The BUCS event was having an after competition climbing weekend at Millstone - so not participating in BUCS, Leeds decided to send a contingent of Sean Jacobs, Rowan, Jamie Goodwin and myself to climb and sample the banter...
I was going as i'm fairly fond of Millstone and had some unfinished buisness, namely Knightsbridge and Suspense at Lawrencefield. However, i wasn't travelling with the utmost confidence having fallen off the majority of routes i've tried over E1 in the past couple of weeks and i decided getting on routes like Suspense - which you just don't want to fall off, would be a good idea.
We arrived and about the same time, Manchester uni did also. This meant Franco was about, which was good as it had been quite a while since we'd last climbed together - and i generally climb better with Franco as he's fairly odd - and it's contageous.
However, i had agreed to climb with Sean first and i jumped on Knightsbridge. Everything went swimmingly, until i reached the crux. I tired in vain to stick my fingers into the chalked fingerlock but they were having non of it - I must have put weight on over the winter as my fingers are chubbier than previously and that's fairly impressive!
I ended up falling off, another E2. I shouted bollocks or somesuch quite loud, which is most out of character i feel but it was massively frustrating. E2 was my solid grade not so long ago and climbing is a big confidence game.
I dropped down and pulled the ropes and tried again. This time, i attempted to fine a 'crimp' anything that i could use to help me pass the thinnest part of the crack.
Luckily, on my second attempt i did curl my tips over a crimp. Franco had shouted up that he remembered there possibly being a 'hold' on the left of the crack and sure enough there was.
I didn't feel to bad though, as i checked the logbooks and saw a fair few strong lads have struggled with that crux, indeed legend has it Luke didn't manage it either...
My confidence however at the time was shot. I didn't want to climb anything and i had come with aspirations of Erb, Twikker and Suspense. I ended up dossing around eating, talking bollocks to people i've never met and sporting Will Hunt's horrendously colourful Lycra that i had worn for a laugh. I also belayed Franco on Coventry Steet - which he climbed with no problem up until he put his hand on the ledge. It was dusty and he ended up taking an Inverted Whipper into the wall below.
Bizzarely, this psyched me up a tad and i persuaded him to belay me on the close-by E2 of Piccadilly Circus. This two pitcher wasn't to his liking so i decided to run it into one - as it would be good practice. It had the added benefit of making me make sure i didn't fall off as i was going easy on the gear as to prevent rope drag.
The crux pull out of the cave was pretty committing, as i didn't bother with any of the 'potentially rope drag causing gear' in the cave. Baisically, i decided to myself that i wasn't going to fall of this E2 and quite frankly, i couldn't.
That night we all sat around drinking the odd beverage and eating barbequed meat of various origins... Myself and Franco being rather classy with Chicken Breast and Lamb Chops... and then i thankfully got a space in a tent which was nice as i had previously been planning on just sleeping outside somewhere.
The next morning, Franco and I left a cold and windy Millstone for the warmer, more sheltered Lawrencefield.
I jumped on Suspense without much thought and jerkily climbed my way to the crux finger crack. I lopped a couple of wires in and then deliberated how to do it?
My fingers would fit in the crack, thankfully, but the footholds out right looked slippy and shite. I tried and almost as fast backed off back to the foot ledge.
I chatted to Franco about something totally irrelevant and chalked up and then this time using the same technique, the crux went and the top move, was nailed without using the peg scars at the top somehow? Though i can't really remember how or why.
Fair to say i was relieved, as firstly i hadn't fallen off this most classic of routes but also i never particularly enjoy the prospect of falling on small wires. I have to admit i found the gear 'ok' but hardly inspiring.
Franco seconded and said it was hard in the conditions, which were slightly greasy due to the stillness.
The rest of the day was quite relaxed for me, Franco climbed Boulevard and High Plains Drifter (total sketch!) and i ended up being a chicken and leaving Billy Whizz for another day and entertaining myself on Great Peter, content that i don't fall off E1's!