As people were away in Dartmoor – I couldn’t make it unfortunately – I found a spare couple of hours to head to the Cuttings’ south section for a quick boulder.
I somehow managed to find every boulder (with in my grade) and climb tons of easy, but brilliant problems. They are tough to find but great when you find them, one of my favourites was The Three Princes of Serendip which was on ET Boulder. It was manly big open handed slopers with a great heel hook to move across the boulder before topping out. I left this day very happy finally starting to move up the grades and understanding the rock.
– Between my last climb and now I went out sport climbing with Tom. He fell before the first bolt and landed on a very pointy rock. He was then in a cast after I told him several times he was an idiot if he didn’t go to hospital. –
I had just got off the phone with Connie, arranging to meet at cuttings car park, and Tom comes stumbling in on crutches and in a cast.
After I told him where we are going he says: ‘Mate, I’m not going to sit here by myself, I’ll come’. So Tom, Connie, Evie and I head down the dodgiest, steep, muddy slope to get to the first boulders, with Tom on crutches and a possible broken ankle (turns out he went to ‘Fracture Clinic’ and it turned out he hadn’t broken anything, which is good).
We set up shop on Topside Boulder which has a great view over the whole boulderfield. These problems have spat me and Pymn off many times before but this time I feel far more prepared and start climbing. The climbing is strong but the routes seem to be well suited to me with big sloping holds and lots of squeezing.
Connie manages to find some of the tiniest ‘holds’ on Rocky and Diesel which helped her eliminate the reaches. Tom realises he hasn’t got all-terrain crutches he needs but keeps Evie entertained and basks in the sun. I finally get some better grades after working Made in The Shade and Nu Breed (sit start) getting both of them.
It’s nice to feel progression after a long winter and this is best I have felt on the rock for ages, good times.
The next time I went down the boulderfield was after a trip to Fontainebleau. Pymn, Emmie and I had a quick climb thinking it was going to pour down but the sun managed to break through. We headed for Bird Shit Boulders and past an old enemy of mine and Pymns.
Someone once told us about this route and had said it was a V4 so Pymn and I got on it for ages, really trying but struggled a lot. We later found out it was a hard V6, and we admitted defeat. The route is called ‘Relativity’ and it starts in a cave with a jug line along the horizontal cave to a hard move out over the lip. This is one of those problems which will go one day and when it does I am going to be over the moon, but not yet.
Bird Shit Boulders had the standard awkward Cuttings climbing which I have defiantly started to enjoy but to come from Font’s incredible world class routes it was hard to get into. It was a nice day and the climbing was fun but sometimes psych struggled to engage.
Returning by myself a couple of days later with everyone working or training, I followed the instruction of a local through Facebook. After posting the link to Part 1 on a local climbing wall’s page – The Aloft Climbing Wall – and asking if people knew of some good routes a local told me to head for ‘The Tank’.
‘The Tank’ is one of the closest boulders to the coast and one of the furthest away from the track. As I got there with all my gear and a down jacket it on (god knows why as it was so hot) the rock looked great as it rested on the supporting boulder underneath. It has some really nice routes up the steep face to a great top out, but one route grabbed my attention with two incredible pockets to get out over the overhang. One pocket you could cram three fingers in and jam them, the next was a shallow but positive two finger pocket, but unfortunately with my damaged pulley it didn’t feel great.
Sometimes you have to back off some climbs so you can carry on climbing, ‘Crouching Start, Hidden Agenda’ was one of those. It’s disappointing when you can’t push but it’s much better in the long run.
Its not just a negative though, it gets you excited about coming back when fully healed and also it lets you find more climbs like on ‘The White Tower’ a highball slab. ‘The White Tower’ is a great five(ish) meter slab with crumbly but surprisingly good features. I managed to climb everything on it before the light disappeared and I left even more psyched about coming back.