Monday, 31 May 2010
In the end, i decided to sort of cut it half way. I didn't really want to go to the lakes and solo classic HS's or VS's, i just wasn't in that sort of mood. I fancied a day soloing at a 10metre crag - but didn't really fancy going all the way to the Lakes for that, at say Black Crag, Wrynose.
In the end, my thoughts drifted back to an email i had received a few weeks back from the Cleveland MC. It was a meet reminder for a sunday meet at Windmore End, above Brough. I had considered going, as it is reputed to be a lovely soloing crag made up fo pretty solid, nicely weathered limestone.
I had the routes list as part of the email and there were quite literally 100's of routes from Diff to E3. I decided it was a much better option than soloing say 'Fool's Paradise' or 'Eliminate A'.
Departing the mist and rain of the moors, i was greeted by sun and warmth at Windmore. The drive over was busy with holiday makers heading to the lakes and horse's heading to Appleby. I was quite happy about exiting the A66 early, actually.
The crag itself barely exceeds 8-10metres and is composed of beautiful limestone, it was somewhere i'd spotted as being 'close to the moors for sussing out limestone' when i was younger and had only experienced Grit and Sandstone.
Long story short, the crag in my eyes was great. Great views, great rock and all on good holds. The routes never have horrendous slopers or thin slippy footholds or anything 'cruxy' like that, they just seem to be good moves between good holds. Either jugs, or good finger jams or bomber crimps. It really was bliss.
The grading was soft too i think, unless i was going well. A few of the E3's i soloed said 'Very Bold', which i found were bold but so they should be for a 8m E3 5c...
Perhaps it's just coming off the back of the last 6 months on the Yorkshire Shit(grit)stone? Either way, soft grades or just they suited my stile of being slightly bold without trick moves, it's the enjoyment that counts and 5 E3's 4 of which were Onsight all made up of good moves is a good day out for me! :-)
Well worth the effort if you live nearish and probably worth a detour on the way to the Lakes from the North East, if you enjoy 8metre, Soloing of a variety of grades. The VS's and HVS's that i soloed, mainly on the 'Far Right' were excellent too.
Saturday, 29 May 2010
I decided to hit the old training patch of Ravenswick, with it's slightly overhanging walls of limestone it's the Stoney, of the Moors.
Arriving in the heavyish rain i wasn't too hopeful, but was pleasantly suprised to see the walls dry and not seepy.
Over the next 3 hours i traversed the usual traverses on black wall. Gutter Crack to Flake Crack traverse (with jump finish) being the best, but i did the variants too with bummelzug start and also Marooned (with easy beta) up then managed the 'hard' finish to the traverse.
This goes by traving right on the crimps then gaining a much smaller crimp, below the pinch hold. From here you much pop to the good pocket with your left. This constitutes the crux and is hard and very fluffable. I didn't manage the V7 full traverse utlising this finish.
I ended by traversing whitewall (v2 5b) along the bottom break, having a leg bar rest for 20 seconds then traversing back slightly higher. Good little session considering the weather.
P.S the weather was 'mid heavy rain' you got wet if you stayed in it. What i did notice was that if you fixed lower-offs, you'd get away with climbing the routes in the conditions and the bouldering is good. Worth bearing in mind.
There are many 'easy' problems possible all along the wall.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Returning from Uni, i went into the shed where my training wall is. Intent on actually using it i set about making some routes/problems and then went to get my shoes, that i'd left in the garage over the winter.
The Swallows, that reside in our garage every spring were happily buzzing around the roof space crapping at will. I was quite shocked to find my shoes had become the early attempts at a home, unfortunately for the poor Wren or whatever, i decided i wanted my shoes back.
So, if you have any old shoes - lop 'em in a shed and see what happens.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
My final exam at Leeds Uni, Maths, was over and unable to find a climbing partner in Leeds i quickly made my way back to the Moors and after a meal with mum at a garden centre, i made my way with the dog to Philleas Fog.
The rock looked good and was still chalked from Steve's ascent. I quickly jumped on it, this time unfortunately without videos!
I didn't make much progess on my 'flash' attempt. I've seen his video and it made the start look easy and the top look hard but doable. I found the start quite a shock, but made it to the lunge for a good hold before struggling to get my feet up and falling off.
Second go was much better, i gained the crimp on the right which i found good until i started to pull on it, when i seemed to slip out of the blighter.
Over time, about 20 minutes i eventually (without using a heel on the big sidepull) gained the final flake/crimp on the left. Here Steve drops his right knee on a rightward facing hold and slaps the top. I tried and failed, miserably.
I gave up on the dropknee, and just placed a foot against the rightfacing hold and jumped for the top. The holds were ok, but the friction certainly wasn't brilliant. It was about 10 degrees and no wind, i was running out of chalk.
15 or 20 goes (from standing), two of which i held the top before popping, i eventually nailed the 'good' bit and made sure i didn't come off! This time from sitting, i had got the bottom of the little left flake/crimp where i could get a smaller but more positive contact.
Very Very Very happy, with this ascent. Mainly as it's brilliant climbing but also because i'd come from Leeds to do it!
Felt very much harder than Waylander, (Font 6c+), so if Philleas is Font 7a, then Waylander must be easier.
I've now repeated two of Steve's Font 7a's and found them both tricky but eventually got them. I think this is my achieveable bouldering grade, i've done a harder one mover of his, (For Leichenstein) but i did it differently.
Food for thought anyway, but i fancy the trad or sport :-)
Friday, 21 May 2010
Anyway, summer appears to have come slightly early to the UK, with temperaturing hitting the late 20's which is nice to lay around in, but slightly unpleasant for me.
Ewan and i, post exam (Gold Occurences in the British Isles), decided to get out to somewhere quickly for an evening. I was psyched to hit the lime but time didn't allow so instead we got to Brandrith. Long story short, we soloed most of the nice looking lines, including Fingerdancer (E1 5a) which is more like HVS 4c. It's a great little line though with wonderful holds, well worth going up for and it was starting to show a bit of greenery!
I also did an E2 that takes a hanging crack from the ** VS on the first buttress encountered. The line looked ok, but when i got up to it and though about the description you don't actually climb the crack at all (at least not at the grade) Instead you crimp up the wall on the right about a metre from the MSevere. Anyway, it's nice enough moves and the gear is 'ok' so it packs a bit in, probably worth doing. The E1 6a there is a bit of a leg breaker too, a tricky move that if you actually fall off, rather than jump off, you'd hit a ledge and topple backwards, not pleasant. Again, though the move is good though - Typical Gritstone really, you either groundfall or slump on gear and dont fall anywhere.
Today was my last day before a weekend of revision, so i was psyched to get on a classic E3. Dib Scar was chosen but in the morning the forecast made me reconsider, quickly.
Arriving at Kilnsey, due to it's East Facing aspect we quite quickly got on with the job in hand. A step down from Classic E3, a beaut of a line, the huge bulging Corner of 'The Diedre' (E2 5b). This brilliant looking route and classic mid grade route had been on my radar for ages but i never could get around to going to Kilnsey just for that.
Ewan quickly despatched the first pitch and i got on with the second. Brilliant juggy pulls through the bulging corner, and then a tricky traverse left gains a Tree. I was a bit put off by the gear back in the corner, i wasn't sure if i had to go straight back right from the tree or not. The Polish on the tree itself made me realise that you clip it and, staying on it's right use it to gain a break that leads back into the corner. Or at least, that's what i did!? A0?
A beautiful traverse right in a great position unfortunately lands you at a loweroff, which i clipped but wanted to ignore, topping out to the Sun. Shirt off, tanning away as i brough up Ewan.
Grade wise, i don't understand E2 5b. It's not sustained as such, it has 3 clear 'tricky' sections. The bulge pull is about 5b and well protected. Then above is a traverse left that i felt was 5cish, with very good gear. The above the tree was another traverse, again i thought 5b/c, with gear a bit lower on the tree. All in all, it's definitive E2 experience but i feel 5c is the grade for at least two sequences? Anyway, lots of gear, not pumpy, not massively sustained, but continually interesting and a superb route, get it done!
It's DRY and could do with a few ascents to clean it up abit!!!!!
After this i decided that i fancied a bit of bolt clipping as it was so warm, so we trotted around to Troller's Gill. I wanted 'Jim Grin' F7a, but decided to give a short F6c+ ago just to see. I Fell off on the O/S due to slipping, but then found the next move hard to discover the seqence for. I did and the route went 3rd go, which i was happy with. It's a nice little route actually 'Shaggy dog Show' i think it's called. Looks a bit poor but is worth the effort in my eyes.
However, i decided that 3 go's on that would probably mean 5 or 6 on a f7a, so feeling a bit lightheaded in the heat departed. Some beasts were crushing F8a. Good work.
Tuesday, 18 May 2010
Perhaps i return to the Moors for a few days 'active rest' before heading back to Leeds where i have more hope of catching a lift to crags...
Either way, the main objective on the horizon is the Alps. The Coach is booked we'll be there on the 4th of July for a month or more. Psyched! Yes i am, but for what? I don't know yet i'll probably just warm up on a few of the quality routes Franco did two years ago, like the Cordier Pillar and i'm sure Franco has set his sights on something hard... The Frendo Spur is attractive, as Ian Jackson climbed it in his first alpine season, but we'll just see how things go. I had a pretty decent winter this year in regard to snowbashing so that might happen.
If i had a car and didn't have this silly geology thing, then i'd love to spend the 5 week's i'd have been exams finishing and Alps trip buzzing around the UK trad, getting back to something respectable like i was last summer. I only seem to be able to get above E2 by climbing a ridiculous volume of routes and i quickly lose it. Really want to spend some time on Limestone (sport and trad), Skye Maybe, Pembroke, North Wales and my favourite area the Lake District. I'm particularly envious of Franco and people heading out to Pabbay while i'm in Scotland taking dips and strikes, but i guess if we return mid August then i have another month to organise climbing before returning to Leeds for Semester 2... Decisions on where i want to go abroad, anyone know any Uni's in America that are CLOSE to climbing or have good climbing clubs?
Sunday, 16 May 2010
A lazy day was in order as we slowly dispatched the pleasant E2, Crossbones. I say pleasant, it's HVS for the entire route except from a 3 metre section that is in my opinion hard 5c, as i wrong handed myself on the route and had a bit of sketch to pull through the crux, as i say though, above this it's limestone bliss on a lovely exposed ramp.
Ewan wasn't feeling his best and he quickly climbed the HVS, Pikedaw Wall, that climbs a cracked niche a few metres to the left of Clubfoot (VS). I declined to second and this ate up lots of time with a abseil and walk around with the gear. We however decided to wander up to the Terrace and i got on the brilliantly exposed 'Sundancer Wall' (E2). Again, another unsustained line. An initial pull gains a break and then a hard series, where i had to really reach and pull hard gains respite on a break and a bomber superlight WC wire - i love these babies on Limestone.
After this you stroll up a great corner crack feature pulling through the top blocks on pockets in a great position. I really enjoyed this line actually and after abseiling down for the gear, we met up with Gareth and he climbed the same HVS as Ewan, Pikedaw Wall. This time i did second and it's a great little micro route with a top wall of heavenly jug pulls!
I always meant to get on Black Wall Eliminate on my second visit to the crag but ended up just doing Syrett's Roof (font 6c / E3), i think that must have been a short day?
Anyway, we arrived in the late afternoon after a day of revision and i quickly climbed Black Wall Eliminate, which i have to admit i didn't fancy soloing! I placed 3 runners and found the climbing fine but on solo, even as repeat, would have been quite goey.
Next up, two nice climbs that i didn't expect to get on really as they certainly didn't 'appeal' to me, but i was feeling energetic.
Clematis (E2) climbs up to the right of Orchist, 'via long reachs between good holds' which i decided to get on as i don't like reaches. Anyway, after fannying around placing gear and a downclimb for a rest, i made the reach out right and after a bellyflop rest under the block at the top, i topped out on this enjoyable little climb.
Checking the logbooks, people seem to solo this route? Ordinarily, i'd often log climbs as solo that most people lead but this was the other way around. Perhaps im losing my soloing head?
I decided that wasn't the case and after bouldering out the start, i quickly despatches Bancroft's Roof (E2 6b) which was nice, with a bold 5c move getting over the roof at the top.
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Stargazer (E3 5c**), is a great little climb but it is generally thought to be difficult to onsight and probably trickier than 5c. However, its 'direct' variant gets E4 6a*** but i have to admit that i've always been skeptical about it's grade, the top looks hard!
I decided i'd just ab down it to 'see'. However, after looked i decided i wasn't going to O/S it so i may as well shunt it first! Starting at Desperate Den Direct (E6 6c*), i made the terribly hard move up to the small crimp, with a bit of a pop i nearly held it but blamed the top rope for unbalancing me! From here i pulled up to the break and quickly made my way up the pitmarks, direct up from the pocket hold on the Stargazer traverse break.
I did the same first move, using the hidden sidepull and 3 finger pocket but reaching up and slightly right to a small, sharp gaston. Using this, i reached through to a deep 1/2 finger pocket and pulled to a similar hold. Foot went into a hold that it didn't feel it would stay in and i made a reach for the break.
Ok - tricky, slightly bold but you wouldn't hit the deck. E4 6a ** i'd say as it wasn't really amazing. However, at the large break where Stargazer finishs up a crack, i was a couple of metres to the right at a 00/0 cam slot. Ok, i thought so just make a move up to...
I pulled around the bulge and quickly fell off. Where the hell to you go from here? I'm on a positive crimp hold with a metre and a bit to the slopy top and grass. I tried to rockover but couldn't i tired to pull on a slopy sidepull thing but that didn't work either...was it too warm? God knows but it's fucking nails! E4 6a** to the break below the bulge... at least 6b to gain the actual top of the wall in my eyes - maybe i missed something?
After this, i cleaned and worked Rockhopper twice. It's a bold move made tamer by a bit of work. It's a crap line and the move is more bold than good but it was worth doing anyway. Scary like defintely felt E3 5b!
I felt pretty happy about this, soloing around and about, doing some of the easy VD's and VS's i'd never done before then soloed Queer Street - which is never enjoyable! I moved the rope over to Moonflower and tried Moonflower proper. Unfortunately i found the SelfBelay made the climbing quite a bit harder than it actually is so i dogged around on Moonflower Direct (E4 6b) which i'd done before and then, without the unbalancing rope soloed the line with the rope hanging. Ethics out the window top rope practicing a line i'd already done, but it was a satisfying solo for me anywho!
I finished by working and soloing another route i'd fancied 'just doing for the hell of it', a route called Scar - E1.
I tackles a short, steep crack and after a work i soloed it. 5c move was good, well protected for leading and quite scary to solo. Grand day out i thought as i quickly packed my gear away before i did anymore solo shitpieces.
However, as i began to walk away from the crag i remembed 'Flower Power' English 6c. It's a traverse of Moonflower wall, so i turned back, shoes and chalk out and searched for holds.
Holds found, i worked a sequence tried it and fell off twice then did it third go. I found the moves quite enjoyable (so it's probably 6b rather than 6c!) but it felt a tad easier than Waylander so it's prbably Font 6b+/6c.
Grand day out - the only other things i got from the day is that Esmerelda(E7 6c**) had chalk on it and looks hard and that Magic In The Air (E5 6b***) is definitely G/U territory with the cams over in Stargazer. Psyched.
Saturday, 8 May 2010
I returned to the moors, for a 'relax' before revising for my exams. I decided to keep the climbing to a minimum and to 'push' my technical grade, rather than do stuff comfortably. I had intended to shunt something hard at Ravenscar or Highcliffe, but the northerly wind made it pretty darn chilly.
I elected to bosh up to Ingleby Incline to check out 'the 4th best boulder problem on the moors', after repeating Steve Ramsdens; The Prow (Font 7a), For Liechenstein (Font 7b) and also having a day bouldering with Lee at Stormy Hall, i decided that this statement was probably truthful.
Rocking up to the boulder listening to Roxy Music, oh yes. The Boulder, is nestled in trees about 1/2 mile before the cottages along the track. It's fairly easy to see if you keep your eyes open at the large tree clearing to your left.
I had a 5 minute warm up then got on the wall, it looked 'flashable' from their video but their beta seemed wierd, once i got on it! Ultimately, i failed - struggling to hold a small sloping crimp from a half lock off move.
Second go was more of the same, this time i slapped to the top from the slopy crimp but it's not 'the way' to do the problem. 3rd go was a disaster, as i was tired so i decided this was the time to have a rest, drink and chillout to some more Roxy Music... 4th go, i managed the moves and the wet top out. I don't have a video for me doing it, on here as it's larger than 100mb, but i'm working on uploading it to Facebook or Vimeo etc, then linking it back... Failing that, watch Steve Ramsden's 'Moors Attacks' Video - Link to his blog in the right margin.
I then got all horticultural and removed the tree that was blocking a lovely looking traverse line...
This traverse leads into the crux of Waylander, which is a beaut. It took a few goes to find the holds i needed and clean them, then sort a sequence. I have a video of this, unfortunately my camera batteries weren't up to the job and died on me.
After a good 20 minutes rest and recoup, i had maybe my 10th or 11th go at the traverse-into-Waylander an it went. It's a great extension in my eyes but not technically more difficult. It starts at the right of the boulder on two good incuts and a right foot on a low pocket thing. Pull up and place your left foot on the ramp (Quite frequently your right foot touches the floor here, unfortuantely) then cross through with your right hand to an undercut. One powerful move and your established on the traverse and more importantly you're fully prepared to meet the Waylander crux after 1o or so previous moves ;-) Grade - i'm not brilliant at boulder grading, but i'd guess that seeing as its Font 6c+ for Waylander and the traverse itself is maybe Font 6b, that together it makes a 'more sustained 6c+', rather than Font 7a. It didn't feel as hard as The Prow at Wainstones, though the climbing is totally different!
I had planned to walk up to Battersby Crag - but i didn't feel like it and without a camera to take photos i had no real reason. I quickly climbed the Left arete, on it's right side that was pleasant enough then departed, running back to the car for some 'Alps training'.
Wednesday, 5 May 2010
It then rained, so we sat under some slate overhang for half an hour or so, waiting for it to stop. During this time, there were two false starts for me and i was incredibly pissed off. Eventually however it did brighten up and i jumped on the Daisy, and dispatched it with similar ease, a very classy route with a gearfilled technical crack line, then a run out but much easier section above the stake-thing.
Day 3: We fancied a day in the Pass but that night it rained/snowed so we elected for the slate again, mainly as we all had routes we wanted to do there. I fancied actually getting on German Schoolgirl and Ewan wanted to do the E2 arete of Serengeti Slab and also Red and Yellow and... the E2 5b just to the left of Pull My Daisy.We started the day at Serengeti, with Ewan quickly climbing 'The Stick Up' (the arete) and Conor climbing the E1 'Seams the Same'. We then departed to Twll Mwr, where Conor and Huw climbed Combat Rock (HVS/E1) and myself and Ewan climbed 'Rhyfelwr' E1. Both particularly nice lines and the huge void that is Twll Mwr made me quite psyched to climb the massively exposed looking arete - which went at E2. However, it was cold and not in the sun so it wouldnt have been pleasant to climb or Belay. I'll come back!
While here i met Matt, whom myself and Franco had met 2 years previous in Pete's Eats while we were dossing in the slate quarries. It was nice to chat to him, was amazed he remembered me.