Monday, 18 February 2008

Scugdale - climbing well, but not well enough!

The third weekend of February was very similar to the second, tropical! So Franco and I fresh after returning from Pavey Ark on the Saturday night ventured to Scugdale to finally finish some routes we had wanted to do there. ‘New Dimensions’ and ‘Finger Jam’ were the routes on my wishlist. We however, stopped off at ‘The Shelf’ and after gaining the shelf and having a bit of a warm up, we decided that the effects on our hands wasn’t good so we went straight over to Cleft Buttress. The overhanging crack of New Dimensions looks technical and awkward, so we gave it a go. The lower wall is a sequence of moves that leads to a long reach to a good pocket; however the upperwall is hard and tiring. We gave up and tried Finger Jam.

This wasn’t a good idea, because we ended up trying Finger Jam for sometime and completed it, we were now tired. Then Franco found ‘Elimination’ which he tried and tried and then suddenly he held the sloped and shot of leftwards to finish the climb. I was left with the feeling I had to try it so I did. An awkward pocket allows a reach up to a small but reasonably positive crimp. Feet up and a reach to another reasonably positive pocket, then a long reach or ‘pop’ for the sloper. The route is made harder by the fact it is just as overhanging as New Dimensions. After a few goes however and considerable amounts of finger pain and shoulder ache, the route fell to me too. We then attempted New Dimensions once again, but we found we were far too pumped so this again will have to be left till later!

Getting it wrong on New Dimensions!

We returned to Scugdale to try New Dimensions, but it was awful. It was blowin' a gale and the rock was slightly damp so we journied back to Scugdale Popular and climbed 'The Shelf'. A problem i had wanted to do for a while now, so i was glad to do it. A good, fun and not without interest (the top out) route that packs a lot in to a small climb. Good Value.

The Peak

The second weekend in February saw ridiculous temperatures and fantastic amounts of sun! The plan was to travel to the ‘Peak’ and get on some Grit stone, something I had only experienced in Yorkshire, at Slipstones.
We motored down to Stanage, as Ian Jackson wanted to have a shot at ‘Black Hawk Bastion’ at Popular. So Franco and I went searching for nice routes that weren’t currently populated with climbers and we found a route called Hybrid. A nice route, however, we got a bit of a shock when the Para-gliders started whizzing past! Not something I’ve ever experienced on the Moors.
After this, we thought we’d try something harder, so we carried on along Popular until we found a route that really appealed to us both. ‘Keep Pedalling’. At E2, it was at our grade pinnacle, so we assessed the climb from below, it was a solo.

Climbing it was a good test of nerve and technique and it propelled us on to thinking perhaps E3 would fall to day. So we carried on to the Plantation, and there we tried Telli. However, failure was all that we managed on Telli so it’s a definite example of ‘next time’.
Franco then disappeard off further into the Plantation buttresses, and then returned with a huge smile on his face. He took me to this route and I checked the guidebook. E4 5c. Were not E4 climbers, but this was too good to turn down. So Franco soloed up and made the awkward and delicate moves to the bulge. Pulled around and it was over. My turn, the initial crack was good fun and the first few moves on the delicate slab were fun, however, the height was suddenly apparent and the slopers were quite un-nerving. I dithered but then made slightly different moves to Franco up the bulge.
After taking some pictures of a climber on Cavalry and the Para-gliders we returned to find Ian Jackson and Ian Moore and after Ian finished is ‘usual’ solos we left to find a bivi spot.

We biviied in the Burbage Car Park hardly ‘roughing it’ but a funny experience all the same. We chatted for a few hours, usually about the food Ian and Ian were tucking into (sausages and Pasta). The water that it had been cooked in had turned brown and was poured away behind Ian Jackson; this was hilarious so I took a picture.
We then heckled Franco, because he believes the “Southern” climate would allow him to sleep without a sleeping bag. (See picture), he was wrong. The lovely days meant for freezing nights.

The next day we went to Burbage North, we had a go soloing some routes and Franco lead a bold E2 eliminate, and Ian Jackson and Ian Moor lead some classic routes with ‘Big Ian’ leading ‘Long Tall Sally’. We then motored off to Lawrencefield, were Franco and Ian Jackson had a pop at ‘Suspence’. Succeeding they were very happy with themselves! Ian Moore and I went for more leisurely ascents of the very nice ‘Meringue’ and ‘Once Pegged Wall’

Ian Jackson then tried ‘Billy Whizz’ but found the upper crack was damp and greasy and he took a rather large slump, in his words something I would consider to be a 20-30ft fall! All in all good trip to ‘the Peak’

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Spring Comes Early.

(For a day!) The weather had been exceptionally windy, which was a blessing in disguise because although there had been damage to property and roads closed due to falling debris and toppled lorries, the crags were bone dry. Come sunday, even the wind had subsided, so we decided to travel to the Wainstones, which we found were in perfect condition.

I had some gremlins to settle, mostly the boulder problems i had not paid enough attention to, namely Pebble Climb V3. Got the sequence in a couple of goes and finished it, i was happy. Then decided to go after another V3, with Redhead's Roof however, this is somewhat more difficult but perhaps i just didn't get the sequence, i reckon probably V4.

Staring up at the Crag, i realised that it wasn't Park Nab and that these routes were more serious, lines such as Sesame and East Sphinx Variant, that i had thought about on the drive, as being "Easy ticks" were not going to fall today, due to a lack of "high" climbing over the winter period.

Franco, nails the Sphinx Direct E3 6a.
Indeed, i did very little for such a great day, because besides the boulder problems and a good tick of 'North Route' up the Needle (something i had wanted for a year!) that was it for my climbing, the rest of the time i spent watching Ian violate the Sphinx as i took photos...

Ian, makes the crux move ofWest Sphinx Direct E3 5b.

However, it was good to revisit the crag and know that there is A LOT for me there yet, something i thought could probably be wrapped up in a couple of trips.

Really looking forward to all that the spring brings, especially the longer nights! Should mean the smaller crags around us that cannot supply a full days climbing, should be used to aid the progression and the routes that we have been unable to do, such as the E3 Waves Within at Camp Hill, should probably be climbed. Bring on Spring and the day the clocks change!