Rain Rain Go Away…by Madeleine Cope

There is nothing like a term spent indoors at university to get you dreaming about crisp winter days bouldering on the gritstone. Unfortunately, those crisp winter days I’d been waiting for have been few (actually I’m not sure there has any!) and far between. After numerous futile attempts to go climbing outdoors I realised that driving to the crag just to eat your sandwiches in the car wasn’t worth it and resigned myself to pulling on plastic.

Since my return to indoor climbing after the summer resulted in the tweaking of my finger I have been quite hesitant to pull hard. However, taking part in the bouldering competition at UCR Bristol got me psyched for indoor climbing (not something I’ve ever really been too bothered about) and it was especially impressive to witness the strength of the young boulderers that train with Ben West. All in all it was a day with a great atmosphere, interesting setting and I was also very happy to have won the female category.

The lack of dry rock has made me realise how much I depend on climbing outdoors for happiness and maybe it is good to learn to appreciate other things. I’m not saying it’s time to go join the hordes in the Christmas sales but the poor weather lends itself to spending time with friends and family. Enjoying this time rather than itching to get on dry rock might help pass the rainy days. Alternatively it might be wise to try and spend as much of the winter out of the UK as possible!

Thankfully the new year has brought with it a couple of dry days! I decided to visit the Five Clouds at the Roaches as I had never been before and it did not disappoint. The highlights of the day were Finger of Fate (highball 6b arête), Trust (7a that required you to ‘trust’ a crucial smear above the mantel) and Milky Button (7b wall climb that I tried and would like to return to). On the joyous day Wednesday 9thJanuary 2013 the sun came out in full swing and it was nice run around the playground that is Stanage Plantation. However, being British, thus unable to ever be satisfied with the weather it was obviously now too hot! A problem that I had never noticed before called Zippy’s Traverse (7b) was in the shade, providing nice cold slopers. Although this problem is not my style I really enjoyed working out the beta but struggled to hold the swing at the end (time to get doing some core work before returning). Climbing Honorary Caley (7a) and Hour Glass Left (7a) was a great way to end the day although how to get off the ground on Hour Glass itself (also 7a) still escapes me!

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