A short report today because I spent the entire day in front of 1 small piece of rock desperately trying to get from the beginning to end. Some people say a change is as good as a rest so today I opted to do something I don’t normally do, a traverse! Shocking I know, but La Coccinelle, 7C+/8A, is a famous traverse, opened by JP Bouvier in 1988, and a pretty obvious looking challenge. I thought I could probably flash it so felt like it would either be a 1 or 2 go affair. How wrong I was. It’s basically 2 moves into a strange move that is probably 7B+ on it’s own, then into a 6C traverse. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t. I spent ages trying a bogus heelhook/toehook sequence which sapped a load of skin and then I reverted to my original (and more powerful) drop knee method. The crux involved a move into a pocket then doing a move off it. Once through that you’re sorted. The slash grade is because there are 2 versions, of which the 8A is a higher exit which I was doing. It’s just this one damn pocket move. I wrecked my skin slipping out the pocket, ended up bleeding from 3 fingers, but was still determined to do it. In the end my body shut down. I climbed it from the pocket to the end (so missing out the hard move into the pocket) 5 times in a row so I know it’s easy. I just have to do the drop down move into the pocket on the link. Neil got some decent photos (I think he’s moving into photography, he even brought a ladder to the crag!);

I think I’ll go back and despatch it in a couple of days. Even though it’s a traverse I’m still psyched for it. It must have pedigree if it made it into the best traverses in font supplementary page in the new 7+8 guide. The advantage of trying something like this is that I’m sure I’m increasing my technical knowledge of moving on the rock. More awareness of using my feet, more awareness of body positions, and ultimately these will help with my big projects. I feel like I’m doing a couple of weeks apprenticeship in the forest simply by avoiding hard things (nothing over 8A), but re-learning the rock. I just want to get intimate with it again…

Also worth pointing out is that I chose to spend valentines day hugging a rock rather than my girlfriend. Luckily I know Sara won’t mind because she is amazing, but I still felt kind of dirty!