Valentines day. A special day that comes around once a year to celebrate the human races obligation to prove that they love each other.
Of course, if your face is anything like mine, Valentines day was just another day where you get up, look at the empty seat on the other side of the kitchen table and cry into your cheerios. How tragically ironic. However, I didn’t spend Saturday fortifying my cereal with salty sadness, I spent it climbing.
This isn’t a whiny anti-valentines blog, it just happened to be the day we went climbing and made for a good excuse for that cheerio joke.
There was reason to be excited as the last time I climbed at the centre we went to, I fell of a lead climb and got a boo boo in my ankle. I did carry on climbing that day and then walked around Guildford for a few hours, but I was worried that the previous endeavour may have cost me some head game.
Feeling slightly more nervous than Tony Blair trying to explain away the Iraq war, I woke up offensively early and headed off to pick up Steve, then we nipped to a local climbing centre 60 miles away in London.
We started off with a little bit of bouldering to warm ourselves up, then upped our game with some top rope climbing. Then came the fun bit, the lead climbs. Nothing beats that little rush of tying into a rope that’s just chilling out on the floor, the knowledge that if you can’t keep climbing you’re taking a fall. I looked up and sized up the route, safe in the knowledge that if I came off too soon there was a good chance I’d stack it, and look like even more of a plum than usual. I took the first step, boldly going where many had gone before. I reached the first clip, and luckily remembered how to clip in. There isn’t a great feeling of security at the first clip, so the only way was up. each clip came and went, my forearms getting increasingly tired, making it more and more difficult to hold a position while clipping in. I reached the top and clipped in to the final clip a mix of relief and accomplishment rushed through me. I was back at the top of the wall.
The flood gates were opened, Steve and I tackled anything we saw. I built up to leading a 6b+ on an over hang, while Steve slowed down after destroying a tasty 7a .It didn’t stop there. Once we were through with the lead climbs we headed into the bouldering gave, and on my third attempt, I had completed my first ever route in the cave. When your efforts keep paying off, it’s hard to slow down, so we sped up. Because climbing just isn’t exercise enough, Steve felt the need for some circuit training. Many squats, pull ups, sit ups and stuff I don’t even know the name for later, we were nearly broken. This lead to the invention of a new game; climbing an incredibly easy route on an auto belay where everyone can see you with extremely tired arms and legs. I lost.
As a last hurrah, we took advantage of the centres slackline. Steve was all over it, and I improved on my last attempt by staying up for many more seconds. (and then walking the length of it using Steve’s head for balance, but that’s not too impressive).
Once we were all slacked out, we really were ready to call it a day. We sat down to pack our stuff away, and reflected on this day, and the many that had come before it the past few months. We realised we’ve done pretty well this past winter. Travelling around and filling our days with things we’d usually do over the most extreme summer. But this wasn’t summer. This was winter, a time when humans usually hibernate in their homes with cups of tea and Nutella toasties. And this begged the question, If Winter has been this good, How amazing will summer be? The days are getting longer, the sea’s are getting warmer, and we’re not going to waste a single moment.
p.s. I forgot my camera so there aren’t any pictures in this one and I had to draw the header on paint.