Wednesday, 30 October 2013



Last evening I tried "Perky" an out of the way f6b+ problem at Brimham.

I brushed it off a bit and dabbed chalk on two edgy crimps, had a few attempts and then left.

"Perky" obviously stayed where it is, where it has been for hundreds of thousands of years.

The two crimps may have come into existence countless millennia ago and will erode out into finger jugs in another few millennia.

In the middle point of all this relentless change, for a few hundred thousand years "Perky", is an out of the way f6b+ boulder problem at Brimham.

Whilst I slept "Perky" had shed the chalk I added, with the help of a morning dew and returned to it's slow development into something else.

In my terms of course, this piece of rock will remain largely unchanged during my lifetime.

I can rely on the hanging start, the wild offside flag and the palm ripping Arete, to be there every time I visit.

More than that, I can discuss these abstract movements and holds with other aspirants and they get it.
We share a common understanding of "Perky", we can laud success and console failed attempts. We discuss different tactics, slight variations in body position, in hold use.

We add "Perky" to our lexicon of shared experience.

In this way "Perky" becomes part of our developing persona as a climber.

Which is funny really because "Perky" does not exist. 

Neither does Brad Pit, Zoo York, High Fidelity or Voyager.

The rocks eternally grinding down to dust do not care for our dalliance and continue their entropic dissolution every second of every hour of every day of every year of every millennia.

"Perky" only exists when we are there to define it, to outline it, to climb it.

The challenge is internal.
The construct is internal.

This is how we must understand climbing 

It is all within us, every historic attempt, every Joe Brown jam, every Cam placement, every route name, every fall, every bold success.

We by sharing this understanding, project ourselves onto the rock. 

Our hopes,our dreams, our brief fluttering beauty.

Without us all, its just a rock.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Back from the edge

The overwhelming feeling on returning from a climbing trip is initially dogged tiredness, sending you crawling into bed on all fours, this then melts as you regain some outward function and in my case gels more into a mild feeling of emptiness.

The return from the necessarily heightened state you inhabit whilst you are away leaves you empty of Endorphins, a twitching nervous system, cringing, needing another hit.

Its not that I specifically miss anything/anybody, rather that there is a crossing from one state of mind to another.

So when I write about the individual aspects of a trip, the drunk Italian swearing competition, the "who has he killed anyway ?" throwaway comment, the wooded sandy micro deserts, the acorn van bombs, in themselves they are merely closely packed pieces of an experience which was larger and more vibrant than the norm.

I suspect that even the climbing was peripheral, in that it served to stick the group together, but was only one in a cast of thousands.

I reflect that this heightened shared experience is the point of trips/expeditions and to some extent the "objective" is secondary.

I can also see the addiction, the need to be other than the norm, the trance.

So the only question which really remains is....