spiders and limpets

There were giant metal remote controlled spiders in EICA tonight – there’s a big climbing competition going on in there (the European Youth Cup) next weekend, and all the instructors are busy route-setting. The spiders are, I suppose, a variety of cherry-picker, but they have much longer legs and arms, and they have extra-creepy bendy bits so they can get into all the corners. Although supposedly carrying the route-setters up the wall, there are times when it looks as though they’re about to pick people off… and eat them.

However, obviously not all routes are set by machine. We watched in awe tonight as a climber checked a route up the big hangar wall. I swear at one point he was hanging on by his left kneecap and his right ear – half the arena came to a standstill while he did the last few moves right at the top. And then you remember that these routes, which look completely impossible, are actually being set for under-eighteens…

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