Wah Wah Wah

Another evening at LPT © Oli Grounsell

Another evening at LPT © Oli Grounsell

In climbing I would consider myself quite lucky. I’ll scape my way up something when I don’t deserve it or find the good weather when it’s raining elsewhere, and in general I drift along with everything fitting into place. I don’t think too much, I go climbing when I want to, train if I want to, eat what I want to, drink what I want to, sit around the house watching Alan Partridge when I want to. This seems best.

Climbing wise all I have done recently is try Liquid Ambar. Last year I tried it too, but in hindsight I wasn’t trying it very well, or doing very well in fact. This year I have been trying better and doing weller, if I do say so myself. I have been attempting to properly think about how I approach the route, and there has been less drifting along. About a month ago I dropped the last hard move, and thought I was well on the way. Unfortunately however, I appear to still be on the way.

A cold and wet May didn’t help, but did create excuses along the lines of; the start being wet, or ‘numbing out’ high on the route. I remained positive and used these sessions to refine beta, so that I could still see progression, I guess. When the weather did come good again my beta, you could say, was pretty spot on. Redpoints started to look promising again; getting a foot shuffle further or locking slightly deeper on each attempt. My highpoints soon became somewhere along the motion of the final hard move.

Finally, feeling stronger than before I reached said move.Further through the motion I went, locking deeper and excitement started to build. I wiggled my fingers into the last undercut slot, with which the hard climbing ends, and success is on the cards.

Unfortunately for me, I decided to wiggle my fingers into this slot like never before, in other words completely wrong. This meant I couldn’t bring my thumb round and close my wrist into the solid undercut that was on offer. I felt strong, fuel in the tank for the few remaining moves to the belay, but I knew I’d messed it up. The simple bump of the feet supposed to come smoothly was now a desperate stab of the feet, and with that, I was off. I wanted to curl into a corner and cry.

In the week since then conditions, rest etc haven’t played ball, or maybe I played the balls wrong. I probably played the latter ball wrong, a mixture of  excitement and pressure from myself to get to the finish line resulting in pretty poor play. But to be honest I’ve started to feel pretty burnt out on the route since my highpoint, lacking the energy and excitement one needs when about to set off. Part of me thought maybe this would trick my body and mind into ‘letting go’ and I’d have some sort of magical moment with the rock, but no. When even ‘letting go’ fails, it’s probably not the right time.

To the seasoned redpointer my months of effort may not seem like much, but for me it feels like a lot effort, and I have come away empty handed, hence I’m now moaning about it. Without wanting to sound arrogant, the empty handedness is new to me, given the effort invested. I’m sure someone will tell me I will in fact learn from this experience, and I probably agree. A month a go I thought success was a given, and therefore to conclude, I have a lot of respect for this route now.

Here is a picture of me failing on that troublesome move, thanks Mike.

Setting up for the final hard move on Liquid Ambar, LPT © Mike Hutton

Setting up for the final hard move on Liquid Ambar, LPT © Mike Hutton


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