Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Thank You BMC

(Click to Enlarge!)

Thanks to the BMC, Choad Hall was lavishly fed with sandwiches after the BMC Yorkshire Area meet. However, as well as their fine dining, they also provide high quality literature. As well as a host of other things that i can't quite put my finger on? Insurance or bolting, something like that anyway.
Theres a few other jokes someone with a keen eye may be able to spot. Enjoy.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Early season pleasantry

The North York Moors got a dumping of snow, but the rest of north England didn't seem to have received the same degree of snowiness.
Anyway, a bit of blog searching and Huw was keen to head to the Lakes, being aware that the snow was easterly and a few hopeful blog photos, we decided that the pretty standard venue of Helvellyn was worth a punt for a early morning bash from Leeds.
Conor, eager to climb his first Winter climbs, picked Huw and I up at 4.15am and we headed up the A660 to the Lakes. Arriving at the foot of Helvellyn, at about 7.45am. It was beautifully white and just starting to glow a bright orange.

As this was a very first hit of this season, and Huw and Conors winter climbing was limited at best ! :-), I was happy to 'punter' around! Enjoyable climbing it was and well worth the gamble from Leeds.
We racked up, with standard first trip glitches like a loose anti-balling plate and overheating on the walk in. We decided, that seeing it was the first trip of the season, we'd start at the obvious central gully. Gully 2, grade I.
I don't think i've ever done a grade 1 before, the first route we did last year was a FA of 'Crazy Torque'  which was meant to be a grade II but we decided the big corner crack/roof looked to inviting! But Gully 2 was supplied with frozen turf, great neve and Ice patches. Actually, the whole face is well iced and the ice is reasonably good quality. A great warm up, with some 'Steck' style running on the upper neve. Bliss.

Anyway, we topped out on Conors first winter route and he was 'buzzing', so we walked to the summit, seeing as the gully tops out there! and then carried on to walk down Swirral Edge, and off back to the base of Red Tarn Cliffs.
Viking Buttress. IV, 5. 

Gully 2. Grade I. 

Next up, V Corner. A grade III, classic reputation and we pretty quickly soloed up to the corner and Conor, very psyched, despatched the pitch with relative ease. A good effort from the winter 'novice'. Duck to water and that.

After this we had a sit around and eat and drink, I then fancied climbing something 'tricky' which i decided would be a toss up between Viking Buttress(IV,5) and Blade Runner (IV,4). Anyway, people began to amass at the crag, as the day progressed and for whatever reason, i didn't decide to get on Viking Buttress and went for the icy groove of Bladerunner.
 Gully 1, with the groove of 'Blade Runner' IV, 4 on the left.

 The initial groove was a little tricky on thinnly plated rock and a pinnacle of ice to stand on. I found no gear here and 'fiddled' for a about 5 minutes wondering whether i should back off. I decided to 'commit' as the moves looked good and i managed to make a further move to gain a crack where i stacked a couple of hexes and hammered them in. Good.
The next series of moves through the bulge are great, with a giant full axe torque you could hang a donkey off, then with much more gear, carried on up to the top bulge, which is negotiated with a cool seqence of bridging. A brilliant 45m pitch in my opinon and i was happy to see it received another ascent that day. Well worth doing!
After this, we chilled out again, then headed up to solo, Gully number 1. A grade II. However, during the day, the neve had begun to lose it's bite and the turf it's solid texture. We went up anyway as it was certainly still climbable, but it was trickier than II, in my opinion, the corner wasn't banked out with neve as i'd seen photos of, and the groove was plated with very thin verglass and slightly unfrozen turf. Anyway, myself and huw continued and topped out on Helvellyn for a 4th time. We were tired after our 4am start and decided to head home at 2.30pm after a fully successful day.
 Huw and Conor and fellow climber on Gully 1.

Huw on the central section of 'Gully 1'

Tricky maneuvoirs in 'Gully 1'
So, Helvellyn is certainly 'in'. The only route i saw that wasn't in was 'Rape and Pillage' which was bare, but looked hard to start.
The view of the rest of the lakes was bare. The western hills were white but not overly so, other than the Helvellyn range, the Fairfield Gullies looked snow filled, so definitely potential for neve in them, if not now then in the future. The rock over Deepdale way looked black though, unfortunately.

The conditions deteriorated during the day, as you'd expect. Not to any bad state, but the early morning was rock solid and blissfully quiet, we had the entire crag to ourselves.

A nice start to the season, with some nice lines ticked and a good day of gaining and losing and gaining height, good for training and such like i guess.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Grit Bouldering (Burbage and Baildon)

I decided to try and embrace this aspect of climbing seeing as it's getting colder now. We ventured to Burbage, as Huw has a knackered hand and fancied somewhere to go easy soloing. I was quite stoked to 'see what i could boulder' so decided Burbage would be ok.
Myself and Ewan quickly flashed 'Banana Finger' V3- but then found that the direct wasn't very appealing - the prospect of shinning yourself hardly makes one KEEN.

I then wandered over to the Burbage South boulders, i found a nice little steep rounded rib, on a boulder down and left of 'sheep'?? block. The guide i had, gave it B7, font 7a/7a+?? anyway, it started with feet on a ledge and crimped up to a wierd pocket and then, hopefully a big hole.

Eventually i found how to start, using a double knee bar and reach, but found i couldn't campus up to the pocket as my feet kept hitting the adjacent block. I eventually just did it, trailing a leg onto the block. No tick, but nice enough moves.
Me and Ewan then tried 'the sheep'? V5ish, up discontinuous cracks. Unfortunately, i found the topout slippy and then burst a tip!

I put my finger bursting down to the hard bouldering a week ago at Ravenswick, as my fingers were not 100% weirdly all week, they seems to have bloodblisters underneath. Anywho, i wandered back to the car slightly dissolutioned and disappointed that my attempts at embracing such an aspect of climbing backfired. Oh well, i'll try again sometime... I'm pretty keen for Bridestones, Slipstones and maybe Earl Crag bouldering??? To be honest, i'd like to do some Limestone bouldering in Yorkshire - any areas anyone knows of?!


After a few days off, my tips recovered and everyone went to Tremadog for the weekend. With work and limited psyche i stayed at home. After discovering Twig (Andrew Harvie) had a day off, we arranged to go somewhere local, and with the foggy weather i decided Baildon would be a good bet. It was ok, warm and damp but we were able to a have a couple of hours messing around.

 We warmed up on 'The Mantle' - V5/Font 6c**. An entertaining struggle that i managed 3rd go.

We then tried 'Without Moon' which looked good in a photo i'd seen of it. It has a knacky starting move and then a very, very large jump for the top rail. I tried to jump but i don' think massive jumps are my thing, and at Font 7a+ i'm guessing it's going to be reasonably hard!
Anyway, after this it began to rain and then Middlesbrough were beaten 0-1 by Millwall. Nevermind! I am however re-psyched to try Swingover (E3) and Wombling Wall (E4) as they both looked achieveable again.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Hilarious blogs, Roseberry banter and a spot of bouldering...

An interesting week for me, really. Firstly, the appearence of the rather comical blog, http://www.climbercoollist.blogspot.com/ which seems to have taken the UK internet climbing scene by storm. FIT INNIT...

Good work.

The Ravenswick Experience:
My short series of problems illustrating Ravenswick as a bouldering venue.

The Ravenswick Experience from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

Then a return to the Moors, where i teamed up with Franco, as usual, to suss out the potential on the Moors for FA's and such and what would go in the winter etc etc.
We decided to nick to Ravenswick Quarry to gauge each others strength after not climbing together for a while and Franco recovering from a broken hand and what not.

Ravenswick was a bit of a success though and we repeatedly returned to the crag on a few evenings during the week to boulder on the almost perma-dry walls. We created a whole host of problems and eliminates and intend to make some sort of 'stoney-esque' numbered holds topo for the crag. The best little problems there are the traverses (Font5+, Font6c, Font6c+ and F7a+!), 'Hidden Tresure' Font7a and a few others. There'll be video up tomorrow, that i made which is just a amateurish overview of a few of the problems there, hopefully it will attract a bit of attention for people that use the crag to train/boulder or havent been?

Me on 'Marooned Circuit' Font 6c*. ©Betaguides

We also had a bosh up to Roseberry to finish Pasghetti Direct, the main wall up the Face. Unfortunately, the wet weather had taken its toll on the sandy rock, making it unclimbable. It was very windy and cold anyway! One to mull over the winter time i feel, the route looks pretty serious. In a delusional state of disappointment, we made a silly video on the Face of Roseberry. It does have some decent beta for Pasghetti Alpinist (E4/5) and some other stuff.

Roseberry - Get Psyched... from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

As a result we ended up returning to Ravenswick for yet more bouldering, in the presence Lee Robinson and Sam Marks. There'll be a video up in a bit which should hopefully ignite a bit of interest in this great training venue and any feedback of problems or what not can be added to UKC or commented on here, as we'll be making a Stoney-esque numbered topo for the wall, in time!

On a related but slightly dated note, Lee Robinson organised a 'moors bouldering meet' and Ravenswick was visited. The majority of their problems were put up on the Larger expanse of Black Wall, below the routes of Fred (E4), Black Magic (E3) and Jug (VS) - the area to the right of where myself and Franco have been concentrating. This area is more prone to seepage and we were unable to repeat their good looking problems. We'll return, maybe over the Christmas period.

Well Worth A Look:
http://betaguides.blogspot.com/2010/10/saved-by-black-wall_24.html And while on BETAGUIDES, have a look at his RAVENSWICK FREE TOPO.

Get 'sending'...