for you folks) “he who shoots the AK into the crowd-sure, he gets glory, but he doesn’t know who he slayed, and so he is unfulfilled. True glory is to cut a man at close range, in combat, with a blade”. That sums up what I mean and that is what I did.

Some of the Flems were down from Belgium, so I was enticed into trying something with them. It is an easy looking, slightly overhanging wall, which looked like it would be an easyish flash. Am I getting too big for my boots? It’s name is Rencard and it is graded 7C. You can see a video of how easy it should be on bleau.info. I got stuck in, soon realising I was getting nowhere. It’s only 2 moves the way I did it (man moves) but I was failing miserably. After more power sapping goes it blessed me with some new beta. It was simply a matter of putting your fingers in the exact (to within 3mm) place. Once I found that I was doing the first move most goes. Then I had the second move to do, which also required a bit of unlocking. I soon found a way, and within a few more goes I latched the top. I did it in a very different style than the video on bleau, and it felt quite hard, but the moves were great. By this point conditions had improves as the sun had burned off most of the mist/fog but I was feeling jaded. Rencard required a strange form of narrow compression and afterwards I could feel it in the tops of my shoulders. I’ll definitely be doing those rotator cuff stretches tonight. Unfortunately I was out of time at Cuisinier as I had to meet Kevin at Puiselet for another session on Welcome to Jamrock. I said goodbye to Karma and hit the road!

I got down to Puiselet to find everything brushed, ticked, and ready to be climbed (perfect timing I’d say). I wasn’t feeling too strong but I really wanted to try Jamrock again so I got locked and loaded to have some burns. I found some new beta for the left leg which probably looked totally ridiculous because my legs were dropped, bent, and positioned in a ridiculous way, but it worked (pics next time!). I was managing to get to within 2-3cm of the next hold, which might not sound very impressive but my short arms were getting as close as the pterodactyl wingspan of Lopata. Unfortunately I couldn’t muster up that last 2cm but progress is progress. As Kevin said “8B in the forest is not just 1 or 2 days of tries!”, and he’s right (for me anyway!). I didn’t have too many goes before having to give up but I left feeling like it was possible to do the first easy move. God knows what will happen when I can actually do that move… I suppose I’ll have to deal with the crux move, MAMMA MIA!

Sorry for the lack of multimedia, but my video camera battery died and Neil didn’t bring the DSLR. Another day climbing tomorrow and then off to Belgium for 2 days.