...Driving down, I knew the conditions would be excellent for climbing (if you could stay warm enough to perform at your peak!) as Dorset was blanketed with light snow and the temperature was baltic!
After a short jog, Martyn and I, joined a group of boulderers (nice to see other people climbing in the field, besides myself, for a change) to warm up on the Cracked Boulder. The friction was incredible but it took a lot of effort to pry the fingers open and attach them to the rock. After repeating all the problems on the Cracked Boulder we decided to move on to the Toll Booth Arete (V7).
I initially struggled to repeat this problem as I could not clamp the right hand pinch hard enough to throw for the left hand crimp. The warmth had left my hands and the cold had settled in and was not going to dissipate without a fight! Martyn thought I could probably do a massive move directly onto the crimp therefore eliminating the need to use the pinch. I gave it a few goes and I managed to land this. This eliminate version probably would probably go at V8.
I then decided to try the project I had started months before. After linking most of the moves together, I decided a direct finish would be wise as the traverse tends to restrict you. This particular move was quite difficult and requires 1 more session to complete then the new line will be realised. This will probably go at V9 which would make it one of the hardest problems in the field. Exciting times!
We finally gave in to the cold and decided to beat a hasty retreat out of the boulderfield. I wanted to have a couple attempts at the difficult project I started the week before. My finger hadn’t completely healed but I thought it would hold up long enough to stick the crux move…bad decision! Within 3 attempts of placing my weight on the razor crimp, blood began to appear. I tried applying finger tape to stop the flow (note to self - should have done this beforehand – not the sharpest knife in drawer) to no avail. I had to call it a day and come back when my finger had healed fully. Reluctantly I packed my bag and left...
Lesson learned – take more warmth when conditions are freezing, tape finger before pulling on katana-style edges and look after your skin (you tend to need it)!!!