Saturday, 21 August 2010

Headpointing highs and impressive flashes.

(Video's now present )

My last post was about 'making the step up', my chance to finally climbing something perseived as being 'hard'. The day finally came, in rather poorly planned circumstances.
Franco and I arranged to head to Round Crag, as Franco had a few jobs to do and i didn't have access to a car, but could get a lift nearby from the parents as they went to Rosedale show.
I arrived and shunted 'Fresh Arete' (an E5 with siderunners in a nearby E3) and got a text from Franco saying he was behind in his schedule.
I lazed around, listening to music and sleeping on my bouldering mat as it was still early.
I occasionally got up, when i was chilly, to work the line again - i felt pretty ok on it, but the whole thing felt sketchy, sketchier than my previous morning on it, but i reckoned that was just because i knew the occasion was fast approaching, i knew it wasn't just Top roping for fun, it was top roping for a solo.
Franco arrived and we each had a couple of goes at the line. Franco admitted that he was less stoked for this particular FA, but we both knew he could easily do it.
I decided that even though i felt a bit psyched out by the prospect of a ground fall solo, i should probably do it as i certainly had it wired in my 10 or 15 top ropes.
I liquid chalked up, this beautiful invention helps with my sweating ailment, for that i am most grateful.
Anyhow, as the video coming will show i climbed it quickly, leading the line with low runners at the break/ledge where you start 2 metres off the deck. At the top block are good nuts to protect the top out. Infact, i climbed the line so quickly i totally forgot to chalk up at my chalking points which was quite funny as i'd spent a few TR's deciding where i could and couldn't chalk up!
Awesome feeling when i pulled over the capping block and stood up looking back to Farndale. Sweet.

Round Headpointing from Ram Man on Vimeo.
Above, Steve Ramsden climbing the Arete (with a good angle of video) and showing the side runners and moves from directly behind. The Fresh Arete sequence is after the starting route which is the impressively bold Pippi longstocking.

"Round Crag New Routes"

Round Crag New Routes- from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

Climbing, is F7a+ we reckon, with unpredictable, slappy, compression moves. The climbing itself is fairly staightforward to headpoint/beta, as i had previously climbed the arete with Siderunners 2nd go, but onsight would be pretty hard and ultimately from the higher moves you'd almost certainly hit the floor, despite everything Franco would have done in regards to running belaying.
I'm not out to sandbag folk, so i've decided to stick with E7 6b rather than E6 6b, as even though it sticks out like a sore thumb at this sandbagged crag, it's what you'd want to be climbing to try and ONSIGHT it! Ultimately it should get H7, but i think i'll just stick with giving it a big phat E grade as it makes me happy :)
I can't rename it, but i would have liked to have called it Choados or Choadasaurus Rex. Partly because it's funny to me and it describes the Round Crag Pinnacle well (being wider than it is tall) but also it kind of keeps up the tradition of odd route names (Hypocrasy of Moose, The Otter Wilderness Route, Welcomed Back to the Beaver Pack, Pasghetti Alpinist for ours and then Three Screaming Popes, Primate Wardrobe Superviser to name some previous era FA's)

Being very slightly less self orientated, we wandered to the north wall of the Round Crag Pinnacle and made a start on the FA of the blunt arete to the right of Honey Arete.
The moves looked good, on undercuts and largish edges. It was very dirty though and happy from my headpoint i said i'd clean the line on abseil and sort the moves on toprope.
I quickly found a sequence but the last move kept me guessing for some time. Eventually, i figured it out, a beautiful wide pinch.
I cleaned all the nessisary holds well and then shunted the line again. I then set to work filming Franco's Flash. He asked what i thought the grade was, i didn't know, maybe E5? Before i found the move i thought it was going to be E7 or worse but if the runner at the starting undercut were good, then the first few moves would be protected.
Franco and I, in our haste however didn't have any gear that would fit such as crack as we only brought gear for Fresh Arete, so Franco just soloed the line. I watched, heart in mouth.
Pretty solid flash from Franco who exclaimed E6 at the top and said it was certainly one of the harder flashes he'd done! It certainly felt like a good series of moves when i shunted it to clean it, i will have to head back up sometime and do it, shame i can't ground up it really

some afterthoughts by Franco...

Post-Vampiric Obsession Fear from Franco Cookson on Vimeo.

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