(by Dave Craig, March 2007)
A trad climber takes to bouldering.
I started climbing as a trad climber and have stuck to that for the most part. The winter of course means time spent at the wall but that’s hardly my fault. Not that I’m a Saint by any means, there has been the odd slip, bolts were involved, sunny places in Spain etc, but I have tried to repent with some pilgrimages to more traditional venues. On the whole a fine and pure existence.
But then one day, I was innocently at the wall and someone suggested a trip to Glendalough. The weather was supposed to be good and it’s someone I know and trust, having climbed with them many times, so I accept. Meeting at the car park though, I realise they don’t have a heavy rucksack full of gear and ropes, but instead produce a very light one. Did I misunderstand? Maybe he thinks we are going for a 10 hour hike, that must be it. But no, from the boot of the car emerges a large square mat, with nifty straps on the back and some cool logo’s. The reality of the situation dawns on me, he’s become a boulderer, and what’s more he thinks I’m up for trying it. What can I do? ‘Just say no’ springs to mind, but I’d sound like an idiot. Sure once won’t do any harm, since we are already here and all, and I follow my “friend” up the track.
Lulling me in he shows me some problems, first easy and enjoyable moves that we do easily, sure what’s all the fuss. Then, a few harder ones, overhangs, I learn how to heal hook. This is more interesting. More overhangs and I start twisting myself into all sorts of contortions trying to reach the jugs only to pop off just before them. My friend tries, a few deft pulls, a swinging hop past my contortions and he’s pulling over the top. Dyno’s eh! Very interesting. A couple more of these and I pat myself on the back as I flash a relatively difficult one. Then, the killer blow!
“Sure you’re a model for the sit start”.
Sit starts and trad climbers go together like chalk and cheese. But there I am, a low down bum grovelling to get up out of the dirt. A little twist one way and upward progress is made, but only for an instant and I am flat on my back. Another effort is made, better(?) this time, my hand brushes the hold I’m trying for. Standing again, moves are discussed, crystals felt, it only gets harder. Maybe I can build a replica of the moves! If I sell my rack how many toothbrushes can I buy? The floodgates are well and truly burst.
Terry I may never forgive you!