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Choosing a name is always tricky. My latest project was a route out of and then back into the classic Malham 8c ‘Batroute’. But since I’ve spent a good deal of my time on various routes at Malham, including this one, hanging upside down by my toes perhaps the name of ‘Batman’ should have come straight away.
But grading is harder. Not so important for me to put a number on it as I have nothing left to prove, except that I’m not totally over the hill, but perhaps that’s only to myself! I’ll never make superstar status now, I’ll never manage 9b+; anything below that is old hat in terms of big news. So it doesn’t matter what ‘9’ it is; 9a, 9a+ or 9b is just off the pace. However, it’s not a bad thing to put some kind of marker on a route. It’s up to the first ascensionist to at least have a stab; in a way it’s their duty. Years ago I graded NorthStar 9a/+. Ondra repeated it and said that ‘for him it was 9a, but for someone of my height it would be definitely 9a+’. Not sure what grade that makes that route – but it shows one can never get things exactly right. This latest project I feel is similarly in the middle. 9a/+. It took longer than I expected and might make it into 9a+. I’d like to be more definite, but right now I’m not sure where I am with my climbing, having been injured most of last year and unsure as to whether I’m really on form, or actually pretty out of shape! But one thing is for sure, last year, due to injury, I was sure it was game over for hard climbing, so wherever I am with my climbing right now – it’s in a pretty good place!
Also I’d like to apologise for using the term “Alzheimer’s flash”, its one of those crag comments that I accidentally put on my Blog. It’s easy to forget you aren’t just writing to your mates, which is kind of how I use this Blog, and that people all over could read it and even just extract entire comments at will…..