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Topic Date User
Aiding is for whimps... 10-Jun-2009 At 5:08:29 AM Sarah Gara
omg how untrue is that statement!

I went to Dove dale in Staffordshire in the UK on Saturday for my first aiding experience. The route was in a limestone cave and got A3 -but has since been bolted (which really I kinda that cheating?) and therefore is no where near that level so not sure why I mentioned...anyway...

Mike lead the route bit off phaffing about at the beginning but by the 2nd bolt he had his technique sorted and had blocked out my whining that it was cold and of various other random observations I had about the various insects, unsual shaped trees etc that strayed (yes we have walking trees in the UK? ) into my line of vision. -Belaying for aiding is slightly more boring isn't it...flippin heck! Anyway he finished the route made it look pretty easy and instilled me with confidence that yeah nee bother I can do this, well easier than trad -you can cheat and pull on things.

How wrong could I be...

So it was my turn. I did the first two bolts without much effort -as they were very close together could have perhaps started at the second on they were that close to where I could stand. Now I'm led to believe that it's usual practise for the second to Jumar up to clear the route -well we didn't do this we aided it but stripping the route as I went. By the fourth bolt I was getting pissed off. Why did they put the bolts so far apart? What was this shite that was all over the ceiling of the cave that was getting on me that looked, even if it didn't smell like poo (did see a pretty cool dragonfly/moth type thing hanging from the roof though) And how hard is it flipping lifting your weight of blinking fifi hooks.

Mike's never been one for telling you what to do therefore he was letting me learn my own way.. I kinda realised that if you go perpendicular on the etriers that it makes it eaasier to move up them etc.. and I was starting to have fun.

Then my extendible cord on my fifi hook jammed so I couldn't loosen it and I couldn't get high enough to release the fifi hook as the distance from my harness to the fifi hook was too small and the roof of the cave was too near my flippin head -I mentioned the poo... So after about half an hour of grunts and whines and Mike's (frankly irritating) advice of "you need to lift your weight off the fifi hook" (- I FLIPPIN KNOW!!!) I decided to cry.

I forgot to mention that I had also had a krab that decided to twist around so that my weight the fifi hook were just on the gate.. -I eventually put another quickdraw in the bolt which I then moved the etriers to this which made feel safer.

So I'm now stuck, my other extendible fifi hook cord is pulling me towards the next bolt, and crying which was when I realised that I was being ridiculous and that crying was not going to get me anywhere. So with a blast of fury I managed to (as someone may have mentioned) to get my weight completely of the fifi hook and free myself and move over to the next bolt. Whoo hoo new lease of life I like aiding again...

I now had the task of removing the quickdraws from the previous bolt which was too far and had two krabs in it and I was just too knackered. A further 20min of me failing miserably because they were stuck...

On the next route though Sam was having a similar problem and he had already done the lower of shame... So I joined him deciding that aiding really wasn't for me.

And how sore were my thighs and stomach muscles on Sunday -it still hurts when I cough. I should mention that Mike didn't even have the decency to pretend that it was difficult to get the two krabs out - git!

So there you go M9, good enough for chocolate? I may try it again but think I'd prefer a non bolted route on vertical rather that a cave -would that be easier do you think? But my respect for aid climbers has increased loads it's well difficult. I have, also this week had that horrible feeling knowing that something has beaten me -I may just have to put myself through it all again to finish the route...not for a few weeks yet though. x

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