Sat here attempting to revise maths (for Geology), it got me thinking about the last year. It's actually been a good'un! 2009 as a climbing year didn't start til April for me. A mixture of A level exams and a lack of psyche limited my climbing to the odd soloing day at Park Nab. However, the final act my Ford Focus did before dying was to get myself and Franco to Pallet Crag near Barnard Castle. Not a particularly immense venue but we climbed the mini-classic Kermit (E1), which made me realise i hadn't lost any technique of my previous years hard work!
From that point on climbing began again in ernest, with bouldering circuits at Ravenswick Quarry, a weekend trip to the Peak, getting to the break on Moonflower first go and most significantly a day at Ingleby Incline. The significance was an onsight of Gym Junkies (E3 6b). Not only was i over the moon at still climbing E3, but 6b onsight was a rare thing, especially on trad - it is probably only 6a but the confidence it gave me was unreal.
For the next few months, over the summer (after exams it would seem) we journied around ticking 'classic' routes, many of which were on the wishlist for sometime! Prana (E3), Darklands(E2), Mongol (E2), Warrior (E2), Stargazer (E3+) and Poseidon Adventure (E4). THE find however was Ravensdale Quarry, with its stunning E5 (when we chop the fucking bolts!) Arete.
A trip combining the peak with the Lakes saw a couple of slab testpieces (for me anyway) despatched. Impossible Slab (E3) at Stanage and then Ten Years After (E4) at Hodge Close. The Significant ascent here was Ten Years After, my first proper E4 onsight.
Confident as hell, i swapped E4 slabs for E4 overhanging headwall cracklines and was utterly embarrassed by the Redhead/Shorter classic Stratagem. Oh well, back to Earth with a bump!
The Final few days of our Peak house sitting, saw the ascents of some particularly hard routes for me. Time for Tea, Mad Dogs and Englishmen and Splintered Perspex at E3 and Cabbage Crack and Wizard of Aus at E4. Ultimately, the summer was reaching it's end and we had 2 weeks holiday in spain to look forward to before University, so I decided to try and repeat Franco's bold solution to Roseberry Main face. E5 6a is not my grade and it was blowing a gale, but it was the only day i could do it. I stuck a rope down it and before i knew what i was doing i was clipping into the dubious lone friend, about to pull to the crux via the mono pocket. There were the usual onlookers from the top as i pulled through the sequence. So glad i got this done when i did, as i wouldn't have done it yet if i hadnt!
Spain was nice, but made me realise i was totally weak. The fact i was struggling on 6c+/7a while Franco nearly Redpointed a 7c+ was a bit of a piss take. He is stronger than me, but i did'nt think by that much. I tried the 7c+ and only got a few metres up it. University saw Gritstone of the Yorkshire Variety being climbed upon. I don't like Grit but the Geology course at Leeds is good. I will strive to climb more on the lime than the Grit this year. Some nice folk and some nice soloing days at Eastby and Caley, with some good routes like Tufted Crack, Sylveste, Ron's Reach and Scar have been enough to keep my climbing going until the winter began.
There was a trip to Northumberland and Tremadog before this, which were nice. The Arches in Northumberland and The Plum at T'dog were particularly rewarding.
But so came the winter. I was scared of winter because of the escapade on the Ben 2 years previous, but i was up for getting back into it via easy routes and lots of them. In usual 'moors' manner however we didn't do this. Quite the opposite.
The first route was a FWA of some ungradeable corner crack. We couldn't grade it as we hadn't climbed anything mixed before and had no idea about winter grades. The next day would put us straight... Bowfell Buttress V,6 was ticked by Luke, franco and I. It was less technical than the Corner crack! So we gave it V,7. Great to start easy ey! Chock Gully was another route to go. V,5 when in icy condition, we tackled it in an acceptably icy, powdery mixed condition. It was lean and hard and scary! Franco and Luke tried an 'FA' which later turned out to be VIII,8 and i took my brother to Portcullis Ridge for his first winter route. What a leg-end.
I really can't complain with the way this year has gone. Topping it next year will require effort. But trips with the LUUMC, the Alps and Yorkshire limestone should see a few more laughs, epics and routes ticked.
Breakfast related twaddle.