I bumped into a couple of old mates the other day, which made me happy. Mike and Elaine Owen were part of the Welch climbing scene in the late 70s and 80s, and now like me they are part of the French climbing scene. Mike is a bit younger than me and Elaine of course is 21, they are the same as they ever were, but probably climb better. Why do they they still climb so well? Their climbing spirit is the same, their technique is better, and of course France is a bit more clement than the UK. Mike regularly climbs in the 8th grade, and was one of the early E7 leaders in Britain, he has been an inspiration to me for a long time, his accurate footwork is matched with a strong work ethic, and I hope to bump into him when we are in our 60s still climbing 8s.
This young spider was hunting around my Lilies, and Mike was hunting in my cave, he is trying to catch El Chico a rather tough sneaky 8a+.
Mike is rather like the Spider, his stealth kept him out of the lime light in Britain and let the noisier climbers get their acclaim. Talking to this climbing couple brought many things back, so thanks Elaine and Mike. Elaine remembered that the first time they saw me was on Left or Right Wall in my underpants in 1977 or so! Mike had a good laugh comparing how badly we used to climb and how youth is so very wasted on the young.