Forty-one is prime in so many ways! It is regularly prime, it is the 12th supersingular prime, a Sophie Germain prime and a Newman-Shanks-Williams prime. That is PRIME!

Lying isn’t a good thing. Making bold statements about the future is a dangerous game that you should only play when you can accept the risks, which so often means accepting failure. Today, failure is something that I know nothing of. The only taste I have in my mouth is success (and Bolognese, Parmigiano, olive oil) because I managed to pinch my way up the (arguably) best line in the forest.

I was supposed to be doing uni work today, but it’s Sara’s last full day in font so I wanted to go out with her so she could climb. The first thing I saw this morning was a blue sky and I felt a cool wind blowing my face as I lay in bed. I did not want to be resting, but really felt like I needed it. We spent the morning doing small jobs that needed taking care of and in the afternoon Sara and I headed down to Buthiers. The weather had steadily declined as the day wore, but it was remaining dry. Sara warmed up, and was soon into the groove of things. She despatched a 6a slab without even thinking about it and moved on to a highball black 5+. Unfortunately a long move and weeping skin stopped play, but I’m sure she’ll do it next time.

By 4:30pm Sara was finished, the weather was getting worse, but I was getting more psyched. I was feeling very shaky though, like I was down on calories or something. I felt like I had no energy and had been cold all day, despite it being 10C. The solution? A quick trip to buy some pastries and get some sweet sugar inside me. A pain aux raisin and some chocolate thing later I was on top of the world and was warming up. After a number of red/black problems I was feeling good but then it started spitting. I looked to the sky and just pleaded “please, give me 1 hour, it’s all I need”. It was obviously coincidence when the rain stopped, but I didn’t wait any longer and rushed over to Partage. I gave it a quick brush, set up the camera, and had a go. First try was good, I felt much better on the second right hand hold. Feeling good on that means you can look at your feet more easily, which means more accurate placements, which ultimately means progress and eventually success. Another go or two and I could really feel that my skin wasn’t great, but I knew I had some good goes left in me. Next go I got up to the slopey right hand hold with a hole in it. I fell stabbing my hand into the hole/crimp thing which only meant one thing… I could do this problem. All doubt was erased from my mind and I let myself accept the inevitable conclusion. Only one more go was needed and I was stood on top. I’ve not been shouting at the top of boulders recently, only quietly acknowledging success. However, once I had the jug at the top I screamed. I screamed not because I had simply found success, or because it’s 8A+, or because it’s famous. I screamed because I had climbed something totally outstanding. Perhaps this is the first thing I have climbed which I genuinely think is incredible. The movement is practically perfect (slightly harder and it would be perfect) with the most sublime combination of power, technique, and control. I think I’ve dreamed about doing Partage for many, many years, long before I had the ability to do it. Today was the realisation of that dream and I’m pretty happy about it.

Addiction is a dangerous thing. Climbing can easily be an addiction, where the highs are success and the lows are failures. As I said yesterday though, the line is so badly delineated that it’s often confusing. Perhaps it’s because in climbing there is only one judge, and that is yourself. Since I was 15 I had a piece of paper on my wall that said “I’m the athlete. I’m the competition. I’m the distinguished panel of judges”. I think that sums up so much about me, my game, my life, and my climbing. The names and numbers are one thing, but the personal judgements are the real yardstick. I’m just hoping that I can continue to climb well, meet good conditions, and complete some more of my projects.

Bonne Grimpe.