They are in the process of replacing the roof at Ratho: given the size and height of the arena, I presume it’s going to take some time. After all, Ratho is just a giant quarry which is pretending to be an indoor climbing arena and although it doesn’t have many of the advantages ones normally associates with indoors (warmth, consistent lighting) it is normally rainproof… Last week that was not the case, and some of the walls were so wet that climbing shoes just slid off them and the chalk which accumulates on the holds was glued together in a sort of gooey, lumpy way. It was an interesting experience, but one that I hope we don’t have to try too often.
Tonight, however, it felt like it does on the best evenings – it was a little chilly, but not too bad, and they’ve installed a handy and hand-warming coffee and tea stall at the entrance to the arena (the lass in charge of the tea and coffee urns was cuddled up in a puffa jacket); I presume someone has told them about my caffeine issues, and they’ve done that just for me! It was our first climb after the clocks changed, so it was getting dark when we arrived, but it didn’t feel too dim and dingy, and the green safety netting hanging underneath the roofer’s walkways made the place feel almost cozy. And the arena was full to the gunnels, and buzzing happily too. I climbed lots of routes, some old and some new, and I got to the top of everything without being too hippo-ish. I even managed to sort out a bit in a balancy-tip-your-weight-around climb, that I have always done rather clumsily before. I finally found the graceful way, the one that makes me feel more like a real climber!
So the question is, did I climb well because the atmosphere was good, or did I feel more positive because I climbed well?