Thursday, 28 July 2011

Heel of Approval

A quick dash up to Round Crag to try to make myself feel better, while suffering from drousyness and aching muscles (due to illness, nothing impressive like pushing myself or owt!) reaped some sort of reward... I had previous been to Round Crag and decided i WANTED to do Honey Arete E5 6b**/*. However i realised the floor was VERY wet and i really couldn't be arsed abseiling down to then get my shunt on and then start climbing, so i sacked this idea off very quickly and decided instead to warm up on Pannierman's Arete - Steve Ramsden's boulder problem arete on the boulder below the pinnacle.
I'm going to go back though, with a spade, to dig a proper drainage channel which would stop the bottom of Octopet, Honey Arete and Vampiric Obsession getting so horribly soggy.

Pannierman's Arete is a cool, quite high Font 6b+ with a dynamic finish. In the full sun today, it felt slippy, hard and bold. I imagine it would be much friendlier in cooler conditions. Regardless though, it's pretty good and a decent warm up and actually packs a fair few moves in from sit.

I then decided that if i was to salvage anything, i would have to try the North Arete project. Adam Van Lopik graded this E3 6b after top roping it years ago and Franco and myself had looked at it previously to onsight/ground up. I seem to remember cleaning it moons ago but it certainly didn't look like i had!
It was filthy, so i decided enough was enough with this arete toying with us, (me especially as i say "i will do that north arete as well, seeing as we're up there!" everytime i go and i never do... ) so i just rapped down and cleaned the obvious holds.
A quick shunt showed i was short sighted with my cleaning and i soon developed a bold, but pretty easy solution to the arete. A cunning heel.

It's a one mover, that much is simple. The landing (though not as horrific as i remembered) would need to be padded by 3 or 4 mats to feel safe, as the 'cunning heel' is good for the climb but would result in a pelvis first fall if you didn't manage to nestle it on the jug. I can however see why Adam Van Lopik suggested E3 6b, as it's purely 1 move, but to onsight would be bold and potentially painful. The top moves on the arete are good too, lots of big hand holds but unbalancing if you stray to the arete, so your left to pad up smears and edges up a slabby groove. It's like a gearless E2 5b once you've stood on the starting jug.

All in all, another F.A - which i'm actually very happy with. It was a better move than i thought it would be - i sort of had visions of an arete grovel, using your thighs and knees to gain height, but not so. I also found the upper section tricky onsight (as i only cleaned and chalked the obvious holds in the upper section, prior to the lead)

The video demonstrates the move, which will remove your onsight! as it's pretty much all about figuring this out - but who care's it's a route that needed doing and is quite suitable to sit upon the fine pinnacle of Round Crag.

I decided a name of 'Heel of Approval' may entice future ascentionists to figure out the beta for themselves and although i can understand the grade of E3 6b set by Adam, i feel the grade of E4 6b is more fitting. No stars due to the unsustained nature, but it's a good one move and unfortunate it's not a flat, lovely landing as it would be a fine E3 6b, if so...
 (an afterthought is that there is a pocket which could take a cam, which might stop you hitting the ground proper, but maybe not the boulders and ledges? I'll have a look next time i'm there, but this may be the reason he suggested E3? Would maybe get in the way though...)

Enjoy the video, due to the position of the camera it makes the arete look slabbier than it is, you can tell due to the wierd unbalanced looking positions i get into!

Heel of Approval - E4 6b from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

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