59 is the 17th smallest prime number. The next is sixty-one, with which it comprises a twin prime. 59 is an irregular prime, a safe prime and the 14th supersingular prime. It is an Eisenstein prime as well as a Pillai prime.

The last few days have been spent sorting out video editing issues, but in every idle moment all I’ve thought about is why I hadn’t yet got to the top of Gourmandise. Each night I’ve fallen asleep thinking about what is actually standing in my way. I’ve thought about sequences, body positions, foot movements, and I have been left answer less. There is no explanation as to why I haven’t crushed that bloc into oblivion. Although it hasn’t exactly been a siege, it has involved siege tactics. Due to my horrific skin I’ve been climbing day on, 4 off. It’s a bad situation, and over the past 2 weeks I think I’ve only climbed 4 times. The previous session on day 52 really messed up the nail on my left index finger and it continues to hurt now. But I’ve also seen the positive to it all. Without realising, my failure has been preparing me for my next project(s). Undercuts, body tension, and power are all things that I could do with in large amounts to have any chance of future success.

Last night I was missing climbing a lot. I feel bad if I don’t climb for 2 days, let alone 3, 4, or 5 days. I guess climbing has become such a core part of my being that I feel like it’s something I really need to do. I’d had 4 days off, and my nail was still hurting, but Dave Graham had come round so after a brief chat with him I felt inspired. When I speak with someone who has achieved so much I ask myself a series of questions. The main thing I take away is inspiration to continue on the path to improvement, that never ending path that has no ultimate goal, but only n+1 steps. Armed with inspiration I took to the woody for a small warm up session to check what state I was in and how bad my fingernail was. The answer? Well, it really hurt to pull the laces on my shoes, but it didn’t hurt to pull on the holds. I did about 30mins of climbing/deadhanging then decided not to push it any further. The forecast for this morning was good. Cold and with a chance of sunshine, it would be perfect as long as it didn’t rain during the night.

Luckily it didn’t rain during the night, instead deciding to snow! I looked out my window first thing and saw a white rooftop, and snow covering my car, the ground, and just about everything else. Perfect. I just hoped the top few holds on Gourmandise had managed to avoid being saturated by snow or melt water. It didn’t take long to eat breakfast, make a flask, pack the video camera and get up to Cuvier. All the way the roads were wet in the shade, dry in the sun, and the forest had a wonderful white blanket covering it. It looked really nice, and obviously I was reminded of Ben and Jerry playing in the snow… what a beautiful moment. Once at Cuvier I was happy to see the boulders all looking dry. It was as if the big man had decided that in order to increase the beauty of the forest there should be snow everywhere, but so as not to disrupt the climbers, all the blocs should be kept dry and clean. Whoever said bouldering was freedom from all the faff of climbing was doing something very different to what I’m doing these days;


loaded up

I was loaded up, psyched up, and ready to finish this saga. Much to my relief, Gourmandise was pretty much entirely dry. I unloaded, brushed/chalked all the holds, and went off to warm up. It’s nice up at Rempart because it’s never busy (not that I’ve ever seen anyway). There were another couple of people up there but that was it. I did some problems I’d done before to warm up, but kept it short because I didn’t want to risk hurting my nail or my skin. Back down to Gourmandise and I thought I better clarify exactly which sequence I was going to use for what bit. Basically, I had two methods for the middle bit, and two methods for the last bit. The middle bit was either the original power method or the new heelhook method. I was sure I would use the heelhook method since it saved a hard move at the expense of a tenuous heelhook (for me anyway). The problem lies in that when your heel sits perfectly it’s solid, but even a few mm above or below and you’re facing a fall. I tried the heelhook move a few times, and I just couldn’t get it to work. Without Sara there to help with the placement I couldn’t get it to sit properly. Shit. That left the power method… but I’d tried this way, and fallen too many times. I was confused, so decided to figure out which of the two end methods to use. Either a tricky move or a possible barndoor were the options I faced. I tried both, but the barndoor method predictably caused me to fall off every go. The tricky move method felt fine, but I new it would be tricky on the link. However, I made the decision to use the tricky method. Back to the heelhook method. I figured I should have a go from the start, so chalked up, pulled on, got half way through when suddenly I realised I’d forgotten to turn the camera on. Suffice to say that the moment I realised that, even though I told myself to keep going, I fell on the next move. It was a good first go though, and I felt strong so I set the camera on and hit record. I tried the heelhook move again but fell off again. I was getting a bit pissed about it, because with someone else there I knew I could get it on perfectly and finish this thing. But that wasn’t an option so I decided to have another go from the start. I did the first moves without a problem, set up for the jump, latched it, and then started to put the heel on. I wasn’t sure if it was solid, but as long as it didn’t come off I would be happy. You have to do 4 moves off the heelhook, and it can’t move or come off during any of them. The first move went fine, and at that point I knew the heel was good. Then the second. Then the third, which was the point of my redpoint crux. I was through the move, I had the hold well, and I was pulling overly hard. The fourth move went fine, my heel was still on, I was so close. My fingers had started to lose feeling though, probably because I wasn’t warmed up enough, but I was so damn close to the end that I had to hang on. Surely this was THE GO. I jumped out to the next left hand hold with the expectation that my right hand was going to rip off but it didn’t. A small power scream at myself to not let go fired the next move off, and I was at the point where I needed to decide which method to use for the end. I’d chosen the tricky method, but I knew my fingers were too cold now to risk a tenuous move like that, so I reverted to the barndoor method. This way you get a jug with your left hand, but you end up being so wide that when you move your right hand it’s easy to just fall off. I took that jug and pulled so freaking hard that I decided if I did start to barn door I wouldn’t fall off. I crushed the move out of necessity. I think a fall there would have crushed the spirit and confounded it to a dark place. Two more moves and I was on top. It was finished. I sat down and just basked in the sun, which had suddenly popped out to bask me in it’s heat. It felt pretty good. I always think the moment you top out on a project is a very interesting one. It’s the product of all your effort, but also the end of a chapter. I tried to saviour the process I’d been through to get there. I knew from the 1st session I was capable of this bloc, but it’s complexity had unravelled itself the more I tried it. Finally, everything worked and I made it though.

Afterwards I just sat in the sun, drank some tea, ate a sandwhich and allowed myself to feel good. My thoughts were already onto the next project though. That’s why in climbing there is no end. There are n+1 goals, projects, aspirations. That’s also why it’s so great. You can never get to a point where you have reached the top. It’s not like completing a video game whereby you read the end, it’s a constantly evolving beast that lures you like a donkey and a carrot. I think I’ll be here for another few weeks at least, and I hope to reach my next goal, only to then set another. That’s part of the pursuit of excellence. You can never be perfect or truly excellent, you can only keep trying. So that’s what I’m doing, I’m trying…