Purity of onsighting - An end to Paynes Ford

side note, only probably interesting to those with time on their hands, and are climbers. Basically an update on my own climbing at Paynes Ford......

From Blogger Pictures

The gravity measure at the Hangdog Campsite at Paynes Ford. You'd be surprised how accurate it was!!!!! :)


One of THE routes to do at Paynes, '1080 and the Letter G' (23/6c+/5.11c). A local kid managed the whole route arms-only earlier in the week.... I attempted it on trad as warm-up.....hmmmm, lesson learned from that one - not a success!


It's interesting, I'm just after finishing a blog post on Sonnie Trotter's blog about his devotion in climbing to trying hard routes, how he
grinned through my teeth, but backed it up with a smile. This thing was going to be VERY hard.

For me, this is what I LOVE, knowing I can do a move, but haven’t done it yet. Some people hate falling on hard moves, they say “what the hell is the point if you’re just going to go up there and fall off at the same spot every time?” But I think climbing above (and beyond) my limit is where things gets really interesting. If I climb below it, I get bored, if you know can do something, wheres the challenge? Where’s the progression?


It's interesting, I don't fall completely into that camp. For me, I come from a very sporty background, I grew up playing soccer - a sport that largely fed my drive to run around incessantly until my body collapsed with exhaustion, or I'd run and run and run..... I'm driven by exertion, and working really really hard at sport. For me, I LIVE to do activity, it's what keeps me alive and sane. but following on from Sonnie's I know I'm not completely driven by the pure "hard moves", that's only one half of it.

Probably from my Irish trad background, I have a big fascination with onsighting. There's something really special to walking up to an inspiring piece of cliff and climbing it with no knowledge whatsoever of what is ahead. Just living in the moment and dealing with obstacles as they come to you. Leading on from this, I set a goal a long time ago that I wanted to onsight 7a, all of them. I've been lucky, my onsight level is no consistently 7a/7a+, I rarely if ever fall off one on the onsight (I've only fallen off two at that grade in about 5 years). And I think I can add 7b to that level now. After a great two weeks in Paynes Ford, I managed about seven 25/26 (7b/7b+ - 5.12b/c), and 5 onsight. I'm up to about a 75-80% success rate on 7b/7b+ now.

But of course, there's that drive that keeps me trying hard routes :) So, in the knowledge that there weren't many routes above 8a in Paynes, I had a short stab at the 7c+/28/5.13a. In a positive booster, I ticked off the primary 3-star route (Dancing on a Skewer) on my first proper attempt. I stuffed the first move twice, letting the pressure of having a large group of people watching put me off, but once I was told to cop on by the friendly local Czech climber ("just get back on and do it!!!!!!!"), all was good and it was an easy send.


The crowds of people that congregated around 'Dancing on a Skewer' when people were trying it. Intimidating!!!!

From Blogger Pictures

Sending the first of the crux moves on 'Dancing....' Stretchy!!!

On the final day, I'd a quick blast at the local two-bolt micro route, Fauvism. Honestly, I'd no expectations - I'm usually rubbish on short routes as the moves are just too intense for me. But since a goal of this year is to try all styles of routes and not stick to what I'm good at, it deserved a try. A quick blast up the route on the last evening of climbing (after already onsighting a 6c/5.11c, onsighting a 7b/5.12b and redpointing a 7b/5.12b) and I was pretty psyched, the moves were all outrageous on pinches and slopey, non-existent edges, but it was do-able! So, a quick 20 minute shakeout (it was in the sun, so was trying to reduce the amount of time the holds got heating up and making them worse) and attack!!!!! In the end, it wasn't to be, one rest but as the great Wolfgang Gullich said, you learn more from your failures than your successes. Wiser words cannot be said (when you're down about not succeeding :).

Roll on the States in a week.....


From Blogger Pictures

Thanks to all the gang at Hangdog Campsite that made the two weeks so memorable. Will hopefully see many of you somewhere worldwide in the future :)