I’m rudely awoken by the horrible buzz of my alarm going off, its finally Monday, the day I’d arranged with Archie to go back to Curbar.
The forecast was that it was raining in the morning and as I come to my senses a part of me hopes that its still raining or that it is still wet and a cosy trip to the climbing works would be the call of order for the day …. but alas … I look out only to be greeted with a nice sunny day with a bit of a breeze.
I start my drive out a little late. The ‘5 minute’ lay in turned to 20 as I’d forgotten to reset my alarm. It feels a little warm … maybe its too warm (my mind trying to find an excuse).
Needless to say we met up and started our walk in. The breeze actually making us pretty cold and it starts to dawn on me, I’ve got no excuses left. There’s that familiar sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, its building with every step closer to the route.
The route that I’ve wanted to climb for years, the route that has completely dominated every thinking moment for the last two weeks. The route:
‘The End of the Affair’ E8 6c
First up is Archie, a few tries and hes finalised his beta
‘you gonna go for it then, you know you can do it’
‘sure’ And just like that its game on.
The rope get pulled down, the pads go out and he’s tied in, ready to go.
Off he goes, and he flows, never making a mistake.
He’s chalked and gearing up for the final stretch to the sloper … I see his legs shake a bit … shit … I get ready to run.
As soon as he lifts his leg and places his foot on the smear he’s completely solid again though my heart is in my mouth as his hand reaches out … he’s got it, bloody good effort, its in the bag and I wait till he has the glory jug before congratulating him.
Oh dear, he’s actually done it … that means I have to do it or at least give it a go.
So I practice twice and think ‘I can fret about this all day or just man up and try’
‘Let’s do it’ I say and pull the rope down.
I tie in and psyche up, my mind going wild, I’m actually tied in to ‘The End of the Affair’ I’m actually about to try and lead this uber classic line.
Stand up, loosen up, chalk up … my mind starts to calm and I think about the sequence, can I justify the risk … sure I want this, I can’t walk away and let there be no end to this affair.
I start to climb and fall into the zone, no rational thoughts or emotions, just the sequence. My climbing brain has taken over. Right up until I look at the sloper and ready myself for the jump. This is when I realise that the rope is in-between my legs, by making this beginners mistake I knew that if I fell it would invert me.
It’s too late now, the balance here is so precarious I can’t do anything about it. I think ‘now or never’ and I jump finding myself shout more as a release of emotion than anything else.
My hand slaps the hold and … oh no, I’ve caught it wrong … my hand slips, stay calm Kyle … falling from here is not an option … I quickly sort my feet out and manage to bump my hand over, stay calm Kyle, if you shake you’ll probably fall off, I get my heel onto the arete … stay calm Kyle.
I reach up and as my fingers wrap over the glory jug my emotions pour out and I let a roar of satisfaction come out.
Its done 🙂 I can’t believe it, it’s done.
I’m here, I’m safe and now I’m at the top of The end of the Affair, It doesn’t feel real but it is.
This is particularly meaningful as its my fist E8, and I remember watching ‘Hard Grit’ many years ago thinking I would love to climb it but never truly believing that it would happen.
A team tick, what a day, probably one of the best days I’ve had on grit. To hear the other side of the story visit Archie’s blog: http://cbclimbing.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-min=2014-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2015-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=7
Here is the video of our day out. Enjoy.