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Sunny April Saturday

Date: 18th April 2009
Submitted by: Anthony Feeney

It was Colm's 16th birthday on Sunday, so on the Saturday I took him and 3 mates for a rock climbing morning followed by a paintball afternoon in Culdaff. Approaching the crag I got talking to Gerry Hamilton who delighted in telling me about putting up the new route Cheating Bitch (S) way back in 1981. He and his mates pulled off the big boulders that lie scattered at the base of SRS Slabs and totally transformed the face from the briar infested mess it was back then. So we've him to thank?

He'd a bus load of teenagers (3rd group that day) arriving and as they took over SRS I took my wee group to Absent Friends V (HS) and Bluebelle (D). Despite again repeatedly showing Colm the belay techniques of take-in and slack I wasn't totally confident of his ability which made the interesting start to Friends a bit MORE interesting. Maybe that's why the nut I placed after the move round the nose was absolutely bomb proof.

At the top Gerry explained that Absent Friends V was named thus by Brian McDermott because his mates were all away in a Northern Ireland expedition to Peru. The "V" is for the 5 possible ways to finish the route after the nose move.

Colm huffed up on a very tight rope but he had the respect of his mates, which I guess was the point in me taking him up it. Is there anything more braggadocious than a 16 year old with something to boast about? The other 3 lads scooted up Bluebelle easily and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.

I phoned to wish Alan a happy birthday and to borrow a hammer for the stuck-fast nut which neither I nor Colm could retrieve. Pete and PJ were planning to fit in a few routes and so they ended up getting it for me. Pete also had a go at Fluid Inclusions (HVS) just to keep the competitive spirit alive, but it was good to see the big guy back on form.

As for the paintball my team beat Colm's 3-1 though he exacted some revenge with a stinging close quarters shot that left a lovely bruise on my right forearm. Getting me back for all those thick ears? Top Tip: NEVER volunteer to be the president's bodyguard. You're just a great big target. Ouch!

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