Saturday, 30 August 2008

End of the Summer

The last week before College, we managed to get across to the lakes for some decent climbing. The weather was reported to be hit and miss so we took our chances. I however felt decidedly ill but it wasn't too bad.
On route we stopped off at Healheugh and also Lamb Hill Quarry. The former provided some good gritstone cragging in a remote setting which was quite a nice break from driving. Lamb hill however was a little bit disappointing though we might drop in again next time we go to the lakes. Saturday we got up and drove to Gimmer where i climbed Springbank (E2-) which i thoroughly enjoyed as i climbed it feeling very sick and very dizzy which made the fact i climbed the slabby start all the more pleasing.
Franco and Luke tried 'Eastern Hammer' but neither of them could get past half height on this pumpy problem.
We retreated to Catherdral Quarry. Franco and I were interested to see how it compared to Welsh slate... It's alot more frictiony!
It began to rain and i felt very ill, but luke was 'psyched' for Darklands (E3 5c) which he despatched very efficienctly, in the rain as well. It was quite impressive.
Next day we went to Black crag (Wrynose) which was nice, albeit small. We did the usual stuff there, including 'Glass Slipper' (E2-) and Needle Arete (E3-) and some solos. This was a good day for me as i again felt like shit, but still got some climbing in. I knew once i felt better, the weather could deteriorate. It did, but not after heading to Hodge Close Quarry and then Parrock, where we just messed around on some bolted, slate slabs.
The next two days were shite, as it rained quite a lot so Luke left with Rob and Lotte and the next day Franco and I returned to the North East...

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Brown Beck Crag

The day news broke about Ian's death, Neil and Myself were planning on journeying to Goldsborough, but we called this off. Unfortunately the weather had been awful for the week before and it continued to remain shite.
However, finally there was a break in the weather and i decided that it was too late to arrange to climb with anyone else so i raced to Brownbeck Crag to take advantage of the dry weather. I did just this, but i forgot my guidebook.
Luckily, i study my local guidebook a little too much and i could remember the lines and grades for a lot of the routes at Slipstones and Brown Beck crag.
The climbing lived up to the expectations i had for the place, with 'Pella' VS 4C*** and 'Wichita Linesman' HVS 5b** being extremely good routes which would be amazing if a little larger!
There were some other good aretes and 'E' numbers at the crag, but the VS and HVS would make a trip there worthwhile!
I also dropped in on a bit of a Daemon at Slipstones. 'Seven Up' and it's direct start E2 and E3 respectively had evaded my grasp for some time and i knew i could climb them! I did just this and it made my day to be honest!
I intend to climb at Goldsborough this summer and also maybe Healheaugh. I also wouldn't mind climbing some proper limestone, but a local very good looking crag appears to be closed, so im rather disapointed about that.

Summer 2008 - From bad to worse

On the way up the Ben. Ian was soo excited, but he wanted a picture with some Deer first!
Not particularly flattering, but the memories from Smiths Route will last forever!
Ian Soloing 'Inverted V' at Stanage. This seemed very impressive at the time, i was envious!
Again, not exactly flattering, but a hell of a trip and a very good laugh!
Just before Ian fell a fair distance after 'giving up' on the wet upper cracks. Again i was amazed with his climbing

What a fcking, shite summer this has been. Not only has the weather been awful, but my friends have been at the Alps climbing amazing routes while i was left in the UK unable to go aswell! However, as you may have heard a friend of mine, Ian Jackson tragically died in the Alps while climbing. This truly has been a summer of unrivalled sadness. Ian was a good lad, a heck of a climber and he made an impression to everyone he met. The thread on UKC after his death, proves this. He will be missed by everyone that knew him and his loss will be felt, probably forever.

My Summer - 2008
The soloing trip to the Lakes kept me contented for the first few weeks, but i became restless. Desperate for good weather and a new crag i started to look at even more esoteric venues that were easily reachable. Luckily one evening Franco's dad, Neil decided that he was able to go climbing, this was much appreiciated and we went to the nearby safe-bet of Camp Hill. There Neil ascended the good Severe and VS that he wanted and made a determined attempt to second me on the very nice HVS called 'Cling Wrap', something he is going to lead in the future and something i think he will have no problem in completing.
I also, decided that it was time to try 'Ace of Winds', this amazing looking climb has put me off several times, for one because it doesn't LOOK HVS and two, because i had to downclimb from the blank wall at half height!
This time however, i managed to reach the loose blocks. I arranged some decent protection then made a lo-o-ong reach to the top. There was nothing but sloping rock; on Grit this would have been enough, but Camp Hill isn't quite Grit. It's alot courser than the rock at Scugdale or Wainstones, but it didn't have the required friction. I eventually managed to get a high foot lockoff in a small crack under the roof and a blind reach around the roof to, luckily a good lip on the top. This was enough. I topped out on a great route, one that has repelled me two or three times, but i was right, it doesn't look HVS and it isn't!
The next day, i dragged budding climber, Matthew 'Mini' Cooper from Sleights along for a 'introduction' to rock climbing. We spent the day looking at rope technique, climbing technique and placing gear. He is a quick learner and i soon had him seconding me up routes and soloing some easy safe lines. He then lead, albeit dogged 'Longbow' but he was happy enough and i was ecstatic with what he had achieved. I then, asked if he would do me a favour and take a photo or two of me on a line i was yet to try. 'Pinnacle Face' HVS 5c, just looks stupid. The start is definitely 5c or harder and then the upper wall is difficult to protect and not ALOT easier. The guide also says 'use the right arete, if you must!' Personally, if you can't use the right arete, then it is totally eliminate as it is making you do very unnatural moves! Anyhow, the exposure was nice, but it wasn't the line i was hoping for!

Rejuvinated, with the recent improvement in weather i requested that Lewis would come to Eston Nab. Hardly Esoteric in the sense of the word, with it's views across Teesside and it's well used footpath above, popular with the local inhabitance. Parking at the Cross Keys on the A171, (to avoid parking in Eston!) we walked across and i got my first glipse of Eston Nab. "Oh well, it doesn't look too bad" i said, in fact i actually found the backdrop of Teesside an interesting change from Rolling moorland. The dockyards were certainly a better setting than a large group of houses.
The climbing was a tad dissapointing, i was hoping for higher buttresses. Luckily, the trip wasn't a waste, as i soloed alot of lines and then lead a VERY good HVS called, 'The Other'. This line takes a corner crack to a small ledge, then gear can be arranged up some criss-crossing cracks before undercutting a roof and traversing rightwards to allow a pull over to the top. Immense!
Lewis, didn't fancy it. I don't know why he did the hard bit reaching the roof the top section was the reward, but i lowered him anyway.
It was from about 1pm that things got bad. We walked to the monument and i climbed the 'back wall' at E1. Then the air became cooler and then rain drops started, we quickly set off for the car, but we were caught in a heavy rain storm. From this day onward, the summer has been wet, miserable and quite frankly woeful.