Climbing E8, F8a and font 8a would I guess to many mark a certain level of competency in their given sub worlds of climbing. The hardest one to attain being almost certainly a matter of opinion (it’s definitely not F8a though).
For me the missing link was bouldering. I’m not really sure why, all the kids do it, it just has been. A few weeks ago I was back in the Peak District for my ‘reading week’ and ended up in the bottom of a cold, dank uninspiring pit. I proceeded to climb back out of this pit in about 30 minutes. My first thoughts included how much better Brad Pitt would be perched alone on a hillside, and secondly that if I put some sustained effort into bouldering I could get a lot back from it (maybe Nathans idea). I was therefore going to boulder more this winter.
Over the past few weeks I have had some great fun trying hard, including a lovely day up on Crafnant ticking some classics which went along the lines of Grasswind, Wonderwall and Special K. Surprisingly however I have been keen on ‘The Cave’. Before I came over to Wales everyone would joke about spending all winter in here and how after a few sessions I would love it. I shunned anyone that suggested this, I mean come on, limestone bouldering? But everyone was right, it feels so good to leave battered and bruised but undoubtedly stronger.
I did the classic Rockatrocity a few weeks back on my first acquaintance with Parisella’s, then before I knew it I was caving right to the back for Hatchotrocity. This adds quite a bit of climbing, with tenuous and energy sapping moves leading you into Rockatrocity. I’d arrive at the starting jugs of Rockotrocity feeling good, but the power would soon begin to fade as I entered its crux sequence. I dropped the final match half a dozen times but wasn’t really bothered, it just felt like a more fresh air induced way of training. I did do it in the end though, which was nice…
So whilst grades are boring, I must admit I did feel a little bit of pride in completing the little trio, even if it was a cave 8A.