We arrived at the base of the Gully. It was full of powder, avalanches of powder cutting rivers of snow through the snow already in place. Franco started up the gully.
Sunday, 27 December 2009
We arrived at the base of the Gully. It was full of powder, avalanches of powder cutting rivers of snow through the snow already in place. Franco started up the gully.
Luke Hunt had arrived that evening and declared the conditions 'prime mixed conditions!'. He then said, that Bowfell Buttress was high on his list and fancied a trip to langdale.
I was sceptical, knowing that Bowfell was a mixed climb at V,6 but quite sustained really with pitches of IV and V. I was slightly worried to say the least, not just because of the events on the Ben but also because i didn't feel i was good enough to get on such a classic route. Franco said, in his usual confident manner or 'ultra-psyche' that he was up for it and that i was good enough.
Another issue was that snow was forecast and i didnt fancy trying to get the Renault back from Langdale to Grisedale.
My first trip to Bowfell, was a nice walk in, in perfect winter conditions. -7 celsius according to the car, was a pleasant suprise and when we arrived at the route we were amazed to see a couple of lads already there!
These lads turned out to be Jamie and Tim from Leeds, which was a pleasant coincidence. Conditions were a bit poor low down, so we avoided the first pitch and i, intent not to second the whole route, said i would lead the IV groove even though i had no idea whether or not i could truely lead IV?!
The pitch was similar to the top groove of our FA the day previous, hence the grade given. I then seconded the rest of the climb, with Franco leading the 6 crack and the top pitch being a cracker, led by Luke.
It wasn't over though. Franco and Luke went FA hunting on the buttress opposite, climbing the horribly obvious hard looking corner. Franco and luke said it was both commiting and poorly protected in parts. I just stood in the blizzard for an hour or 3 watching!
They abandoned the attempt due to darkness falling and the worsening weather. I was not looking forward to driving home!
We walked back to the car and then had fun and games sliding our way back to Ambleside! A couple of sideways slides in a Renault Espace is enough to give you a bit of a scare.
Scarier than the mixed climbing!
However, the winter came on the week before Christmas. Phonecalls and Facebook planning saw myself and Franco meeting up in the Lakes at Grizedale.
I was 'psyched' not to repeat the events of 2years ago in Scotland on the Ben, i was quite content to tick a load of III's and possibly a IV, but just happy to get out and get experienced.
The first morning saw us climb to Nethermost Cove, with an idea of doing the grade II gully, prominent on the hillside. However, it was clear that the route was not 'in'. Snow was limited and although it was cold, there was a lot of rock exposed in the gully, this was Mixed conditions.
So, staying true to my ambitions of grade III cruising... I allowed franco to talk me into climbing a potential First Winter Ascent of a prominent bulging corner, around 100metres to the left of Nethermost Gully.
We arrived after some grade II mixed steps and soloing, which was about as close as i came for the whole long weekend, to 'easy' climbing.
Franco geared up for the imposing overhanging start to the crack. It was the sort of climb that looked HVS in summer. A couple of useful turf tufts proved inviting enough, we also new that 'Torquing' would prove invaluable. Franco started and amazingly onsighted the heinous corner, with aid of the iced crack, i asked if the belay was bomber!!! It was.
I started up the corner and removed the tricams in the ice crack. Bomber... I then placed my axe in the crack pulled and then smashed the ice out. Pisser.
As a result i had to torque my axes more in the crack more than Franco, but it was probably of similar difficulty. As we wandered down Striding Edge, we laughed at our first lakes route, indeed, our first mixed route being an FA, onsight! We had no idea what grade it was, but we knew it would be something like V, 7 due to the fact it was a nails move, but very well protected by winter standards! Its a clear crux pitch, around 30metres with scrambling before and a 30metre grade III/IV up the continuation corner. All in all, we believe it is a good addition to the routes in the Helvellyn range.
Listening to madness in the Landy.
Monday, 16 November 2009
Problem is, im completely dissatisfied with my achievements climbing wise in the Yorkshire Grit scene.
Since hitting Caley in Freshers week, i've done nothing but highball soloing, bouldering and the odd micro route. Don't get me wrong there is some good climbing to be had in this manner, but im feeling abit disappointed in myself for not getting to places with 'proper' routes. I seem to be favouring the easy option of crags that you can solo all the routes - even if i carry my gear there anyway!
Admittedly, there have been some decent routes done in this time, namely; Scar - Baildon Bank, The Padder - Eastby, Cat's Eyes - Cat Crags, Wailing Wall - Hetchell, Ron's Reach - Caley, Slyveste - Ilkley and Tufted Crack - Ilkley.
I wish it was dry for longer than a day so i could climb on the Limestone. I reckon for the best results on the grit in the next few weeks Crookrise, Eastby, Heptonstall and Almscliffe need to be visited.
That said, if it wasn't for Ewan - i'd have done no climbing whatsoever as my psyche to get on a bus and try to get to a crag reduced significantly after the first week!
Friday, 2 October 2009
The end of freshers week, saw my first attempt at catching a bus and going to Caley, it wasn't uneventful, seeing as i have never used a bus system before, but i got there in the end!
The crag is bouldering, except from the main edge. Which was perfect as i didn't have a mat with me!
I spent the best part of a day ticking the seemingly endless collection of classic mini-routes such as Ron's Reach/Ripper traverse (brilliant!), Noonday Ridge, Angel Wall (heavenly!), Forked Lightening Crack, Otley Wall, Chicken Heads and other such problems.
Angel Wall will definitely be on my soloing list everytime i go, not so much Ron's Reach, thnk i'll do that again with a couple of mats at V4!
Next stop is Ilkley, for the LUUMC meet and then i will have to see how to get to Almscliffe or Hetchel.
Any info on how to get back from Hetchel would be greatly appreciated!
Pena Roja, was our first destination and it was a place we'd return to. The first evening was only short but it was significant as we discovered that out of the sun, the Blanca was reasonable temperature wise and that climbing could take place!
Over the 8 half days we got climbing, we stayed in the 'Xalo Valley' area going to Roja, L'Ocaive, Murla, Los Pinos and we also got to the Penon de Ifach. (which is fantastic!)
The highlights were, Lliberpool at P.Roja, Espresso and Summer Rain at Los Pinos, and Crazy, Crazy at Murla. These were routes that i enjoyed the most but i think everything i did was really, really good climbing on gorgeous rock!
The Major achievement was an ascent of Vampiro on the north face of the Penon. The route is F6c in the guide, but in the sub-divisions it's given F6c+ for the last pitch?
I climbed the first pitch which was a contrast to anything i'd climbed on the Blanca, slippery, slopey holds leading up a delicate slab. The second half of the pitch was more in keeping, steep juggy climbing leading to a hanging stance.
Franco got the second pitch which we decided was probably the crux. It was, we both decided it was like climbing E4/5 up the wall. Some beautiful moves, big reaches and suprising holds (both good and bad!) i was suprised when i seconded it cleanly! Pretty good effort by Franco to lead it cleanly as well!
The top pitch i made a mess of, not really sure about the grading i just chose a line of weakness and ended up with major rope drag and a hideous mantle/sloping topout. It was in a pretty atmospheric surrounding though!
After the route we did what was the norm all holiday. We walked down and sat on the beach for a few hours! Bliss.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
This wasn't the final action before the weather well and truly crapped out.
Roseberry was the plan for the next day, with me wanting to repeat Franco's bold solution to the main wall of Roseberry.
One of the most impressive bits of rock on the moors, has an unfortunate reputation for being loose on every scale. I guess it is true, but i've only ever seen rocks in cracks and boulders at the bottom. Pulling holds off the main wall would be very hard, its all pockets, monos and crimpy rails, the only problem is the rock is sandy.
The old aid line, forces its way up the centre of the tall sandstone outcrop and has apparently been 'looked at' in the past. Franco climbed the line after Abseil inspection in July and i seconded him. His ascent was in the Dark.
He gave a grade of E5 6a, which was met with some questioning, but having now completed the second ascent i can agree. This would be a pretty intense onsight.
Franco and I walked up to the main wall very windy conditions and i instantly decided i probably wouldn't be able to lead the wall in the conditions. However, i was planning on putting a rope down it anyway, so i did so. When i seconded Franco, i decided the crux was a sequence moving left to an eventually juggy rail. While working though, i decided the technical crux was pulling on the mono to the crimps. The onsight crux is this entire sequence - pulling up off a hard to notice mono to a couple of crimps then heading left to a slopey but ok rail.
The E5 comes from the fact that we think this would be fairly 'interesting' to onsight, what with the sandy nature of the rock and when combined with the fact there is one piece of gear, (0.75 camalot) in a shallow break in snappy rock... If this pulls there is nothing to stop you before hitting the column below, or worse the ground below this.
I didn't want to top rope it to death, so i roped up for the lead, earlier than expected! The wind was off putting but not too bad. I made my way up to the cam and then made the crux moves. There was a heart in mouth moment as i launched left to the slopey rail and missed the decent sloping section, instead getting a significantly poorer part - something i hadn't noticed on the working session!
I did the final moves placing enough gear at the top to make up for the lack of it in the crux section!
At E5 6a 'The Pasghetti Alpinist' is by far the hardest route at Roseberry Topping and it takes a line of weakness up the Main face. Really good line by Franco and he named it after Ian Jackson (he would say Pasghetti instead of Spaghetti) who had roped it in the past.
Couple of Video Stills, of me climbing 'Time for Tea' at Millstone.
We utilised the Peak Limestone this time not for its shady potential, but for its overhanging 'dry in the rain' feature. It worked to a degree, though our week was mostly confined to the lower metres of walls... ie, bouldering.
Stoney, Rubicon and Rheinstor were the areas we visited, with one trad morning at High Tor, where Franco managed Darius - E2 5c***.
The highlights from the bouldering was a flash of 'Double Double' at Stoney and a nice tired session on 'A Millers Tale' at Rubicon, both 6b+/6c.
The nicest day we had, was after High Tor however when we popped into the esoteric but lovely looking Rheinstor.
We arrived to an Air Ambulance - a climber had fallen but was OK, as far as everyone knew. He was airlifted away and Franco and I proceeded to flash 'Wizard of Aus' - E4 6a and 'Ron's Route' - E3 6a.
The rock at Rheinstor was the nicest limestone i'd climbed on, gorgeous, monos and two finger pockets. The traverse from left to right is a Cracker and apparently V6. After doing the routes there and bouldering the 'up problems' after flashing the routes for finger training it was hard going but good fun!
Thursday, 20 August 2009
The holiday began with numerous trips to Stoney, climbing some lovely stuff and also so hard stuff. Banana Crack, Cabbage Crack for myself and Armaggedon, Wee Doris and Bitterfingers for Franco. This was a good, though slightly polished introduction to a climbing medium i think i'll get on with quite well...
Chee Dale is now my favourite cragging area. The small river crossings and quality limestone escarpments and of course quality routes have made this an area i will certainly return to!
Splintered Perspex and Mad Dogs & English Men being two superb routes, as well as a whole host of hard sport!
It hasn't all been Limestone though, a day at Curbar and a day at Millstone were nice days out, the pinnacle on the grit being a O/S of Time for Tea and also a G/U of Regent Street (After i slipped on the start!!!!) There's also been two evenings of Soloing at Stanage, the best route being Robin Hoods Crack, Manchester Buttress and Mississippi Direct. Good stuff!
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Sunday we talked buisness, then with Curbar calling the rain set in... so we went to Cliffhanger.
Brilliant event, i enjoyed it more than i expected especially the Dyno competition and the womens climbing comp.... I wonder why? ;-)
We departed the Peak in the rain and drove to the CMC hut in the Lakes, intending to get on some high crags, eg Gable, Dow ect ect.
Unfortunately the weather was damp in the mornings and we settled the best bet would be Slate until the weather improved... which we didn't know whether it would or not as there is no technology in the Hut.
The slate was a good move. The showers didn't affect the slate as it dried so fast and Franco climbed the Wonderful 'Ten Years After' - E4.
I then got forced into climbing the E3 / F6c arete in the all weather Gym, after rain began. Hardly, Ten Years After!...
The next day we ended up at Hodge again. The weather was exactly the same. Franco jumped on 'Wicked Willie' - E5 6b and despatched it, after a fall on the Crux. A really really good effort.
On the walk back around, we met a couple who had been directed up the wrong road to their car...which was parked at Tilberwaite Car park.
We decided that Tilberthwaite was worth a look so we could give them a lift around and i wasn't psyched by anything at Hodge now.
I climbed 'Violation' E3/F6c, a weird groove and slab pulling through a roof. It was varied and nice, but again, it was no 'Ten Years After'.
The Wednesday saw us return, yet again to Hodge, after yet more rain. I was talking myself into doing something good and after a brief stop off in the Lakes Climber, (talking to the shop owner and Andy Hobson, i believe) i was psyched to climb Ten Years After.
I jumped on it, which is most unlike me.
The initial groove was pretty awful to be honest, laybacks and smears on slate, to the gear. Then stepping left was slightly technical to a peg. Happy.
Climbing up and leftwards to gain some good nuts and carry on up to a series of grooves and a Peg/Bolt.
I topped out, having climbed my first E4 onsight. Have to admit that im glad my first E4 onsight was a GOOD, reasonably large route, of a sustained nature rather than say a Moors problem/Sandbag or a Peak route. Im even happy i didn't do Poseidon Adventure onsight now, so that Ten Years was the first.
Franco then climbed 'The Main Event', damn, he loves the Slate!
We returned to the hut and from this point on the holiday lost its gloss. First a misguided trip to Borrowdale took us to the dry rock of the Bowderstone... :-( The Crack, the Ramp and Bowderiser were enough to make it fairly decent... But then on the long drive to CAtherdral Quarry the bloody car turbo blew up and it took us til Saturday to get recovered to the North East. Long story short, saw the car being in a Garage in Windermere, while we and our Kit were in Patterdale... we managed to hitch over and get back to the North East.
It ought to be expensive...
Sunday, 28 June 2009
Still unaware this was the wrong route Franco climbed the line finishing up the Arete at the top. Declaring it E3+ 5c+, which seemed to be the case when i was up there.
During this time Tom and Miles were enjoying the classic, Eliminate 'A' - VS.
I went first and really enjoyed the climbing under the impression it was E2 but it turned out to be E3. Really nice juggy moves, lead above the void. Then a delicate ramp leads to the layback, which is interesting! Then the top is a sequence of high feet and crimpy jug pulls. Really really nice route, one of my favourites!
Franco then climbed the line and abbed for the gear. Then climbed 'Rim Fisher' another E3, which was apparently much harder.
Monday, 15 June 2009
I started to climb up and rammed a cam in (which i nearly lost), then a beaut of a Hex, something i haven't used for at least a year!
Friday, 5 June 2009
Had a mess around at Burbage South, nearly climbing Boggart Left Hand - unfortunately the sun was blinding and i couldnt quite reach the break. Next time!