Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Returning Psyche and loathe of Grit

I haven't posted in a while and it's not because i haven't done anything, but more because i've seen myself fall out of love with climbing in such a way i barely even remembered why i did it. The problem was the Gritstone, my old coin word for when things go shit, but i'm afraid i just don't like the stuff really. After my horrendous time at Ilkley falling off Slyvia nad Slyveste, i journied to Stanage, where i eventually managed to do the crux of the very reachy 'Moribund' E3 5c and then proceeded to fail on Guilotine (E3) and find Saliva (E1) moderately tricky. I did however get on Left Unconquerable (E1) and find it pretty easy going despite it's reputation for being pumpy and the conditions were very cold and wet in the crack for jams.

My psyche began to return though with the visiting of proper crags and stoked folk. Firstly Huw Goodall. Huw was a good climbing partner during the last couple of weeks as we told me about the wonders of Heptonstall. Admittedly it was a place i'd wanted to go for ages, but Huw reignited my interest in this aspect of Grit climbing and we quickly journied there with another psyched lad, Ralph.
There for an Evening, we only really had time for a route each, so Huw climbed Fairy Steps Direct (VS) and I climbed the classic E2-, 'Thin Red Line'. This crack system and hanging chimney at the top create a great quarry route, well respected throughout the area. I must admit when Ralph told me i had to finish left through the Chimney i thought he was lying, but it's true it adds to the climb, even if it feels horrendously eliminate.
Ralph then repeated Forked Lightning Crack, something i intend on ticking next time i go. A good trip, with psyched people and a reminder to me that i do actually like Grit...Quarried Grit.

Out of the LUUMC lot, a couple of lads have said they fancied visiting the Moors for a spot of weekend climbing. Conor was unavailable, but myself and Huw had a 3 day weekend and with transport looking suspect at Leeds, i offered the idea of heading to the Moors and staying at mine for the 3 days and climbing the wonders of Moorland...
Huw agreed and we were soon at the horrendously lowcloud hit Moors. Dischuffed, i was. I had intended on taking advantage of the dry weather to take Huw to Wainstones and Ravenscar for the Friday but that wasn't to be and instead we headed to the only place i could think of that was lowlying and quick drying. Park Nab.
It was a nice enough afternoon, soloing and leading about on the crags micro lines. Huw climbing the 'classics' most notably, Hara Kiri (HVS), a great little route.
The next day provided more agreeable looking weather and i elected to introduce Huw to the amazing Whitestonecliffe. I had told tales to the LUUMC of the hanging walls of death, Silica concretion 'bombs' and the brilliant feeling of climbing on 'cheese'. I think the majority went back to drinking their pints and talking of Rylstone, but a few were interested and now 1 was about to enjoy the delights.
I talked about 'The Nightwatch' (VS) all the way to Whitestone in the car and when we arrived Huw jumped on it immediately. He did well, climbing the route quickly and he didn't protect it ridiculously like i know folk can and have! I'm pretty sure he ranks it up their with one of the better climbs he's done, certainly single pitch.
After this, i climbed the two routes i'd delayed doing for years. Central Cracks and Countdown Direct, both HVS and both brilliant. I don't know why i hadn't done them, maybe because i was scared of Whitestone? Maybe because when we went there it was to try the traverse? Or more likely, because i'm a lazy climber and they looked damn hard work for HVS, a grade that, if i'm honest, doesn't really interest me anymore.
How wrong i was.
The climbing is superb, the rock and jams brilliant on both routes - just Whitestone enough so you remember your there, but solid in the vast majority. I topped out on both routes feeling pretty good and interestingly, completely unpumped, which i found quite interesting as i felt they would leave me fighting due to my poor ability at the time and lack of fitness. Anyway, they are both WELL worth doing.
We finished the day with a quick ascent of Frigg (HS) which i found was a little tricky for the grade if taken direct, but plenty of gear. Another good shout if your there.
Finally, we went to Scugdale. Huw fancied some microrouting/soloing and he wasn't disappointed. The sun beat down after burning away the low cloud and he ticked all the classy micro routes at Scot's Crag and then managed to get New Dimensions (E3 6a/V4) on his 3rd attempt, after a bit of beta from myself and Martin Parker (Whom i finally met, nice chap with a decent legacy on the moors). A good effort from Huw, who'd have got it second go, if he wasn't such a wimp on the rounded top out! ;-)

All in all, a return of psyche all because of a day on Quarried Grit and a weekend in the Homeland :-)

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