Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Stoupe Brow, Moors Homecoming and general psyche

I arrived back in Leeds after my Pembrokeshire Fieldclass and quickly sorted things out and caught the last train up north. My mum picked me up from Northallerton - i asked what the weather was going to be like and apparently the next day was dry but then rain for a few days.
I rang Franco and we arranged to go 'somewhere'.
The morning was dry, but particuarly windy. I mentioned the idea of Peak Scar, but in the end we decided to go to Stoupe Brow (aka Ravensdale), as i needed to put diesel in the car at Whitby.

I hadn't been to Ravensdale since our first visit and i remembered it having great potential. I wasn't totally mislead by my memories, though, there are probably less 'quality' lines than i remembered. The main lines sticking out to me, were the plethora of splitter cracks, the White Scoop, the roof crack on the right and a few of the central buttress lines. The central Arete looked less impressive than i remembered it, though i know the climbing on it is class.

The wind made it chilly and we warmed up with some of the bouldering on the huge boulders in the quarry base then we wandered up to climb the Roof Crack at the right hand side of the walls.
Franco had abbed the line previously and said it looked tricky but well protected - he hadn't looked at the starting finger crack as it looked straightforward.
I jumped on lead and started up the crackline, it was fairly straightforward and it involved some nice bridging moves. I looked up to see the crackline thinned so much so, i wouldn't be able to climb it. I placed some gear and spanned left to a hold on a small ledge about 2 metres left of of the crack and began to mantle up into the void below the roof. The rocks above me were blocky and i reached for an edge rather than a block.
I barely pulled on the edge when a sinuous crack formed all the way around the hold and it parted company with the wall.
In a bit of a blurr, i had swung back right and slammed into the wall, i think i knee'd Franco as well. The rock narrowly missing the both of us.
5 minutes rest and i got back on the route. I climbed the corner easier this time, which is about 5a and then spanned left to the hold and mantled, this time to the base of the newly formed rock scar. This scar brings the hold around a foot closer to you, making it slightly easier than my first attempt.
I placed a couple of bomber Cams in the roof crack and then attacked the crack placing a nut higher up. I down climbed to the ledge.
From the ledge it would be possible to chossily traverse out to the left, which is a shame as it makes the line what they call escapable. That said, i don't think i'd really want to 'escape' that way.
I jammed back onto the crack and reached it's overhanging lip. I could see a few footholds and the jams were reasonable. I pulled up and pushed a foot against a smear and jammed my way up to a final, slightly desperate pop for a sidepull. I placed a nut and negotiated the top out.
I was quite pleased with the quality of the line. Two contrasting 'parts' to the climb, unfortunately marred slightly by the poorish band of rock at half height. That said, i would be happy to climb it on a trip to Northumberland or the Grit so it's worth the Star i gave it, in my opinion - there isn't a tremendous amount of roof cracks on the Moors.
Grade wise i was unsure, ultimately it felt like a Yorkshire Grit E2 crackline.

The day seemed to have passed us by in a poorly-psyched, wind-battered blur. I nearly got on the big sandy crackline however a viewing showed a very slopey top section that looks to be the crux. I think i'll leave it maybe ab down it to check it out, seeing as it's an FA.

Franco and I then, had a short session working Alan Mankers 'White Scoop' which breaks left from the Central Crack and i had dubbed 'a Ravensdale, Time for Tea'. Franco however, declared it was more like 6b.
I had a go, and pretty quickly fell off. A few 5c moves lead to a reach to a crimp that sort of depends on body position, which i didn't do. The second go i got up to the pinchy/crimpy thing and slapped out left. I couldn't find this 'hold' Franco spoke of, but gave it a few goes and finally found it.
I said then, that i wouldn't be leading this line anytime soon - like ever.
From there, it gets worse. A rearrangement of feet and a heelhook allows a small amount of height to be gained to reach up and left to a crimp. I fell off this move and decided the sequence was tricky E7 6b? .Maybe. A couple of stars anyway the moves are brilliant - what is it with this crag having brilliant moves on good routes that nobody is going to probably bother with?

We'll be back, i intend on going back on a slightly warmer day to clean the cracklines and have a few more go's at the Scoop - it would be very nice to get the moves in a oner.

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