I wake up to my alarm. It’s 4pm on Thursday afternoon and I’m in the middle of a string of nightshifts. I quite literally roll out of bed, put some clothes on, grab my climbing bag, and ten minutes later find myself driving up Glen Nevis.
Dave Macleod had suggested I try an E5 in Glen Nevis called Black Friday. I had casually agreed and not thought too much more about it…until suddenly here I was at the base of the route, lost in the world of nightshiftdelirium!
He is making a short film promoting Poldubh for the Nevis Landscape Trust, and was keen for some footage of people “trying hard”. Given that I had never climbed E5 before, I felt confident I could create the impression of trying hard!
Dave had very kindly cleaned the route for me, and set up a rope so I could practice the moves and learn the gear. Jamie had very kindly come to belay, and Kevin had joined the party with a second camera. Suddenly I felt scared!!! I sort-of hoped that the route would feel really hard, and I could just put in some mileage then save the leading stress for another day.
After two top-ropes, I suddenly felt myself flooded with adrenaline because I realised I could do it!!! It’s a familiar feeling that rush of energy and fear, when you realise a route is within your grasp and “all” that remains is the execution. Is it fear of falling or fear of failure? It’s hard to say!
The light was fading as I tied in for “the send”. Calm head, familiar moves, feeling good! I got up to the crux section and talked myself through the moves and the gear. Got it, let’s go! Feeling steady, through the roof, and then I spent a bit too long fiddling in a huge cam. Move out left, grab the flake, laybacking, and grab the jug, YES! Celebrating in my head, when suddenly, my foot slips, and I am flying through the air. The big cam rips and I’m left swinging in space feeling absolutely robbed!