Empty the bones of you.
I've been stuck in a bit of a rut with 5 projects recently, mostly because i've been trying 5 things all at once so my sessions have been spread out to say the least. I felt in the form of my life on the board last week and managed some tricky moves on it (along with a raid upto thorn... nearly collapsed on the walk in, but got up return of the fly for its 2nd ascent after 9 years, and picked my jaw up from the floor after seeing moment of clarity!) With the weather looking perfect in Northumberland this week it was time to head up with Katie and go and test out the purple patch good and proper.
It was too windy for project No1 so 3 and 5 took priority. I'd cleverly stashed my harness and micro gear safely behind my sofa at home away from prying eyes so i was free of my harness and gear for the day (i'm a shit trad partner!) So my trad project was going to have to be a boulder problem if i wanted to try it. That said it is a boulder problem as you can only try it with pads, due to the crux being at 7m with no gear. It is not a normal crux either like on most highballs. It is a proper boulder problem crux that would be tricky on the ground. Luckily Ben was out too and had borrowed some pads off Matt so we had 7pads! I felt rather good warming up and despite it being in the sun it seemed like a good time to have a bash at the biggy. I hadn't tried it since January so a quick brush on abseil and check of the top was needed for reassurance seeing as though i'd be soloing up there now. On my first go i felt a lot better than in january and. Next go i'd stuck the crux launch to the pocket off the tiny 3 finger crimp and it was time to man up, after a brief pause to turn my brain off i promptly got up the rest of the problem/solo forthwith. The crux on this is lower than the last droppable move on Darkside but is a trifle more momentum stopping so font 8A+ (H) is likely its best expression. Its the only grade i can stomach giving it anyway, it felt nice to be free of the rope too and in my natural environment of deckout failure, although i was a little apprehensive on getting the top slopers. . We still had a while to go so Ben got on County Ethics. He ground upped it in 3 goes on the day and looked in well his comfort zone on high ground, great to watch.
It still wasn't home time so i got on a lovely little project coming right out the bitch, its rather innocuous but is a nice reality check in relation to the big stuff on north wall. Normal bouldering, workable moves. The moves are really cool on it. It basically does the first hard move of the bitch to the jug and then you gross to a crap pinch (footer on the bitch) and work your way rightwards using a tricky heel which destroyed 3 of my shoes. With the threat of another anasazi heel getting ruined thus pushing the stats to >50% of this years freebies getting wrecked i thought today would be good to see it off! I'd got super close the day i did four mats wall. the problem has a really hard cut loose to get your right heel up and the LH pinch is so crap that it just fires of. Pretty frustrating! and the odd expletive leaked out. As it got later on i got tireder but conditions actually came good. Meaning the LH pinch got grippy enough to be usable from the start. As the day was drawing in friction and tiredness finally met in the middle and i scraped up it. Not the best line in the county but a really nice problem which is workable and just good fun (like all the problems on those boulders)
As ever the grades on these are a guess. They are vaguely accurate in relation to the other things at the crag but not in relation to things as a whole. Empty the bones of you is kind of like doing two pump up the powers on top of one another into a necky finish, except its not polished or bolted. I'll be whinging about hard grades as well as having a bash about where i think the future of highballing might end up going in the UK during the premiere of Life on Hold in sheffield at the weekend.