50mph winds and westerlies with showers, i proposed Troller's Gill. Unfortunately Huw doesn't seem to like the place and there aren't really many other people in the club willing to go to F7+ crags, i don't know if it's because it's sport or because it's 'hard' but anyway, i decided to search the guide for somewhere that might be worth a 'punt'.
Gate Cote Scar, East facing and 'quick drying' seemed a little bit too good to be true, but after the evenings rain i knew the quick drying aspect would have to be truthful for a successful day.
We drove over through early afternoon dry weather arriving at the crag to rain... Fookin' hell!
We walked up anyway and found it was dry, another exception coup for the 'choad hall' team. Admittedly first impressions of the crag is that it isn't Kilnsey, Malham or anywhere else like that, but it was dry and clean and that's all that matters... (and for the record it's actually very good!)
There is a healthy mix of trad and sport. I was keen for the sport seeing as rain was a potential factor so we warmed up on a lovely F6a+ arete, while it snowed... making jokes about climbing in Switzerland or somewhere similar.
We had a sit around and ate some food while the snow stopped and i tried the F7a***, "A Matter of Degrees". The start felt nails and i gave up. Trying the F7a** "Arc de Ciel" to the right. This was easier and i quickly got up to the top bulge and was undercutting my way to a good F7a O/S. I'm still not sure about the start to the other one, it looks like it may have lost holds? I'll try abit harder some other time.
The short day came to an end with Huw climbing the F7a and then climbing the F6b groove line, which looked good fun. I then rushed to try the F6c+ to the left but found the second clip hard, which was scary... I also found out it's given F7a+ elsewhere...?! Another one to come back for.
We did, the next day! Similar weather a couple of lads, Daf and Sam who were keen. Unfortunately the weather was worse, more rainy today.
I decided to trad climb today and tried the 'classic - Blue Meanings' E2. I however didn't really know which crack to head towards on the upper wall and then it began to lash it down, so i escaped right up the VS. Abseiling down, the wall the 'E2' didn't look E2... more E3 5c, but i'll have another play when it's dry!
Huw got some trad in while it rained and then I decided to try the F7a+ under the main low overhang, which climbs a short wall on sidepulls and through the roof using an obvious hole. I had tried it the day before and given up finding the moves bouldery. However this bouldery section was the only dry rock, so i quickly had a rethink and found the sequence went much easier if you use your noggin'. I was past the crux on a bomber finger lock, getting pelted by rain. I popped to the incut which felt like shit, even thought it's a jug and over the next 10 or 15 minutes skated my way to the top. Hard fought clean ascent in the rain, of a very well named route - "Sunshine on a Rainy Day"... excellent.
I intend to return, but perhaps on a more pleasant day to do some of the trad in better conditions. It's worth a look, as it does seem to dry very fast and it's certainly sheltered from westerly and westerly showers.
Keen for all this early season Limestone esoterica, really should go to the proper venues though!