44 is the smallest number which is the sum of a reversible pair of non-palindromic primes, 13 + 31.

I kind of felt like I needed a bit of a rest so I had 2 days off, but Friday I ended up doing 30min on the board to loosen up. I just don’t want to rest at the moment because I’m too psyched to be trying great blocs. The conditions looked really good for today, with chances of snow in the afternoon, prompting me to head out in the morning to Rempart. It’s a great crag, as I’m always banging on about, and there is enough there to keep me entertained, challenged, perplexed, and fulfilled for a good while.

Today’s challenge was Gourmandise, 8A+/B. I tried it last year with Danny Cattell, aka Longshlong, but we were having issues with the move to the lip. What a difference a year makes. Today I did that crux move 4th go. It actually felt easy, just a matter of timing, and of flowing through the move correctly. It’s a long move whereby you have to reach out from an undercut but as you are reaching out you also reach over yourself to the lip. The photos don’t do it justice, but give some idea of the movement. Once I’d done this move I knew I could climb the problem. I climbed it from the lip to the end (missing the first 2 moves) and then started trying from the undercuts. There are two different starting points, which is why there is a slash grade. The lower start adds two hand movements and you get 8B, which is what I’m planning to do next time. Today I was trying to do the 8A+ version mainly because I realized I could do it, so wanted to get it done fast. I did have one go from the lower start and climbed into the 8A+ start without too much difficulty. The lower starting moves simply cause you to have less chalk on your tips for the crux, and mean you can’t adjust the holds as well as you like when you get there. I have to say that it was feeling easy today, perhaps because of conditions, perhaps because I was light, but mainly because I think I’m going well at the moment, physically and mentally. I think that I’ve fallen into the magic of font (as Marc Le Menestrel goes on about) and as a result I’m climbing much better. I’ve got a good feeling on the rock at the moment, both in the hands and the feet. I was getting so close but at the same time my skin was getting thinner and thinner. I reached a point where I should have stopped, but I was so close that getting it done would make up for the loss of skin. Unfortunately, after many goes getting closer and closer, I eventually fell one move from the end. No tick and no skin! EEK! I was pretty gutted, but it was because I wasn’t appreciating what I was doing. I was nearly climbing an 8A+, which I should have been psyched about, but I wasn’t. I was sacked because I had failed. Normally, getting so close on something so hard leaves me psyched, but not today. I had to really concentrate and give myself a good talking to in order to take the positive from the situation. Anyway, I’ll definitely do it next time I go up there, which will be next session. I think I will also start trying it from the 8B start because I’m sure that when I’m fresh I’ll find it no more difficult.







I think that in my head I’ve done something very dangerous. I’ve raised my expectations of myself to another level. I’ve gone from being very psyched by doing well on an 8A, to thinking I should be able to do 8A’s without too much hassle, and really I should be pushing much harder. It’s a dangerous thing to do because if you make a mistake you end up just being upset all the time that you are falling short of your expectations. That is where you should assess if your expectations are realistic. On the other hand it is a great motivator. I have been climbing alone a lot since being in font, and even before font. I don’t know why, but I guess I ended up being psyched and not wanting to slow down waiting for others. By raising the hypothetical bar in my head I am once again pushing myself harder, and I think I’m being realistic. I’ve always been my greatest critic, and also my greatest motivator. I have been so lucky to climb with beasts like James, Cattells, Simpson, and seeing them made me want it more. I came to font really hoping to be able to do an 8B before I leave. After today I am 100% sure that I will leave with one, but now that I have that in my head, an 8B is suddenly not enough. I want to climb more 8A+’s, more 8B’s, and perhaps try something harder. I hope this isn’t a case of sprinting before I can crawl, but time will tell. I also came here with a list as long as my arm of things to try, but I am now refining that list in my head. Tomorrow I will refine it on paper.

Aristotle said “He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a God”. Today, whilst walking alone to the crag I was thinking about this quote, and I decided that with all the time I spend alone I have only one choice, to become a beast. Here’s to hoping.