First time

I’ve been leading trad for few seasons now but I actually never taken a lead fall on gear yet. Well, not up untill yesterday.

While I whipped it out on bolts many times before, both in the gym and outdoors I never got to ‘test’ my own gear placements in the way they are meant to ve. “It’s probably because you don’t push yourself hard enough” – I was told once by one of my climbing partners.  I like to think it just because I’m always extra careful. Unfortunately that said friend is probably right. I rarely go out of my comfort zone. I could count my above Hvs leads on fingers of one hand… 

This particular fall wasnt terribly bad, as a matter of fact it was as clean as they come. 

For this outing, despite all the wind and cold I managed to convince Pedro, Diarmuid and Paul to join me.  We split into 2 teams and decided to climb around Forrest ledge. 

One the way to the valley

Due to really bad weather (single digits temp and  cold wind) we practically had entire wall to ourselves. It was just  a matter of finding joy in all of it. 

 I won’t be getting into details of all the climbs we did as there wasn’t much going on really. We quickly got into the FL where Diarmuid lead a route called Ifreann Direct (Hvs 5b) in Glendalough is a special one. A perfect finger crack, thin at the bottom and widening as it progresses. Pedro was with him, while Paul and I went up to the left to look at the VSs up there. 

Diarmuid on Ifreann Direct HVS

 It was Paul’s lead now so he picked one of the VS lines(Aisling Arette) and off he went. 

Paul running it out with style

After we were done we went down to the route the boys just did and they took our spot. 

My lead. I only have 2 small cams and already cold fingers.  Oh well. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll fall. I did. 

3 Lobes cam. Half way up Ifreann Direct. HVS 5b

The route started pretty well. There is a stuck permanent pro off the ground, I placed my smallest Grey Bd next and then I was able to alternate the only other 2 cams that fitted the crack. Despite the fact it was my first Hvs of the season I felt strong. This over confidence is what got me down. I was already passed  what I considered the Crux, relaxed too much and my feet blew. By the time I realized I was falling I was already stopped. The green BD cam supported my weight only being engaged by 3 of its lobes. That is reassuring. 

I quickly recovered and finished the climb. Paul followed with no problems whatsoever. He is 10 years my junior  and already much stronger and more experienced than I’ll ever be. Sometimes I wish I discovered climbing earlier in my life. 

As we were abseiling to the ground  the other group were fighting with stuck rope. It’s never fun. They won the fight without having to going back up and quickly joined us at the base. 

Despite pretty bad conditions it was a great day out (at least both Paul and I think so). I’ve learned  lot about myself, my weaknesses and strengths and the fact that pushing one’s limits, one step at a time can also be fun. 

Of course today is over 20C, full sun and perfect conditions, but I had no 1 to go out with. Oh well. 

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