Monday, 29 August 2011

A wild day at Lion Buttress, Round Crag - 'Mane Vision' E4 6b * + Video!

Sam on the start of the cruxy, 'Mane Vision' E4 6b

Darkness and a 1 hour blast in the space of 3 days at Round Crag had seen Franco and I discover another fine unclimbed line. Lion Buttress, the host to a couple of fine lower grade routes, also contains a central wall, spilt by a traverse crackline, 'The Kitten' (VS).

Franco had previously attempted to climb direct through the break and in the dark he said the climbing was thin and excellent, if only he knew where the next hold was! I had returned with him to try it and my first attempts too showed that a quality sequence of moves, protected by good gear with a tricky little fall was the routes character, something i liked the sound of.

Focussing hard, it's a long way to that tiny crimp

Franco, had trashed his tips on several attempts at yarding on the thin, two finger crimp but eventually stood up and looking comfortable and in the sunlight this time, he reached to a tiny protrusion. Balanced and comfortable, it was a matter of just reaching the sloping crimp on the micro-ledge... Bang.
Franco hurted down to my position with yells of anguish. The protrusion had snapped! Bugger!

Huuge reach
It was now a straight dyno to the sloping crimp, using reflex strength in your left arm and the tiny two finger edge with your right, you would have to pop again with your right and hold the swing. 6c move for sure.
Franco, desperately got closer and closer to hanging the crimp taking some unbalanced, sideways falls and I, lacking the reflex strength never really got close to hanging the crimp. There had to be another way.

The vicious winds of the moor tops were battering, relenting for short, 10 second periods of calmer, warmth. It was a chilly day and the conditions on the rock, were good...but i didn't think the wind was conjective to success, not only that I was scared at the prospect of Franco managing the sloping crimp dyno hold and me being resigned to accepting i was unable to pull off such a feat. I pulled up again clipping the gear and chilling at the 'Kitten break'. I pulled on, left hand into the 3 finger pocket/edge. Closed to a powerful crimp. Right hand on the pinch undercut getting my feet up into the break and then in one fluid movement rocking up to and holding the tiny, finger splitting edge. This time, I felt more composed, in balance and fiddling my feet about i through caution to the wind and pushed a couple of fingers from my left hand onto the stub of the broken protrusion. The 'gaston' held and i was stuck two fingers on a gaston, two fingers on a unforgiving, but excellently shaped little crimp.

I stood for what felt like an age. This wasn't some wierd out of body experience, it was windy as hell and i held the position for the best part of 20 seconds, battling to avoid being ripped off the wall. I could see, just about the grey, sloping edge and while stood motionless, i visualised deadpointing it. Over and over.

I popped and at the same time, unconciously tried to snare my left toe against the break for balance. It worked, allowing me just enough time to hang the sloper before my left food followed me around to the right. Ground up and now facing a ledge hitting fall, i was scared. I reached up higher and scrabbling for feet, I nearly threw it all away with the mantle finish. It was complete.

I was happy, but also gutted. I felt the wall was going to become a dynamic test piece, but if i'm honest i'm just glad to have climbed it in a really fitting style, ground up. And i wouldn't have managed the dyno, so i shouldn't complain!

Franco then, utlising my beta made a quick ascent. We were unsure whether the 'more static' beta was indeed worth E5 6c, unlike the dynamic stretch... I think it's probably E4 6b with the static crimping which wasn't how we were trying it originally.It's a quality challenge, quite contrary to the bold lines of Round Crag proper.

Sam then tried the line, but struggling to manage the huge rockover to the tiny crimp, he didn't quite manage to hold it, firing off and rather nastily scraping the front of his shin. I could see white on the front of his shin and i bricked it, asking him to show me the wound quickly. Fortunately it was just a fatty layer, which i really should have come to the conclusion of quicker, due to his reputation for having chubby little legs...

All in all, a wild day up on Blakey in the roaring wind. The buttress, with it's Lion/Big Cat theme had to be adhered to and we felt 'Mane Vision' was a good attempt at keeping with the Lion theme and also a bit of a remark to the fact it was climbed, eventually, the way we were attempting it at first!

A hard (for me) route which is well protected where it matters and is in contrast to the poorly protected routes of Round Crag. I feel it's a useful addition to a crag in a great setting which i really hope starts to see a bit of traffic. A brilliant day out at E5, Honey Arete, Farndale Fayre and Vampiric Obsession, using Heel of Approval to get yourself warmed up to boldness! Then a well protected struggle with Mane Vision!

Mane Vision E5 6c, Round Crag. Ground up FA from Dave Warburton on Vimeo.

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