I have a hankering for grit. I want to feel its rasping grains exfoliate the callus built up on my tips over a summer of crimping. I want to slap slopes, hang off my bones rather than pull with my muscles. Most importantly I want to return home from a day's bouldering with the skin of my forearms and torso on fire- abraded by the silica grains that coalesce into gargoyle-like shapes on the tops of the Pennine moors, however it's too hot! August and its faint wet whiff of a coming winter lulled me into a belief system founded upon the central theory that the Grit would come early this year, Alas, just like the follower of many a modern-day cult, I was simply wrong- I was lucky to escape with both my skin and my long-held faith in this wonderful, luck-based, rocky medium intact!
So, just as in July, Limestone has been the order of the day. Pulling rather than palming, standing on distinct edges rather than knowing that my foot will stick to any part of my boulder problem of desire. On the other hand it's dry and not going out on a sunny day would only allow deep, chronic injuries to heal - and what boulderer in their right mind would want to entertain such nonsense?
It has been hard to stay motivated when indulging in one rock type exclusively. Many venues have been visited to engender some sense of variety in my climbing life: Ogmore, Dinas, Ruthin, Waton, Woodwell, Fairy Steps, the Pill box and The Cave have all taken a turn and all are still on the radar as the sun continues to shine.
If you feel jaded on your own personal limestone journey of projects and pulling here are some videos from Sam to keep you going. Don't worry, the grit will be here soon and we will all be able to complain in chorus about bloody technical sequences........ and all will be good with the world.
The first video features Ruthin, a crag close to my own heart; a brilliant after-work venue with a good spread of grades from V2 to V8. The video itself features a real 'misery of clowns', and the legend which is Fatneck. You can read more about Ruthin here and here.
Ruthin Escarpment Bouldering - North Wales from Climbing Beta on Vimeo.
The second video is from Woodwell, one of the finest Limestone craglets in the country; famed for its steepness, marred slightly by its rules. The video has a slight caveat attached: one of the problems featured, "Kiss of the Dragon", was not ascended as per regulation, so please don't think this is the beta needed for an easy V8 tick. The problem starts to the right of the crack and involves a long, stiff pull to get to the small crimps used in the vid.
Woodwell Bouldering from Climbing Beta on Vimeo.
So go and grunt your way across all the crimps limestone has to offer. You'll be dragging your skin across something friction-full soon enough.