Sunday, 28 June 2009

Thirlmere, Borrowdale, Dow and Slate!

Monday afternoon, after retrieving Franco's Moped from Malton, we set off to the Lake District with the plan of action being to settle some unfinished buisness and nail some new routes and possibly push the grade out a wee bit.
We took advantage of the light nights, with a hour and a half stop by at Castle Rock of Triermain, to rattle off 'Triermain Eliminate'. A route on both of our wishlists after we had been rained off the Top pitch, in the past.
Franco dispatched the route with ease, i however found the climb rather tiring (driving is my excuse plus it was still VERY hot) and elected to take a rest in the final niche, only a metre of so from the finish. My choice was a good one i think, because i had problems topping out on the slopey grass.
Abseiling back down the line to remove gear showed how overhanging the north wall was, i passed franco on the half way ledge a good 2 metres out and was atleast 3 metres out at the base. No wonder the place is quite pumpy...
We met up with Luke Hunt, and his friends from Uni, Tom and Miles. We chose Dow Crag as the next days location, a crag i was looking forward to as i had never been.
We arrived at the crag in the mid afternoon and decided to 'warm up' on 'Pink Pather' - E2 5c.
Unfortunately, our route finding was awful and i climbed a 'non-line' taking the central section of an E3, to an exposed and poorly protected rightwards traverse. I was bricking it and after my minor epic managed to downclimb to more substantial gear where i lowered off.

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.
Thoroughly de-psyched, i was happy to lay around on an exposed slab taking photos of Franco and Luke attempting 'The Shining Path' - E5 6b***.
During this time Tom and Miles were enjoying the classic, Eliminate 'A' - VS.
Luke made a valiant O/S attempt but eventually flagged and rested. Franco then gave it a bloody good go, but floundered at the extremely tough and sequency looking crux.
Luke then gave it another go and managed the line with only a cheeky pull on the quickdraw, which was unfortunate.
Wednesday, we chose Borrowdale with Reecastle being the choice. It wasn't quite as i imagined it and i wasn't feeling at my best. Franco therefore climbed first despatching 'White Noise' - E3, rather easily with Luke following. Tom and Miles were climbed the only VS at the crag and then had their eyes on 'The Rack' HVS***.
I attempted an E2 on the righthand side, but it was dirty and i just lost all motivation. I couldn't see a safe 'E2' way of doing the moves so i downclimbed.
I later made myself feel slightly better, climbing 'The Rack Direct' E2 5b*.
Luke and Franco were currently boshing around on 'Penal Servitude' E5 6b***. Luke eventually managing the line with a small rest.
With most of the evening still available, Franco elected to go to Black Crag in Borrowdale as he fancied another barefoot solo of 'Troutdale Pinnacle' Severe, and also a look at 'Prana' E3 5c.
I joined him on Troutdale Pinnacle (with shoes! :-) and then agreed to do the embarrasing first pitch of Prana, an awful wet slab up to one of the most comfortable belay trees ever!
I sat basking in the evening sunlight, watching Franco eventually pull through the crux overlap high on the Headwall above me. I seconded it, which was nice and the moves were all good solid 5b/c. We were both quite happy and wandered down to Grange, where Tom, Miles and Luke were drinking.
Thursday, saw Luke, Tom and Miles depart back to Manchester. Tom and Miles going to some music event or some such...
Franco and I decided to go after a route we needed to tick and i also had a bit of a point to prove. I really want to like Slate!
Cathedral Quarry it was, Darklands was the target and i was going to feel secure on Slate.
When we arrived Franco's second route, Basilica was being muddied and polished by Abseiling hordes.
We decided to try and climb Darklands as two pitches to remove the rope drag. I climbed to the belay and then Franco climbed through, clipping the numerous bolts and decaring the route an absolute softtouch. He abseiled back to me on the belay but unfortunately the ropes were stuck. So in the end i seconded the top pitch. I wasn't too bothered. The route is indeed a softtouch, there are 1 two many bolts and by this point i was qutie psyched by the route to the left, 'An Alabuse'.
It takes a rib to the right of the big, dark hole leading to the entrance. It then steps right and laybacks up a large flake leading to a delicate cruxy finish on the top slab.

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.
We left back to the Moors, after a brief chat with a nice bloke about the bolting situation in the Quarry. Darklands in particular appears to have 1 too many bolts and certainly didn't seem to fit the E3 grade as a result? Never mind its a cracking line!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Moors Classics and a return to form?

After the end of may Peak trip, June was all about Exams and getting strong for climbing. So much so that i returned to Ravenswick quarry for a couple of hours of non stop bouldering just to burn my forearms into submission then attempt some long steady 5b traverses to build up the stamina, i think it worked.
During my revising i've been finding various places around the house to do pull ups and chin ups and what have you. I've never really focussed on training in the past, but i feel a combination of the garage wall, fingerboard and pull/press ups should do some good.
The second weekend of June began with plans of Almscliffe or Filey. But dodgey weather forecasts made a last minute decision of Ingleby Incline the preffered option. We slogged up to the crag in about 30 minutes and decided to jump on the *** line of the crag, Gym Junkies. At E3 6b, it struck me as being the kind of route i belayed Franco on and decided i wasn't going to do. However, Franco's ascent made it look do able and the starting moves are well protected.
My attempt proved fruitful, and although it could have been far better protected with some fiddly wires it still felt an easy E3, certainly not 6b. It's worth jumping on if you reckon you climb E3!
Our first objective ticked we walked to Time Captain E4. The large roof of the route really appeals but the top slab is dirty. Neither of us wanted to ab and clean the line but i felt it would be too much to ask, for me at least anyway. We tried the E4 Love and Confusion, but with low friction the sloping pitch hold was hard work. Franco gained the pocket but decided the slopey topout was worth leaving for a Colder day.
I then climbed Top Gun, a classic HVS which i should have done a long time ago but never got around to. It's a great line and a good climb, worth going to and doing. We finished with a boulder around on No Prisoners, a 6b sloping crack. Some nice moves but i felt my dynamic methods were not in the spirit of the line.
The next day, i decided that i was going to demand that we visited High Crag in Tripsdale and got up Warrior, a *** moors E2 that hardly anyone has climbed.
We arrived at the crag at about 3 in the afternoon, after a long walk in, a stop off at some boulders and a quick look at Tarn Hole. We had chose to walk in from the moor top, to avoid the midgeys and try and get a cooling breeze. It was scorching.
As soon as we geared up for this epic looking crackline, the midgeys started. We fought on, whereas last time we ran like pansys, and our 'commitment' paid off.
I elected to go first. I usually fail on lines when i go first but i decided it would be good to do. We placed a loweroff at the top as the top was whringing wet and the moss was of poor friction... :-)

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!
I then ran out of ideas of how to keep jamming up this confining, overhanging, damp, green, crackline. I rested on the Hex to have a look around and realised i had to span left onto the wall.
Climbing this epic route, this time using the left wall and realised it was straighforward, relitavely easy considering what it looks like and that the moves were actually worth stars, though perhaps ** rather than ***.
I attempted to top out but the wet moss was impossible. I even considered a dyno to a tree root, but decided this was probably not wise. I lowered off, happy with the midgys massing and my hands and clothes filthy.
Franco climbed the line cleanly, using the hold out left that he had spotted and finished as i did. It was the only way unfortunately.
We ran away from High Crag before the man-eating midgeys stipped us of our flesh.
The E4, 'A Reach Too Far' at Tarn Hole, looked like a highball couple of stars Peak E4. It was however a Moors E4 with ***. We had to try it.
Unfortunately, after our excertions on Warrior and the walk in and the day before at Ingleby, I at least felt knackered. We gave it a bash but neither fully committed, so much so we both retain our onsights. However, i feel the clue is in the name, so i might need to stretch abit if im going to go anywhere near it again!
We walked down, in the beating sun at about 8 in the evening. Absolutely knackered but with a Weekend of Classic ticks, long, heavily overgrown walk ins and sandbag testing - i was ready to relax and recouperate and begin my revision for Chemistry.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Getting back into climbing

It's been a long time. Since November i've had 8 crag days and i realised my weakness this weekend. Myself and Franco decided to meet up with Luke in the Peak and Twig decided to come along as well. It was my first time meeting Twig but Franco assured me he was a funny guy so the weekend promised to be full of laughs.
We journied down after work on friday night and parked up at Burbage Car park, somewhere we had bivvyed before. It was cold, considering the balmy days we were having and the sun rose early, we got up and drove to millstone for around 7 in the morning.
Franco climbed The Snivling Shits - E5 6a around 8 oclock i think, and myself and Twig tried the first few moves but neither of us were willing to commit seeing as the crux is the top i think.
Luke turned up and told me to do Embankment 3 - a pleasant looking E1 on finger locks and such i enjoyed it and was happy i could still onsight E1.
We hurried around to Lawrencefield, Luke was after Pool Wall and i fancied Great Peter. Unfortunately after taking photos of Luke on Pool Wall, people jumped on Great Peter - what a shame. Burbage South it was then.
Some project at Lawrencefield... Looks class like ;-)
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!
We spent the night at Ladybower Reservoir, i think. It was nice but we slept in the car as it was quite cold.
Next day we bombed up to Bamford and Franco climbed Jetrunner. I fancied it but was unable to commit to the pocket move. I did however enjoy Gargoyle Flake and the Crease and the VS to it's left. It was a nice soloing day.

We completed our road trip with a bash at Froggat. I fancied Strapiobante and also for some reason Strapiombo appealed as well.
The weather was scorching and i struggled to keep my hands chalked so much so when it came to latching the sloper at the end i actually thought it impossible in the weather conditions! unfortunately it wasn't until i'd had a rest that i realised there were good holds to it's left! Bugger.
Strapiombo was much better. Horizontal jamming along the roof crack led to an easier crack. I placed a cam, and jammed above it. It felt sweaty this jam and it slipped down this crack straight onto my cam. It fucking hurt. I think i knackered my nerves because my thumb is still numb as i write this. Either way that was the onsight gone for Strapiombo a route i had done the hard work for but on a cooler day i'd have nailed both. Never mind. It's given me the incentive to start training and getting strong. This summer before uni, with the weather apparently going to be amazing, means that i want to be as strong as i can be i've got a lot of plans this year!