First E5 On-sight

Wow 🙂 what a blast.

The weekend was so much fun, a really productive weekend and one I am not likely to ever forget, why? … because I did my first On-sight of an E5 😀 A route called ‘Ai no corrida’ at Burbage North and given a grade of E5 6b.

This has been a long term goal for me that I didn’t think I would get just yet but thought I would keep my eye out for potential candidates.

I’d planned to meet up with my friend James last Friday to climb a route called ‘Nefertiti’ E6 6b. I got to the crag first so I thought I would go for a walk to see this route that a few people had told me was really nice (Ai no corrida). When I found it I knew instantly that it was a strong candidate for my first E5 on-sight, being a fridge hug, lay backing prow/arête. Just my style of climbing so I took a note of it in my head and went to go meet James.

Nefertiti went pretty well as I managed to do it clean on top rope so I though ‘yea, lets go for it’ put some pads down and went for it.
Now it started well, did the hand traverse (crimps) to the good mid way slot, great … so far so good.
Next up was a big slap which for me was the crux and I knew I had to catch it right, I make myself commit and ….. damn it … I’ve caught it wrong and I cant re adjust.
I can only try to keep climbing so I move my leg up (hip height) move my left hand next to my high right one (sloper, only abusable for balance). I look at the last hold and had that sickening feeling in my stomach knowing from practice that if I try to go for it with my right hand the way it is I would pop off and take a long fall onto my shoulder which would definitely be bad and a one way trip to injury street.
So I look down and the pads look a long way down (about 5 metres ish) they also look quite small from this height but reluctantly I had to let go 😦

Down I go and bang I crumple into the pads, alot harder than I was expecting but I think the uneven floor made it worse. I’m laying on the floor a little stunned and James pats me on the back lol I appear not to be hurt at all, so I stood up and ‘ouch’ my hip gives me a stabbing pain. I go to walk and it’s making me limp, feels like a sprained ankle but in my hip … hmm I hope this isn’t bad.
Luckily it only made me limp for that evening but that along with the feeling of being punched in the chest made for a definite pub visit.

Anyway, I woke up on the Saturday with total psyche to get on ‘Ai no corrida’. I have no idea where the extra motivation came from but there it was.
So I jumped out of bed only too happy to find that my hip didn’t hurt per say, only a little stiff.
I woke Lauren up and dragged her out of bed, took her to a garden centre to say thanks for coming out to belay me and then headed to the bottom of the route.

So I start climbing place the gear (its fairly low down but would cushion a fall from below the crux) I got to the crux move, you have to clamp your heel by your right hand ready to do a big role over to a hold on the arête. I freaked out at the thought of falling and landing on the sharp fin below me and down climbed …. twice. Hmm maybe I’m not ready, maybe I should come back another day.
I get Lauren to belay me as I go to get the gear out and decide to give it one more go,

This time I clamp and role into the arête knowing now that I can’t down climb and that a fall from here on in would be a ground fall on a nasty landing (even with one pad) … crap my palms are sweaty from nerves … I grab a pinch with my left hand, get two smears with my feet, bump the left hand up again, scrabble up and pray I’m about to have some better holds and boom 🙂 jugs at the top of the arête, perfect time to chalk up and get my head together and finally pull over the last metre or so of easy climbing.

So there I was, I’ve done it, I can’t believe it, my goal, my dream 🙂 a reality and so I let out a shout of relief and joy at having achieved what I wanted and being in one piece.

Hopefully this is just the beginning of what could be a good grit season.

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