If that isn’t a word, it should be. One of your fellow readers confessed to being an old fart, and it got me onto thinking about gerriatric rock climbers. A couple of years ago, down at the crag with the lads, we were getting ourselves ready at the belay when these two old crows I swear they were over a hundred turned up. I thought to myself they must be bird-watching or just effing hikers or something, but no, quick as a flash their veiny awful hands whizzed out a rope and stuff and they were up this route before I could down my first can of coke. It made me think, I’m telling you. We were attempting a 7a warmup, and it wasn’t going too well, and I don’t know what grade they were on but it didn’t look easy, and they were like two praying mantises going up it with their bony limbs. [I just checked with a google and, yep, they were exactly like praying mantises, only with little white beards.] They knocked off those routes bang bang bang and they were off. It was pretty embarrassing too, being spanked by two guys old enough to be Captain Cook’s Granddad. One of them had some funny metal thing that kept coffee hot inside it, and they both had woolly jumpers that looked older than they were. The crankmeister doesn’t do spiritual, but the whole thing gave me a shiver and the lads didn’t even mention them later. I guess it was a reminder: even the crankmesiter with his impressive flanks of muscle is going to end up nothing but Rock History one day. Anyway, if those two rockiatrics are reading, which I doubt: Respect. For a start, when they got going on the crank pitch, there were no videos, no forums, no Rockfax, no swearing, no satnav to get your car to the walk-in, nothing. Imagine that!