Thursday, March 1, 2012

How I went to the UK

I'm sat at home with this mug in front of me, with a load of memories from the latest trip waiting to be written down. Where to begin? I wish I was back there and still had a week left... It's amazing how things sometimes just take you on a full scale, completely blow your mind... Honestly, I love Britain, for long I've been fascinated by many things British: the climbing, people, the culture (I guess it has to do with most of us speaking English), so I really felt like going there once. I spent a week staying at my friends the Hamers, actually, there was a lot of people coming together for some climbing in the Peak District. A big part of the Ceuse 2k11 crew made it out: Ed and Sam, Ethan, Luke, Ted, Kitty... it was really nice to see all of them! A big shoutout to everyone, and especially to Ed, Sam and Denise for the amazing hospitality and making us feel like at home (and the hat, too!).
cracks & hats

I got to see the Stanage Plantation, we had a great day out even though it was really windy. It was great to see Ed crush the mega-classic, Brad Pit, 7c+ (with the help of my shoe, ha :D)! I tried it but saw no success, but I can say those blocks are world class and climbing on gritstone is great... the rock is something I'd never seen before, it's all black in colour, I guess it's some kind of sandstone but with very big crystals which make for awesome friction (seriously, it feels like sanding paper!). Unique to Britain haha!
Sam getting super close on Brad Pit... get it next time dude!

Since I mainly climb routes when I go outdoors, I was psyched to see Raven Tor, home of some very famous routes (even world's first 8c+, Ben Moon's Hubble). It's one of the few limestone crags of Britain, and I suppose it's quite old-school by now. Really, one can see why the Mecca of today's sport climbing is the almighty Spain (I wonder if they'd even bolt this piece of rock if it was in Catalunya?), but still, this place has history. A big, long and well earned history. Sadly, it was wet from the rain of the previous day (something that you're likely to have to put up with when in the UK), so we sacked the idea and spent the day eating fish and chips AND also doing some hardcore training on Ed and Sam's board (basically a small overhung wall in their garage, very fun stuff actually).
the WET Raven Tor... on this wall, there's Mecca, Hubble, Revelations, Mutation, Evolution, The Prow...

I was told I was lucky with the weather, frankly, I couldn't complain even by the euro standards: we only had one day of proper rain, and even that day turned out great with a BIG session at the famous Sheffield gym (the successor of The schoolroom?), The Climbing Works. The gym is really big and also it has a massive campus board! Proper British style!
word up

Probably one of the coolest days for me though was when I first tried trad climbing (yeah, the proper one... placing friends and nuts and wires and all that). Since I had absolutely no clue about how it's done I took it easy at first, doing some HVSs, which would probably be about... maybe F5a or something? Towards the end of the day I was getting on some harder stuff and managed to do E1 and E2! The climbing was still in the F6 range, but it took a lot more focus to find the protection... and somehow I didn't really want to fall, even though I was... quite sure about my placements :D
For some reason that I can't explain I really liked this sort of climbing, placing your own protection puts the whole thing into a different aspect and you may find routes that would have been piss if bolted very intimidating and challenging! In fact, I took to it so much that I'd have loved to go back, but it was already my last day in Sheffield so now I'm only left with a small taste of it and some amazing psyche to try some proper hard shit! Also I feel like I could much harder stuff so I'm curious to find out how hard I could go! And also see some other grit crags, the one we went to is a smaller one called Lawrencefield and we actually got here because Millstone (a bigger one, where Master's Edge is) was super windy.
Luke on an E2. The climbing must be only about 6a or 6b, but the line was great.

Ted on an E2

So I had to leave my friends but the trip was still not over, I met up with my brother who is on a student exchange in Cranfield, just north of London... I haven't seen him for a while so we thought a day out in London would be a good one! We're both quite into science and stuff so going to London, the Science Museum was an obvious choice! We got lost strolling through endless halls and I loved it, especially with a detailed insight into the exhibits provided by the upcoming great engineer by my side! BIG UPS BRO!!

All in all it was a great holiday, it was great so see all those people again, shout out to y'all! Cheers to Ethan and Kitty for the pics! See you soon I hope!

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