|Volume 1, No. 4
Back in one piece after our excursion to that little island off the south west coast of England, Lundy. Other than to say it's a climber's paradise.... you'll have to wait for next month's issue, to get the gory details...
Three Contest in this month's Mountain
What? Did you say enough about the awards? Ok, but all I wanted to say was that one of them was the "MSN Pick of the Week" site, and the other were one of the last awards made by the NCSA, before they discontinued the service which led to numerous "Cool Sites", "Site of the Day/Week/Month/Year", etc. And that "MSN Pick of the Week" selects only three sites each week, in six different categories, and that NCSA selected only 25 sites each week as their "What's New Top 25" - and that we were there for the week of 17 - 21 June 1996 and... ok, ok....
Till next time!
The Bo(u)lder Approach?
Climbers are occasionally witness to strange sights. Perhaps more than any other sport, climbing has its share of weird and wonderful characters. Climbers are usually instantly recognised in a crowd. In the old days they were easily identified by their wild and tattered look as they headed with single-minded determination toward some steep and ice-filled gully in atrocious weather, ragged rucksack and hawser rope around their shoulders. These days climbers can be spotted more by the outrageous colours of their lycra tights than anything else. Yep, styles change but climbers are still more often than not considered weird and unfathomable creatures by the general public.
So what, you think? You're a climber, you happen to think a three-piece suit and the invention of the cell-phone is proof the human race is completely insane. Well, there are times when even hardened climbers have to scratch their heads and wonder at other... um, can we even call them climbers? The CragRat is no stranger to weirdness. However, existential re-evaluation of his Universal niche was recently stimulated when, upon arrival at a remote and pristine climbing area he encountered strange humanoid forms, wandering about with mattresses strapped to their backs. They would pace around single boulders no more than a few metres high, squinting at the rock surface. Initial fear turned to curiosity when lo, he discovered they were climbers! Curiosity turned back to fear when he saw the microscopic edges and hellish slopers these climbers called grips.
This is a subspecies that can be found at locations throughout the world. There are many famous names among them. You can find Todd Skinner and Scott Milton at Hueco, Fred Nicole at Fontainbleau and Jason Myers at Stanage. These are the BOULDERERS. They have shed their rope in favour of ultra-hard "problems" at ground level, where they may spend days working on only single moves.
Back to CragRat who finds himself flat on his back in the dust, four chalk-covered paws above him in contact (barely) with a roof of rock above him. He is about to try a bouldering route. The word "route" is perhaps used in a slightly different context to what he is used to, there are no bolts or gear placements and the route is only four moves long. Its name is Titanium Fingers and CragRat has been told the grade is V13. Being unfamiliar with this strange grading system, he has been told it's a warm-up grade. He is game for anything. He goes for it!
He can't even get off the ground. Red in the face, sweating and gasping, the tips of his toes white with exertion, he has moved exactly a quarter of an inch. He has been sandbagged. Temporarily apoplectic with mirth, the cheerful boulderers inform our poor CragRat he has just attempted what amounts to a French 8b! Embarrassed and relieved all at once (and with certain knowledge that had he succeeded, a name-change to BragRat might have been in order), he bids these strange beings with the nasty sense of humour farewell and goes in search of genuine weirdness.
Back when sport climbing was new, old-timers would grumble that new routes weren't multi-pitch. In this game, apparently multi-MOVE is old hat.
" Bill Shamblin explains how the "Blueberry Factor" can be used to find uncrowded climbs!
The Bo(u)lder Approach
Number 3 - August 1996
Number 2 - July 1996
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