The past week has brought about some of the best winter conditions we have seen in recent years….
Despite working for a company that’s slogan is ‘climb now, work later’ the reality of the situation is that I do work a five day week and this means it isn’t always possible to strike while the winter conditions iron is hot. Ordinarily this can lead to a state of severe frustration, particularly with something as fickle and short-lived as Welsh Winter, and in previous years I would be suffering from an extreme dose of FOMO (I know what I’m like, it would be/I would be unbearable!).
But this year is different.
Having decided to hang up my tools for 2013 I also hung up my interest/curiosity in what was going on. I wanted the sole focus of my winter to be on improving strength and power. Simple. It will probably make a few people laugh to hear that I have been more interested in what the conditions are like over in the Peak District and Parisella’s Cave more than I have Clogwyn Du or the Ben (oh, how times change). But joking aside, I have found that putting the blinkers on in this way and focussing on the light at the end of the tunnel* has provided interest enough for me not to worry about what other people are doing. At the end of the day you only miss out on things that you want to do, and since I want to work on my strength/power I feel like not doing this would be the crime and potentially cause me to miss out on what I wish to achieve later in the year.
That said, there has been a few things that have got past my winter climbing firewall (damn you Facebook!) and I figured I’d write these down. The reasoning behind most of these choices is due to the effort each of these people has put into doing the route, thinking about the route, then waiting years for the route to come into condition. Now that’s the sort of psych I could do with!
- Lateo, Clogwyn Du – Pete Harrison’s uber-project yields after three years of effort. It takes one hell of a lot of determination to have a project like this – well done Pete!!
- The Great Corner, Llech Ddu – This particularly gross north cliff holds a special place in my heart throughout the summer months: it takes months to dry, has some pretty poor quality climbing, and yet is strangely endearing! When I saw the pictures of Nick Bullock + Pete Harrison making the first winter ascent it really made me glow with pride for them – nice one boys – that is quite some line you’ve got there…
- Devil’s Appendix – Every North Walean climber needs to do it. I haven’t. Jon Ratcliff now has. No FOMO, just happy to hear that a friend has done it.
* in short, this means Conan the Librarian, Skinhead Moonstomp, and Alien