Sieze The Moment.
Submitted by: Iain Miller
And Sho, a return to Aran Island.
The cunning plan was a tinker with the unclimbed 60m leviathan that sits below the light house at Rinrawros Point at the Northern end of the island. This stack sits in a cauldron of monster cliff's cliffs and alas this headland is notorious for mega white water violence as this is the place Neptune goes after a particularly heavy night on the pop and is in NO mood for any facker!
And Sho, I awoke the humble but tetchy Gri-Gri from it's stair well slumber and caught the next ferry to the island.
Upon arrival at the Lighthouse it was soon evident Neptune was in attendance, all be it in spirit only, as the sea was only mildly aggressive. A quick recce and a 200m paddle from a launch pad to the South was the plan of attack. This allowed for several methods of escape from the channel surrounding the beast, all of course were in the realms of fantasy, commitment was the only key to success.
Commitment, I pondered, as I stood 15ft above white water violence, dingy held in front of me, paddle on wrist, drybag full of toys corletted to a rollock on the vessel, a 60 full & 60 1/2 half ropes on my back and no-one on planet Earth knew where I was or what I was doing. The essense of a solo is simply to be totaly and utterly alone.
Lept into the sea holding the mighty vessel in front of me and BANG, began paddling along the base of the monster cliffs towards the cauldron of Neptunes hate 200m to the North. I kept about 50m out from the cliff base as I entered the channel into the cauldron of Hate, Neptune was in the building Y'ALL. Surging white water was lifting and falling by 3m all round the stack. The elected method of landing on the beast was to clove hitch the lanyard to my wrist and paddle full tilt at a distant jugs to catch it with right hand and hold on as the sea fell 3mtr taking the boat and toys with it, leaving me to jug haul onto the stackand haul the boat and toys up! HURRA! A 3* boulder problem probably slightly easier sans boat & toys? :-)
The route to the summit of the stack was the awesome landward ridge which is a true knife edge from sea level up 90m to the summit. Roping up for the last 40 or so metres as the exposure and atmos were a bit on the full on side. Standing on the pin point summit was awesome, the true embodiment of being alone are moments like these.
ANYWAYS, abbed/downclimbed down the ridge to the mighty vessel and in a moment of elation removed harness, all the toys and began to freesolo along the highwater mark along the base of the stacks North face. Once below the centre of the face climbed upto the huge black crater in the middle of the face, continued through it and onto the seaward summit on immaculate black rock, 50m of perfect black slab at V.Diff was the road to success. A swift down climb of the Landward Ridge and once more the mighty vessel and I were reunited. HURRA!
Alas to exit the stack another leap of faith and a furious paddle were required to exit the channel and out into the open and now, angry seas. As I had predicted my original launch pad and this whole stretch of coast were being battered by a hungover Neptune.
Paddled 200 or so metres from the coast and rode the swell bow on as a cunning plan or 10 were conjured and immediately dismissed as foolhardy. So, a return paddle into the furious cauldron of HATE and crash landed the mighty vessel on the the black slabs immediately below the lighthouse. HURRA! The path to the summit was a 50m 2 pitch route up the slab, carrying the boat deflated and rolled up "Robin Hood" stylee.
Arrived on the cliff tops just beside the lighthouse and began to laugh, emotions were currently in the upper stratosphere and all I could do was await the descent to normality and sanity before returning to the real world. :-)
Sieze the moment, hold it then let it go as the Beat goes on.