Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ogden Clough

Wednesday midday, i'm packing my rucksack to go climbing after a morning lecture on Palaeontology. This is why i decided on Leeds Uni, the ability to get out quickly to the surrounding crags, even if they are Gritstone.
Ogden Clough was the venue for today, apparently idyllicly positioned above Ogden Water near Halifax. It attains a height of around 7m and having seen a photo of the place, i decided a rope was probably Necessary. As it turned out, Ewan was also in need of visiting as he had volunteered to write up the crag for the upcoming Yorkshire Grit Guide.
We arrived at the crag and i realised it was pretty much a soloing venue, though it did speak of 'hard topouts'.
I quickly set about O/S soloing the 'E' grades, of which there is plentiful supply. E2 6a seem to be the grade of choice but they are varying in difficulty and crux height, some of example have cruxs near the floor and little gear, others are hard moves between breaks with plentiful camming potential.
Either way, Mike's Meander (E2 6a**) was probably the nicest of the bouldery solos, but i soon set my sights on Joe Cool (E2 5c***). This was on the same wall of rock, tackling the right arete. I did wonder why it was E2 and 5c, when the routes of similar stature were E2 6a?
Either way i decided a Solo was a much better option, and Ewan took some photos which was a good plan, as it turned out.
The starting move is a gem, i took two or three attempts making sure i didn't fluff it as i fancied this one Onsight and it felt like the kind of move that if you get wrong, your off. It went however, a nice bit of footwork and a slight reach to a break.
I stood around here for some time searching for holds and cleaning them abit. Then tried a big rightwards rockover. The Buttress slightly leans towards the river, as a result this rockover felt massively unbalanced but pretty cool. I decided against it however.

I chalked up and tried it leftwards second time around and after quick swap of feet on the break and a slight reach, the top break was gained. From here was one of the 'Ogden' top outs, which in all honesty, are perfectly fine on all the routes except from, Linus (E3).

This E3, seems to get it's grade for the Topout - probably because back in the day they soloed it. However, for my ascent i opted for a rope and a couple of small cams. Placed i went for the top and after struggling to decided where to go, left, direct or right. I found the 'just left of centre' topout but fell off due to a combination of sandy/licheny rock, sweat and tiredness.
I pulled up on to the top with ease and returned to the floor, pulled the ropes and went up again. This time, i fell off again due to sandy holds, i can only think that topping out first time disturbed the holds after i'd cleaned them.
3rd time lucky i thought, but this time i was tired and my hands were oddly greasy. Frustrating.
Ewan abbed for the gear, using myself as an Anchor (a quality moors technique).
Ewan proceeded to solo Mikes Meander, Lead Joe Cool and also lead Linus, though with a slightly more leftwards finish, still i'd say the crux of the topout is pulling around the lip so a good effort from the lanky, welsh, VS punter.
All in all, it's a pleasant little crag well worth a trip and made all the more inviting by the fact you could spend a nice day up there around the Ogden Water, and the surrounding moorland. Definitive family picnic sort of place.

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