Best of 2019

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

With no prospect of any serious climbing happening anytime soon, I thought I'd revisit 2019, which was a classic year for my own climbing.

Every year UKBouldering has a great thread where people recount their successes and failures. It's a real community project. This was my entry for 2019.

Top 3 Trad

Most of my climbing was trad this year, so a difficult choice!

Black Magic at Pentire. Easily the best route and performance of the year for me. Went down intending to do Darkinbad, but couldn't figure out the start and thought I might break my legs if I went for it. There was no chalk on the cliff, we'd already done Eroica to warm up. I thought I'd "have a look" at Black Magic, but I know a couple of people who I consider to be better than me who've fallen off/not finished it. I figured I could climb into the finish of Darkinbad if nothing else to make a better protected pitch. I scoped out the line stood back from the cliff, but I didn't actually read the description and had no idea how runout it was higher up. By that point I was committed anyway and all of the tiny wires slotted in well enough that I just kept moving. I had a long pause at the top of the groove, desperate not to mess it up at that point and pacing back and forth swapping feet. I eventually committed to one of the options and made a tenuous step through, drawing on all of those off balance finishes to a boulder problem at the wall. What a ride, I'd emptied my rack into the face and been in that proud bubble of determined concentration for longer than I've managed in a while.

Just Another Day/Scorch the Earth, Huntsman's Leap. On the list for years, and always conveniently occupied when I wanted to try it. Even though it's got a reputation for being soft the idea of it had made it a big deal in my mind. It felt pretty straightforward though and it was good to feel I climbed it in control.

Heaven's Door, Stackpole. That second pitch is just lovely, feels really out there for an E3, but everything you need comes to hand when you need it. I was pretty intimidated by this despite good form this summer, I think I'd had a few weeks off before doing it.

Top 3 Sport

Didn't do a lot of sport this year, one trip to Spain and odd days here and there.

I Walk the Line, Blacknor. I found the moves to and from the big flattie very satisfying.

Nightglue, Pen Trwyn. I got spanked by this when "hill fit" but not "sport fit" a few years ago.

Si vas niquel fas tard, Sirunella Central. Got a bit of a spanking from this, mate got a good "elbows up" picture of me on a failed attempt. Exposed some weaknesses, but I got it in the end, including one heartbreaking fall from the final jug.

Top 3 DWS

Did the Magical Mystery Tour and Rainbow Bridge (both parts, fell off the crux). What a great day!

Top Spankings

Oh dear, oh dear. I was pleased to be uninhibited with getting on stuff, but I messed up a fair few routes this year!

Right Wall. Messed up the gear, missed an important runner and couldn't commit. Was going well though, one for this year.

Barbarella. Tried this over a couple of weekends and got totally shut down by the crux. I think a lack of sport power was to blame.

The Axe. Stupidly listened to my mate that this would be a good warm up. A pretty chilly and misty day and enormous numbers fo blackflies about, a deservedly unpleasant belay for him and a spanking for me! Got to the top at least, but I got flash pumped on the traverse after the initial overhang when I couldn't find any gear and struggled to commit to the next move.

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©2019 Wil Treasure