Milliseconds of Movement

Not really hard enough to stand out as one of the great Lakeland rock climbs, Slip Knott (VS, 4b - White Ghyll - Langdale) has long been regarded as a test piece for the aspirant VS leader and as the Fell and Rock guide states: it is justifiably popular. In fact the route is a soft touch at the grade, with the exception of one move - and in that one move, Slip Knott captures everything that makes the sport what it is.
For one endless moment, bridging the gap, the climber concentrates on every point of contact, the slightest shift of weight registering as toes arch and fingers curl around the sharp edges; the mind is free, instinctive calculation takes hold, balance is tested and weight shifted. An arm outstretched, sinews straining, reaching - and then commitment, a millisecond of perfect movement, fingers curl around the rough crimp, better holds appear above and the feet move, in balance once more - and in that instant it is done. The moment gone.
Yet the memory of that second remains. A moment of rare purity, of confrontation and commitment, it is the essence of climbing. Such is my memory of Slip Knott, climbed on a dry, unseasonably mild day in February.


robpealing said…
How old are these pics and what were they taken with? The definition is super.
It looks as if the climber is wearing EB's
Will Herman said…
Hi Rob,

The images are of me (The rock shoes Five-Ten newtons I think), taken on my old Nikon F90 - Ilford Delta 100 (B&W) film.
Climbed 14 Feb 2004 - a great day - we also climbed Do Not Direct and Waste Not, Want Not - both a bit harder and brilliant routes - 2004 was a good year.