Monday, 19 September 2011

Two E7s an amazing last day of Summer '11.

Stoupe Brow, the large quarried walls overlooking the beautiful seaside village of Robin Hoods Bay has attracted myself and Franco ever since we finally saw the picture of the huge boulders, with the smallest inclusion of quarry walls in the background.

Since then, we've been a couple of times, but often we get put off by what we class as a 'long way to go', however our summer of cleaning, climbing and prospecting First Ascents has lead us back to the crag we always knew had potential.

The Central Crack (E2/3) was climbed by myself and Franco and may be a first ascent? Regardless when we did this a year or so ago, we noticed an obvious leftwards trending sequence up a scoop. The 'Time For Tea' of the Moors we thought!

We were wrong. The large looking holds are awkward, non-positive but do afford a quality sequence of move, safe to say, not in the E3 5c league of Time for Tea. Franco had worked the line telling me of sustained 6a/b moves leading left further from safety and when i had a play on the line last year i was shut down by the slopey, slightly dynamic nature of a deceptively steep feature.

Popping left into the Scoop

Finger dishes

Returning full of confidence i got to work shunting the crux sequence and i found myself unable to decypher a sequence i liked the feel of, considering a fall will either see you slam into a corner or worse, the ground.
Eventually though i found a sequence i liked the feel of. The intial traverse being friendly and allowing chalking opportunities, you then find yourself crimping into a scoop to get feet on a good rail. From here a pop leftwards to a flat 3 finger dish is the beginning of the tricky climbing and with each move of the gripping sequence up the scoop, the gear becomes further and further away.

Crimpy crux moves

High feet and an insecure step

The result of a fall is mixed. The crux for me was the pop, which is safe enough with the gear placed from the chockstone in 'Central Crack'. However the moves up the groove at 6a/b above this, leading to a very scary almost E6 6a finishing move where the ground is a certainty. I had a rope at the top to grab just incase, as the top outs at many of the buttresses are steep onto grass, with very little substantial vegetation to grab, however it is possible to top out 'properly' on this route but might be exceedingly dangerous to do so! I'd recommend a brush of it too, as the abseil scours in some of the rock and the plentiful stakes would suggest a Coastguard or Mountain Rescue practice site.

Amazing climbing, beautiful feature - what a way to finish the summer!


Terrifying finishing reach

Nick, my brother who had come along to Stoupe spotted a large, corner crack which he dilligently cleaned and sorted out. He then lead the climb, opting to 'traditionally' wedge himself up the crack somehow gaining height with every wriggle. Low gear was all he managed to place and topping out he was certainly quite run out! I then seconded the climb and couldn't figure out how the hell he climbed the crack so i opted to use the small selection of crimps and pockets that adorned the walls of the corner and bridged my way up the line. He couldn't tell me what grade he thought his method was, however i feel a grade of HVS 4c* or E1 5a* would describe the ascent by myself. Either way, we called it 'Best of Both' in reference to the fact you can thrutch or delicately climb the line with both options being memorable and also a bit of joke regarding Hovis.

With time and light starting to leave, Franco then decided it was time for his ascent of the outrageous and beautiful smooth rib, we'd both had a play on a few days earlier. The climbing is superb. Starting with a balancy, dynamic step up to a crimp the rib above allows itself to be climbed with the utilisation of micro-crimps, pops, huge rockovers and iron features. Oh so typical of the moors sandstone. Low runners protect the desperate moves low down however the upper wall is tricky, reachy and ultra bold. Franco decided a grade of H7 7a*** was adequate, explaining that the climbing would probably be much harder than E7 to onsight. The question of whether or not the route is 7a or sustained 6c is also a funny one, i am of the feeling it's certainly 7a for anyone sub 5'10!

Desperate Crimping sequence

High feet and morpho moves

What a day, what a crag - which may not be quite the all round venue we thought... it seems we may have another 'Round Crag' on our hands as many of the sub - e grade lines are not as good or as numerous as we first thought. Regardless, it's a quality venue for E2+ and certainly needs further development!

Bold and thin above gear

What a summer - come on!

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