We were sat in the Caban café having lunch when he reminded me of the time him and Hocking had sandbagged me on Trilogy on Raven crag in Langdale when I was 16. Some people say I sandbag now and then but this was a different level with these sods telling me the main e5 pitch on Trilogy was the HVS Pluto. I was leading around HVS at the time and remember huffing and puffing and my big glasses glazing over with sweat whilst hearing the sniggering of my ‘friends’ on the periphery of my mind. I eventually managed to clip a thread at 20 foot before falling but looking back I wish I’d decked out on top of both of them.
Adam took myself and several friends on our first trips to Wales in 1996/7, generally staying at Erics café campsite, with Adam knowing Eric from previous holidays and who is one of the greats of UK climbing, doing remarkable solos back in the day. These first trips involved lots of antics from barefoot solos, rescues, friends taking huge lobs, whiteys and a mannequin sacrificed down the Rainbow slab.
It was appropriate Adam had reappeared in my life as it was on the 1st trip to Wales I did my first route in the extreme rock book, Vector with Wez hunter and this year I was hoping to finish the last 7 which should be an achievable aim if my wrist continued to improve with my recovery strategy. On Vector I remember Wez hating the exposure on the traverse pitch and having to come back to the belay cave, I wore vector shoes that were way too tight and remember the pain and relief when I slipped them off at the top. Adam was also my partner on my most memorable extreme rock experience on Masters Wall where he was forced to save my arse and where the story struggles to come close to how lucky an escape it was.
A few days before our Caban lunch I was ensconced a few metres from the top of my first new route of the year doing a fair amount of swearing. It was high up in the aptly named Mordor area of the slate quarries. I’d placed the bolts in the route the evening before, in the last 20 minutes of daylight and had almost not bothered placing the top bolt which would have been a truly dim move as the moves near the end are still tricky and without the top one you’d end up sailing back down most of the face if you fell. After a few more minutes the expletives won and Ferdia seconded having to do the last ten metres in the near dark.
It was a better pitch than I’d expected and we named it after my main heroine, Greta Thunberg. Climate change is one of those big things everyone likes to ignore because it’s likely inconvenient to their lives and/or too big a deal to bother doing anything about. It is however a big elephant or bus in the room that few people want to look at, and painted on the side could be the words ‘your thoughtless decisions, apathy and lifestyles now are fucking your childrens future’.
Since then other youths have been inspired to take action and a global movement of climate protests which are involving hundreds of thousands of people and looking likely to increase to millions are up and running, getting the attention of world leaders and very importantly what she’s started is looking like it could make a big impact. Not bad for an invisible girl who suffered from depression at age 11 and was later diagnosed with Aspergers. Greta has made a ‘call to arms’ shout which has been answered.
On the 15th March there will be more than 500 events listed across 51 countries worldwide, it’s worth checking out the map: https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/events/map. I’ll be joining the Manchester or Liverpool protest. The youth strikes which occurred on the 15th February were criticised by the UK government as wasting teachers’ time and how the young people should be learning to be engineers to tackle climate change. However Thunberg hit back at the Conservative government, saying on Twitter that political leaders had wasted 30 years by not taking action against climate change.
Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy and Climate Change at Manchester University had this to say about the youth movement “In just a few months a new global constituency has emerged, whose voices are loud and demands cogent. It’s up to the rest of us to listen to, engage with and then act for and with them. We owe them thanks for saying what most of us know, but have been too afraid to acknowledge”.
Back to the realm of rock climbing there is another line next to Greta Thunberg which will be called the Invisible Girl. The day after climbing Greta Thunberg myself and Duncan Cunningham (the youngest of the exceedingly strong trio of Bros) climbed the pillar opposite, calling it Suck my karma. It isn’t the best new route I’ve ever done but if you look at it in the morning light I think the pillar of rock looks a lot like a huge version of my middle finger which I like to think is aimed towards much of the Tory party and any other spoiled chodes.
Niall was also becoming far too bold…my arch enemy in the office. As I was going to be involved with the Extinction Rebellion group but wasn’t too psyched on getting arrested I was thinking about a plan to use Niall. Maybe to drug him, dress him in a polar bear suit and lay him in the middle of the Princess road to stop the traffic getting into Manchester with some Environmental banners next to him….perhaps the next BMCTV episode.
Watching the new generation of super climbers competing in the Welsh Champs and CWIF has definitely got me motivated to try and get back to 2011/12 form, if that’s in a realm of possibility for an aging trad climber!
It was certainly going to be payback time for James Williams who had done some amount of ribbing whilst my wrist was truly gammy…..so much payback Gaenz.
I’ll be down LPT a lot from April to start chucking myself at Sea of Tranquility and hope to see Emma do her Big Bang mission. Rumour has it that Ben Bransby and Pete Robins are going to go head to head on trying to do the first ascent of the Top Dog, 9a project on the Diamond, perhaps there will be scenes like those of Robins and Dyer on Megalopa.
Don’t forget to get yourselves along to one of the youth protests(all ages welcome) if you get the chance, 15th March with more lined up in mid-April and read up about Greta Thunberg, the invisible girl, a great story which is still unfolding.