Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Filling up a weekend

I'd planned to go to the climbing wall with my son on Saturday but he'd had a late night with his mates (teenagers, what are they like?), which left me at a loose end.  Realising I needed to fight the urge to tick off a few jobs on the 'to do' list and make the most of such a fine autumn day, I quickly pumped the tyres up on the bike and cycled out to Hathersage. 

The run up to Stanage Pole from the house is easy enough and then the track follows the causeway parallel to the edge before plunging down below High Neb.  I only cycle this section every few years.  Well I say cycle but it's more of a walk - the large cobbles and big drops are too technical for me - and each time I go this way, I vow not to do it again.  Apart from that, it's a fab ride with a fast, level off-road section before hitting the road and hurtling down into Hathersage.  I stopped for a brew at Longlands before heading back.  Of course all that downhill fun comes at a cost and the way back home is somewhat more of a grunt - 1450' of it, in fact.  I forgot to take the camera but I did get this view of Stanage with the phone

17 miles, 2200' ascent

On Sunday I spent some time at the Climbing Works.  I really like this place. It's a big shed full of bouldering walls and crash mats, good coffee, music and people with big arms.  After my first visit a few months ago, I had so little strength left in my arms, I couldn't grip the knife to slice an onion when I got back home.  Now I just come away with sore elbows and shoulders.  Many of the problems are stupidly difficult but there is so much on offer, it's easy to while away an hour or two and come away on an endorphin high and feeling you've had some exercise.

I went back again later for the Free Rock Tour 2010 film evening, featuring some inspiring big wall climbing, seemingly pointless bouldering routes comprising a handful of stupidly difficult moves and an American called Dean Potters who has pioneered the new sport of base climbing, where you solo something hard and steep until you fall off and then rely on your parachute to save you.  Of course it only works if you're good enough to get high enough before you fall off.  Here's the trailer.

In this one, Dean Potters doesn't fall off El Cap but it's still impressive to watch.

The final film of the evening was about Ueli Steck, who solo'd the Eiger North Wall in 2hrs 47 minutes, knocking more than an hour off his previous record.

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