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Punk in the Gym: Shrivel-Dick in the Lakes

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I normally don’t like running book excerpts since they drop you into the middle of a scene/story, and I’m never able to really follow what the heck is going on. I made an exception with this one, however, because I found it funny and interesting enough to make me want to read more. Plus, the early 1980s British counter-culture climbing scene is one of the wildest, most storied eras in our sport, a time when people were free to run around and act likeutter derelicts and dirtbags—aka, my kind ofpeople. Hope you enjoy this drug-addled, dick-shriveled excerpt from AndyPollitt’s forthcomingbook,Punk in the Gym. Also, be sure to watch the three videos from Mt. Arapilesat the end that I embedded. Classic!—AB
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Photo: Glenn Robbins

TheLakes, Shrivel-dick and Vaudeville

A few of us spent New Year 1983–84 in Ambleside in the Lake District—a beautiful place where Chris’s girlfriend “Roo” lived (Roo as in Rooley, not Kanga). Some friends of mine were staying in the town too, having just arrived from the Midlands, and this most certainly added to the ‘Amble-iance’ of the place, especially as they’d brought “gear” with them. Loads of it, and “Ha-Ha!” we naughty few laughed, demonically, as we took turns sniffing at the little packets.
Roo (non-participator in our nonsense) had booked us in to Zeffirelli’s—the more upmarket restaurant of the two in town that could be bothered opening—where we all congregated for supper and sang Auld Lang Syne gaily as the snowflakes fell outside the pretty, candlelit windows …
Rubbish! It was degging it down and we were all rat-arsed, no one gave a toss about the snow and by my count at least three of us were off our heads … Upmarket my … —we were a flippin’ disgrace!
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Scotch Ben had spag bol or something tomato-ey all down his “clean” shirt (clean meaning the lesser-worn one) and a friend of Judith’s took this length of spaghetti in her mouth and … went, “Pwap, ahh” and licked her lips at the end, winking at me… “I’m in,” I thought and went to boot my mate under the table but instead caught someone else square on the knee. “Sorry lass!” Ben knew exactly what I meant and smirked quietly.
It was a welcome change from the Porter Cottage in Hunters Bar, as well as being my first-ever New Year away from my Welsh North Wales. “The shoplifting’s piss-easy,” I wrote on a postcard to my Mum. “Surprisingly lax security for such a bustling town” – see if she ever read ‘em, as Mum would’ve been more interested in the “pretty photo” side depicting Loch Ness or whatever pond it was those Lakelanders were so proud of.
Just not the general store though: “They’re our friends, And.”
“OK, understood Jude.”
“…ith,” Chris chips in… “It’s … ith.” I thought he was lisping. “Jude-ith, And.”
“Oh, sorry, can I have an ‘e’ as in ‘And-e’then Christopher?” And we’re off … clutching sides in agony … dying flies, Stellas tumbling over.
I put on a particularly lovely hand-knitted woolly jumper and walked straight out of the “Particularly Lovely Hand-Knitted Woolly Jumper” shop wearing a “touristy special”—a £99 price tag slapped over a 14-quid one hanging off the back and the hanger still inside the neck, a great big question mark sticking up. Hmm, naughty indeed.
I awoke that first Lakeland morning in the bed of Judith’s randy friend—the spaghetti slurper from Zeffirelli’s had struck—exactly as Chris and Basher had prewarned me she might!
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Photo: Glenn Robbins

First proper day there and Tim and I got to sample the thuggish delights of the Bowderstone after a lengthy “hitch and hike: down (or is it up?) Borrowdale. This impressive boulder played host to Pete Kirton and Jerry’s ultimate power problems. Inaudible Vaudevillewas a classic and that afternoon is the first I can recall of feeling that initial vague, dull ache in my shoulders. Confession time: I’d snorted two thick lines of speed—my first ever, so threw and threw and threw myself at those severely overhanging problems, unable to sit still and rest between goes, garbling giggly gibberish at a million miles an hour with Tim, but loving every minute of life, totally whizzing. Damn the cold. We ran down to the gate and back … garbling more about The Bowderiser.
More “lines” that evening and round two in the fart sack with “what’s-her-face.”
“Does funny things to me that speed … ” I say, apologetically … previous night we’d banged like a shithouse door in a storm … for ages … but now, down there, I looked like I’d just walked out of a freezing-cold lake. No penis. None. Not even a shrunken, tidily thing—nothing! Gone inside. Not coming out to play … and I’m in a hot, nude chick’s bed. Fuck! Or not, as the case may be.
“It’s called shrivel-dick you useless prat … ” she mocked, not even feigning sympathy.
“How long does it last?” (Horrified.)
“A couple of days, see ya, I’m off out.”
“Aww, well fuck me!”
“I would if you were up to it … ” and slammed the door.
Two more “speedy” days and I hitched back to Hunters Bar, but spent a day and a half in bed on the come-down, curled up in the fetal position, sobbing, unable to get up and absolutely hating life, wishing I was dead. I swore I’d never touch that stuff again – and to this very day I haven’t. Zippy, by then resident at no. 84, would pop up to check on me from time to time. I’ll never forget that … “Top bloke,” Zips, as we say in “Upsidedownland.”

About the Author

www.boulderingonline.pl Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news pollitt_web Andy Pollitt was born in Prestatyn, North Wales, on 26 October 1963. He grew up in Dyserth village and was introduced to climbing at school by Andy Boorman, one of his school teachers. He was immediately hooked, and the two Andys would go on to become lifelong friends.
Following his apprenticeship, and over the course of the 1980sand early ’90s, Andy Pollitt went on to become one of Britain’s most iconic climbers, pushing standards with friends Jerry Moffatt, Martin ‘Basher’ Atkinson and others. He made early repeats of legendary routes such as John Redhead’s The Bells, The Bells! on Gogarth’s North Stack Wall, and cutting-edge first ascents of his own, including The Hollow Man on North Stack, and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door on Peak District gritstone. In 1992, after forty-four days of attempts spread over three trips to Australia across two years, he nally redpointed Wolfgang Güllich’s route Punks in the Gym (the world’s first 5.14a) at Mount Arapiles, and then immediately gaveup climbing—for good. Andy has lived in Melbourne, Australia,since 1993 where he has enjoyed a successful career in therope-access industry.

AboutPunk in the Gym, (from Vertebrate Publishing)

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Andy Pollitt is as close to a Hollywood A-lister as the climbing world will ever get.Alongside co-stars like Jerry Moffatt, John Redhead and Malcolm ‘HB’ Matheson, he brought us sexy climbing—gone were the beards and woolly socks. Andy was all skin-tight pink Lycra, vests and brooding looks.
For those watching, Andy Pollitt had it all.But Punk in the Gym gives us the whole truth.The self-doubt, the depression, the drinking, the cigarettes, the womanizing,the injuries, the loss of a father and the trouble that brings, and a need for something—for recognition, a release for the pain, and, for Andy, more drinking, more tears, bigger run-outs.
With nothing held back, Andy tells his roller-coaster story from the U.K. to Australia, exactly as it happened. Exposing his fragile ego and leaving us to laugh, cry, marvel and judge, this is a sports autobiography like no other.
www.boulderingonline.pl Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Remember When You Were That Stoked?

Brad Patchin enjoying a tasty Desert Pickle, Wall of Confusion, Red Rocks, NV.

Driving the loop road in Red Rocks a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t help but notice all the people climbing in the direct sun. It was 80 degrees out and all the popular spots were surprisingly crowded for how “bad” the conditions were. My initial reaction was wow, those people are insane, it must be so hot! But then I actually got a little bit jealous, as I realized that they were so stoked to be there, they couldn’t care less what the “conditions” were like.
“Don’t you miss being that psyched?” I asked a friend as we talked about this on the way into a climb in one of the canyons. “That time when climbing was so new and so exciting that you just went and did it, and it didn’t matter if it was too hot or too cold or what the climbs were like, you were CLIMBING, and that alone was all that mattered?” I was reminded of a time when I was in college, a particularly cold weekend in the Gunks. It was cloudy and misty the whole weekend, but we still went and got it done, and had a great time. I probably wouldn’t even leave the house now with that kind of weather.
For most of us, it seems that the longer we climb, the more that raw enthusiasm fades and we become more selective about what is required for a “good” climbing day. The conditions have to be right, there can’t be too many (any?) people, the climbing needs to have maximum stars, etc.
Looking at all the people at the Gallery that day, who undoubtedly were sweating their asses off in the afternoon sun, I knew I’d be on the struggle bus if I was there with them. But I bet they were having a great time, and that simplicity, that one focus, the joy of climbing for the incredible awesomeness of what it is, that’s the one thing I’d love to bring back to my climbing this year.
This past weekend we climbed at a sunny local cliff, in conditions that at some point in the past I might have complained about being too hot. But after a long winter of not climbing, I’ve decided I want to be as stoked as those people at the Gallery, letting the love of climbing be enough. Even when the conditions aren’t “good,” I still want to be having as much fun as I can.
So if you see me out at the cliff in the full sun and it’s pretty hot, ask me how I’m doing. If I don’t seem stoked, call me out, because I should be, I’m rock climbing!!!

www.boulderingonline.pl Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Review: Cypher Codex Climbing Shoe

When we were first asked to try out the Cypher Codex climbing shoe, we weren’t too familiar with the Cypher brand. Based on their website, the U.S. based company makes a variety of climbing shoes, approach shoes and various climbing hardware. The Codex was designed for steep climbing and thin edges, something I am very fond of thrashing my feet upon. The 4.2mm Vibram XS Grip sole gives way to the stiff downturn shape of the shoe. I’ve seen some of these styles of stiff downturn shoes hit the market lately and they seem to be a big hit. The stiffness allows the climber to transfer power to their toe better by keeping the foot firmly in a downward position.
The Codex was tough to get on and felt like I was going to rip the pull loop off on the back heel, but it appears to be held firmly in place. The sizing was accurate to my street shoe sizing for them to be firmly snug but not painful. There is not much in terms of flexibility with this shoe, but the firmness of the rubber gave way to some flexibility after a longer period of use. As mentioned, they worked well on the steep bouldersbut also worked well on more vertical terrain.
The edging of the Cypher Codex behaved exactly what it was billed to do. I was only able to send the Farley problem called Dope (v8) while wearing these shoes. The edge that you have to start on is slightly larger than a dime’s width, which gives the problem its grade. The stiff edging of the Codex was perfect for the troublesome micro edges in my life.

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Micro-edge starting foot of Dope (v8) at Farley

The stiff 4.2 mm rubber sole comes with a caveat: a lack of sensitivity. If you need sensitivity for whatever you’re climbing, the Codex doesn’t provide much in that area. I had some minor foot fumbling at times due to my lack of confidence it was in the right place for the move I was trying to execute. This was, however, not a hindrance in terms of overall climbing performance.
Overall, the Codex impressed very well. The shoe is ideal for the intermediate to advanced climber looking to push their boundary on thin edges and steep terrain. As with all terrain intended/specified shoes, they won’t be ideal for all climbing types. If you’re a boulderer or steep sport climbing junkie, then these will work great. Also, the Codex comes with a great price point. Ringing in at $120 is a great deal when you consider the price point of most major brands with similar styles check out at about $170 or more. If these shoes peak your interest, they can be bought on the Cypher website at www.cypherclimbing.com.
Read more: http://www.climberism.com/review-cypher-codex-climbing-shoe/
www.boulderingonline.pl Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Rhythm
Rhythm.
For me climbing is all about rhythm, not just while actually climbing, but with regard to everything that being a climber encompasses. Without regular practice, it is hard to keep your climbing game sharp, so for me it is really important to maintain that regular rhythm of going to the gym or climbing outside multiple times per week. Any deviation from that throws me out of my rhythm and it can be hard to get back into the flow of things.
Writing this blog is much the same.
I’m sure many of you have noticed my prolonged absence from posting on this site.. It has been a struggle to pinpoint why I haven’t been posting lately, but then I realized… it was all about rhythm.
If there is one thing that allowed me to post on this site almost daily for 8 years, it was maintaining a consistent rhythm of posts. Work, my climbing, real life, vacations, I didn’t allow any of it to throw me out of my rhythm. I got up most everymorning and put something up on this site. For a long time, it was smooth sailing.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing though. The rhythm I once enjoyed started to falter the past couple of years, especially during my two year stint in Boulder. I thought that when I returned to life in Wisconsin three months ago the rhythm would return, and for a few weeks around ABS Nationals it did. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a fleeting moment.
I came to a realization: I don’t have the same passion I once did for staying in the necessary rhythm to update this site on a daily basis.
What does this mean going forward? Well, I’m not really sure. The one thing I’m fairly certain about is that I don’t foresee posting about climbing news as much as I once did. The reasons for this are many: it seems like pretty much everyone is climbing 5.14d+ or V14+ these days, social media has made it much easier to follow the climbers you care about than when I started this site in 2007, and there are a lot of good media sources out there today doing a better job than I want to or could do right now.
This is not the end, though. I expect I will keep this site up for many years to come, and I suspect I will get the itch to return to writing about climbing, just not as frequently as I once did.
As always, a massive thank you to everyone who has read and supported the site these 8+ years. I could never have imagined all the positive things that would have come out of this experience when it first began, nor could I have foreseen all the great people that would come into my life as a part of it, sothank you.
Read more: http://climbingnarc.com/2015/04/rhythm/
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www.boulderingonline.pl Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Unsere Sein und Zeit: A romantic deconstruction.
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Unsere Sein und Zeit: A romantic deconstruction.
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