Thursday, 30 September 2010


Back at Leeds after a reasonably eventful summer hols. I returned in fairly decent spirits hoping to get a few weeks on the Yorks Lime before the autumn hit too hard and i was also quite stoked for getting friendly with the Gritstone...
Unfortunately, the weather was somewhat poor during Freshers week and the Lime seems to have had its summer, so we had two trips to Ilkley and Almscliffe.
I was feeling strongish and confident so i got on 'Sylvia' some E3 to the left of 'Sylveste (E2)' on a small buttress in the Rocky Valley. Unfortunately i didn't give the line much thought and i was soon picking myself up out of the rocky pit from below the climb, with a bleeding but ok leg.

Rather embarrassed about this with the new Leeds Uni climber Heather Florence; i decided seeing as i was geared up i'd do Sylveste again. Unfortunately this didn't go to plan and after totally missing the big hold, slipping off microcrimps at the top, I took a nice whinger with a much lighter belayer in the form of Heather... What a start to the gritstone campaign, it truly is a whack rocktype.
I ran away from Ilkley, glad i hadn't got on Blind Valley(E3+) and that was that.

Almscliffe that Saturday was strange too. I arrived and looked at Western Front. It looks so doable and so it should be it's E3. It was cold and windy though, so i soloed about not actually finishing anything and just downclimbing from cruxs and such - really strange feeling.
I found Conor and asked him to belay me on Great Western (HVS***(*) (Apparently)), seeing as i'd never got around to doing it last year. I climbed up Crack of Doom (VS), then told by Conor to carry on to the top to 'a jug and rest' i did so. I found a pumpy, non jug and got a nut stuck... Then i Anihilated my fore finger knuckle ragging it back out - i currently have a rather large chunk out of it.
I reversed to the traverse and found a beautiful cam slot. Fook sake, i pratted around higher up and then on the traverse line found a much better bit of gear and contrary to many peoples thoughts found the traverse seemingly unpumpy...? Finished up 5* finish, which is a good *** line but not really sure about the jamming, you actually have to go out of your way to jam, but they are nice but nothing to whittle on about 'the best jams on the crag'.

Sean then asked if i fancied doing Yellow Wall (E2) , his 1 remaining un climbed line at the grade at Almscliffe. I didn't know what it was, where it was or anything about it so i belayed him on it and then decided i may as well do it for the craic. It's a good 1 mover, with cams on the right and feet difficult to place. Might have to do Yellow Peril (E4 topout) one day, if i start to find a love from rounded gritstone topouts?

Seemingly ok day ended with me and Sean trying Forgotton Wall (E5), but i quickly discovered the move to be nails (6c) and reversed. Sean had a go and fell off then started to redpoint the crux. He did OK nearly latching the break but hurt his knee, so he lowered and then everyone wanted to leave so i didn't actually have a go at the crux. Never mind, its grit 6c so i wouldn't stand a chance anyway.

Stanage on Saturday, Stoked?, no not really...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Hodge and that...

A few days in the lakes was planned and we departed to the CMC hut, intent on ticking Lakeland E4's.
We chose Dow Crag, as the guide had 3 *** E4's in a row on 'B' Buttress, that seemed like they all needed doing. Unfortunately, Tumble, the classic E4 was wet in the lower groove so i backed off and then we discovered that Genocide now didn't have the peg insitu which would mean it was harder than E4, pretty de-stoked by this Franco soloed Eliminate A and then we left Dow Crag to Hodge Close, just down the road.
Franco On Genocide E4?, Dow Crag
Franco Soloing Eliminate 'A', VS, Dow Crag

Limited Edition (E4 6a/F6c+) had been on my to-do list for ages. I viewed it as a better protected, harder Ten Years After and i liked the sound of that. Franco climbed the route first from the 'Big Dipper' rampline, quickly popping his way up the starting groove and then simply rocking through the upper reaches of the climb. He abbed back down and then i had a bash.
Franco On Limited Edition:

The moves off the ledge are thin, the second clip feels desperate and then a long reach or pop to a really good hold. We both felt it was touching Eng. 6b but it was very warm.
Above this is a good 6 or 7 metre run out, leftways where soloing 5b/c helps you, until you reach a 3rd bolt. Above this is a great piece of flake climbing and a 4th bolt. Then, reversing 'Mirrormere' you traverse right for around 7 metres to a foothold and 5th bolt.
A thin, contorted rockover leads into the final tiny flake and the top. Great route, slightly unbalanced due to the hard start but the positions are good.

We left back to the Club Hut and decided that a visit to Cathedral was in order. Unfortuantely, Basilica the big E4 up the huge wall was seeping, so we decided to try Cold Turkey, E4 6b...

I don't know if this was ever ed... but unless abseilers and perhaps waterwash has combined to totally strip any holds off this slab, the climbing was very, very hard indeed. Certainly not E4. We rapped in but i sacked it off and got back out on the left. Franco was interested to see if it was possible and he did get to the top of hte climb but said it was totally ridiculous. Above the two lower bolts are two rusty pegs, they looked bomber enough but the top wall would be run out with moves of 6a at least, making the whole thing seem to be 6b moves (now 6c??) into run out 6a... yup, sounds E4...
My mood got worse as on the drive out of Cathedral i hit a rock protruding into the road and got a flat tyre. Unfortunately someone had taken the spare out of the car, so stuck in the middle of nowhere we abandoned the car and started walking back to the Hut at Ullswater. We luckily got a couple of hitches and arrived to find the hut had been booked by RAF Squaddies. Great.

While in the hut, i decided it was time to try the new and poorly understood 'Dunne Diet'. However, the effects have been not all that i expected..

I had rung my parents are asked if they fancied a trip over to the lakes...and if they fancied bringing a spare tyre. They did, as they had been planning on visiting the lakes anyway, which was lucky.

The following day, after repairing the car we gave mum and dad a tour of the quarries and then invited them to watch us climbing at Hodge Close, as it was roadside and easy to see whats going on. My parents had never seen either of us climbing and often asked about rope management and belays and such so it was a good place to show them 'the ropes'...

Bloke on 'Sky' E2/F6b+
We climbed 'Sky', a retrobolted E4 5c, which is now F6b+... it really should have had less bolts to make it E2/3 but never mind. Great climbing well worth doing.

Me climbing Sky, E2/F6b+
The parents seemed to enjoy our quick ascent, without issue and they left to Ambleside. Franco and I stoked for 'First Night Nerves' found it was wet, so we decided to try 'Carpe Diem' (F7a+) which climbs a shallow groove formed by the rockfall. I remember myself and Franco looking at it before, as a trad line.
Anyway, the climbing is nice, but the bolting is poor. Far too many closely spaced bolts but then the only tricky clip, the 3rd bolt, is placed awkwardly and the 2nd bolt is far to close to the 1st... I don't know how to bolt but it seems a shame a nice feature of rock has been spoilt, not by the bolting but by a poor job of doing so. Still, climb is worth doing - don't get me wrong!

Franco then had a quick play on a proj...

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Le Pinnacle de Choad

Another cracking day at the local crag, Round Crag aka Pinnacle de Choad. Named so, because the pinnacle is wider than it is tall!
Journied back with Andrew (Twig) Harvie in order to 'send' Vampiric Obsession, Francos New Route on the north wall of the block.
I'd done the moves on TR and cleaned the line figuring out the beta so Franco could flash it, which he did. I however couldn't do the climb due to having to meet my parents in Rosedale, on that particular day.
I arranged with Twig to go and i'd settle for Vampiric and he would try 'Fresh Arete' - E5. However, it was warm so we located ourselves on the North wall and quickly got started headpointing Vampiric, it quickly became apparent that Twig was more psyched for this as well, as the dynamic moves of Fresh Arete was going to aggrivate his injured wrist.
In the end, i lead Vampiric after a couple of Top Ropes. I climbed up to the gear via the long reach to the break and installed two cams, 0.5 and 1. Then with these protecting the technical stand up move above, i was quickly at the crux. A reach and a pinch and a left hand slap/snatch into the crimp side pull. Over the top on the tree root, which i had 'backed up' by tieing a rope to it for stability!
If any one is wondering it would be possible to dig off that ledge, but it would dirty the climb to such a degree i think it would be a poor choice!
Great climbing, really enjoyable. Around F7a, with a 6a/6b crux towards the top which the gear in the break wouldn't catch you from. Nice.

After this, i did Fresh Arete again to show Twig and then with a choice between Time Out (E3/4 6a) and Dither (E2 6a), i decided a quick jaunt up Dither was worth 15 minutes of my life.
It looked like a well protected mantle move, but was dirty. I climbed up, placed some gear in the break (which would be better but needs a good clean!) then dropped down for a rest. Boshing up again i mantled over the lip, hands on small sloping pocketty things, i began to slide backwards in the heat. I popped for the top but it was futile and i took a pretty decent fall into space.
Most fun i'd had all day, as i sort of didn't expect the gear to hold (even though it was good!) and i didn't really expect to come off!
Pulled and went again, made the move around the lip and on the slab again, pulling on small irony monos and slippery warm edges, i suddenly found the incut on the Arete. Shite.
E2 6a with that hold, without, no wonder it felt desperate! Nice enough climbing anyway, good for a nice clean fall one of the better no starred routes i've done.

I wasn't too fussed by this, a mixed day of Headpointing a lower end E6 then failing to Onsight a hard E2, means i can headpoint about 3 grades harder than i can onsight, overall (seeing as i onsight E2/3) but mainly installed in my mind that my ability to onsight is shockingly bad! Never mind :-)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Strong and finally mobile.

Since returning from the Alps, our family has only had 1 car. I am too tight to buy myself one and i can't really justify it at University. I used to get convienient use of the parents car, as we had a 2nd car that mum could use if i was out and she needed it.
Unfortuately the Landrover died so the Parents have been monopolising their car (fair do's!) and i've seen the odd afternoon here and there climbing as a result.
Now, after a month of making do they have bought a second car - i have 2 weeks to get climbing before university starts... so first stop. ROUND CRAG, again!

Twig is psyched to Flash the E5, Fresh Arete which is cool and i do feel like i should go and nail 'Vampiric Obsession' seeing as i have already cleaned and tried some of the moves prior to Franco's Flash the other day and then running out of time for me to have a go.

Fortunately, Franco's University work is nearly ended and we are planning to hit the Lake District this weekend, stoked for big, bold, Lakes Slabs in the Quarries. Cannae Wait, a month too late but never mind...