Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Filming in the Peak - Part 1

We finally made it down to the Peak District for what looks like being the first of several visits this winter. Despite the swamp-like conditions both of the climbers we are following managed to make good progress on their respective projects. Now just waiting for a weather window.

Scottish optimism. A visitor "enjoying" Burbage South. (All photos Hot Aches Images)

Lesson 1.

My perfect climbing day is when I can feel the sun on my back and a gentle breeze. Perhaps I'm not alone, for on a couple of days last week there were probably only two people daft enough to venture out climbing, both of whom we happened to be filming.

Climbing hard on grit is a pretty tough ordeal. Aside from the technical difficulty and the danger, the weather logistics are staggeringly challenging. I've now learned that you need different conditions to work (some) routes than to then send them. What does that mean? Well, basically to work a hard route you need to be able to feel your fingers and toes, whereas to send the route it needs to be baltic.

On one potential send day it was +6 degrees with a 40 mph wind (that equals windchill factor of minus quite a lot), however a weak winter sun was "warming" a crucial sloper. We waited a few hours for the clouds to come in... which they did but unfortunately so did the rain (again).

In fact, for 5 days in a row we ended up getting rained off the crags. Getting back to the bunkhouse felt like it does after a day winter climbing; ropes hanging up to dry and gortex dripping.

Lesson 2.

If you think you are climbing fit, don't go to The Climbing Works in Sheffield.

This is unquestionably the best bouldering wall I have ever visited, by a mile in fact. It is huge, great range of angles and the routes setting is so so good.

After another day rained off the crags we all headed to the wall. Diff and I were like a dog with 2 dicks, or should that be 2 dogs with 2 dicks, or 2 dogs with 4 dicks? Well, you know what I mean. We weren't licking each others, just our own...... Anyway, after 3 hours of thrashing ourselves stupid (on the boulder problems) we retired gracefully. Our Scottish visitor meanwhile had recreated the crux move of his project. He spent a long time doing the move over and over again, adjusting the angle to make it harder and harder.

Back on the crag on the next two days both the Scotsman and the Local were progressing well. We'll be back.