Time’s Up at Magic Wood

By The Climbing Academy

TCA Staffer and Black Diamond Hero Jonny Kydd looks back at his final few days at Magic Wood where he crushes some serious problems.

Sadly my time in Magic Wood has come to an end. I spent 7 amazing weeks here and can’t wait to come back again, hopefully when it’s cooler and I’m injury free!

(First and Last Day View from the Campsite)

With 2 weeks left of my trip, I still had so many climbs that I wanted to try let alone finish off. The main factor that seemed to be dictating what I decided to try or not try was the conditions. It’s been pretty hot here and having the climb in the shade is a must!

Some projects had to go on the back burner and I decided to climb in the coolest place with climbs that I still wanted to do – the Darkness Cave. That day, for whatever reason, I felt super weak and got a bit spanked! I was planning on leaving the cave and trying something easier but then someone started trying ‘From Darkness to Sunshine (high start)’ (7C). I didn’t know anything about this climb but it was a little easier than what I had been trying and the thought of moving the pads to another part of the wood seemed like a lot of effort so I pulled on to this instead. It’s a fairly long boulder problem with no obvious crux but very sequence-based and pumpy. With beta being given to me during each move I was lucky enough to manage to flash it! It’s funny how when you have no expectations climbing can feel easy. I then thought I may as well try the full problem which adds a few hard moves into the pumpy finish. After spending a bit of time figuring out the lower section I had a good go from the start only to get super pumped and drop the ending which left me perma-pumped and unable to send.

The next day my skin was a bit trashed so I needed something that was friendly on the skin. The water polished ramp of Supernova is perfect for this, but I had already climbed it… There are however a couple of eliminates/variations to this problem which I thought I may as well try as it’s probably the only thing my skin could handle. I ended up climbing ‘Super Super Nova’ (eliminate), ‘Natural Ites’ (extended finish) & ‘Spirito Indomito’ (eliminate with extended finish) pretty quickly and thought I’d call it a day and save the remainder of my skin for another day.

(‘Spirito Indomito’ (8A/+), One of the Many Variations of Super Nova)

The main climb I really wanted to finish off before leaving Magic Wood was ‘Sofasurfer’. Having good/better conditions felt crucial for me in order to get the send, so whenever it felt a bit cooler or cloudier I decided to try it. The only problem of trying it on days like this is that they also tend to be the rainiest…

(Trying ‘Sofasurfer’ (8A+) just Before a Huge Thunderstorm. Photo: Jamie Macleod)

After a couple of sessions of being rained off I was fortunate enough to have a cool enough day that I was able to take advantage of and get the send, even if it did require shading tactics to keep the holds cool.

(Pro Shading Tactics)

Once I’d finished Sofasurfer, and got the monkey off my back, it hit me that my time was coming to an end and I would really have to start prioritising what I wanted to finish off before leaving. I had little over a week left and felt as though I could possibly have upto 6 good sessions in order to finish things off. There were three climbs that I had gotten close to doing or felt as though I could do: ‘Jack’s Broken Heart’ (8A+), ‘Octopussy’ (8A) & ‘From Darkness to Sunshine’ (8A). Meaning I could have 2 sessions on each to try and finish them off.

With ‘Jacks Broken Heart’ being the most skin intensive and the hardest I gave it the most priority. My first session on it went well, climbing it from the crux to the top. But the conditions were just too hot and when I would get to the crux from the start I would be too sweaty and slide off.

The next day I tried From Darkness to Sunshine. The warm up went well and all the moves felt good so I had a go from the start and fell off 4 moves from the end and was incredibly pumped! The weather then started to play it’s part. I was still a little pumped but it started to rain lightly… only the end of the climb really gets affected by the rain so I waited to see if it would pass but instead the clouds got darker. I felt as though this was my last chance to try it today as it felt like it was going to chuck it down and the end would be far too wet to climb. As I was climbing thunder started to rumble and I knew this would be my last go of the day. Although I was still pumped from the previous go I got through all the hard climbing to get to the end section. I was just as pumped as last time but knew I wouldn’t get another go today. I had to dig deep and managed to drag myself up it despite some of the holds being a bit wet! One down, two to go.

(The Crux Section of ‘From Darkness to Sunshine’)

After a couple of rainy rest days I decided to head back to ‘Jack’s Broken Heart’. After the previous days rain I wasn’t sure if it was going to be dry but it was an unusually windy day which not only dried it out but meant for some good conditions. I did my usual thing of repeating moves to warm up and then had a go from the start. I managed to get through the crux section and onto the sketchy top section. I was a little scared and hadn’t been the most efficient in this section which resulted in me over-gripping and getting pumped. I ended up dropping it 2 moves from the top and I was gutted as I thought I may have blown my chance to send! After a long rest and lots of brushing I decided to pull on. I didn’t climb the bottom section as well this time but still got through the crux. I had a clearer plan of what I needed to do for the top section and climbed it a lot better and was able to top it out! Two down, one to go.

(‘Jack’s Broken Heart’. Photo: Jamie Macleod)

There was still plenty of daylight left and I decided to try and make most of the good conditions on Octopussy. This was a funny climb for me as the conventional crux revolves around a big move to a sloper but for me this wasn’t an issue. I initially found the move after it impossible and had kind of sacked off the climb as one that I couldn’t do. The issue I had was that I didn’t have enough span to do it the conventional way and I wasn’t able to use the alternative heel hook beta. I managed to figure out another sequence that worked for me which involved matching a hold that most people either don’t use or use as an intermediate. I was able to make the most of the good conditions and get the tick! All 3 climbs sent and with sessions to spare!

(The Crucial Heel-Toe-Cam on ‘Octopussy’. Photo: Jamie Macleod)

All of a sudden I had gained time that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I had finished off all projects that I thought I’d be able to do which left me with the option of working moves on something to come back for or trying a new climb. I decided to do the latter as there was a super classic 8A that I had yet to try “Foxy Lady”. It’s not a problem that massively suits me as it’s quite static climbing and it has some pretty small cracks to fit your fingers in, nevertheless me and my sausage fingers were psyched to try it. I decided to have a short first session on it as it’s very shouldery and I didn’t want to destroy my shoulder on the first session and not be able to have a backup session on it, just incase. Despite the short session I came close to sending and did it in overlapping sections. But as soon as my shoulder started to feel tired I stopped as I couldn’t learn anymore and it would feel easier to send when fresh. I had a rest day and managed to send it second go on the next session, happy days!

(Squeezing my Fingers into the Crack on ‘Foxy Lady’)

It was a happy ending to my time I’m Magic Wood and made the long drive back to the UK a little more bearable…

Next up is North Wales for the remainder of my trip but in the meantime here’s a video of my time in Magic Wood. Hope you enjoy it!