Sunday, 2 October 2011

Eldwick, Earl and Hawkcliffe

A week of less travelled Yorkshire Grit crags saw some nice routes ticked and some good projects lined up. The weather meant I was stoked for 'cold north facers' hence Earl and Hawkcliffe and they worked out ok, but i still found the temperatures too hot, unfortuantely.

Eldwick contains a quality slab climb, with a cam at just above half height and a technical sequence at the top. 'The Elevator' E6 6c** is currently on the wishlist but after a quick play on it, as i was told it would be hard to onsight/GU, then i feel it will go. It's an ok proposition to GU i think, perhaps with beta? Anyway, i chose repeated lobs onto a singular, admittedly good cam, wasn't to my liking and went for a project approach. Also at Eldwick is a tricky, but excellent finger crack 'Comply or Die' which is rated at Font 7a+* and climbs really well. It could be easier than this, if you're a crack wizard?

Earl was a useful day out, the crag was damp from dew? i think but it was dry enough to allow a few routes and highballs to be climbed. 'Rat Au Vin' and 'Sharp Arete' providing enjoyable short solos up aretes on good gritstone. Then, while waiting for 'Sour Grapes' to dry, we journied over to 'Tiger Wall' which provides a great MVS solo across a prow of rock and then i climbed what i reckon is the best E2 on grit i've done, Earl Buttress. This excellent route climbs up to an awkward rest and gear then committing moves up to a jug and cam leads you to jug haul up the steep wall. Excellent stuff.

Further left, we had a quick play on Eraser Slab direct (E2 6a*) which is a nice rockover move and i looked at Kipper (E4 6a*) which looked excellent and also Early Riser (E5 6a***). I wasn't keen to solo either of them, especially after seeing someone recently slipped at the top (on top rope) of Early Riser - cooler and drier day for it i think, or a quick headpoint? I dunno, who cares.

Then decided to have a bit of fun, trying 'Overhanging Wall Direct' which is E4 6a in the guidebook, but used to get HVS 5b. Eitherway, its a well protected (albeit with a ledgey fall) top out over a perched boulder. Scrittly holds, which i cleaned with my hands from the rest below, allowed a few campussy slaps and heel use. I'm not sure it's E4, but what i do know is it's not HVS... ;-)
Unfortunately, the early evening brought midgies, so we were unable to do anything else but Earl was a nice enough day out.

Hawkcliffe. Excellent crag this, possibly my favourite Yorks Grit Crag. It's got a combination of very big buttresses and smaller craglets, with some classic stuff. I climbed Squirrel Crack (E1 5b***), Fistful of Siestas (E2 6a*), Syrett's Slit (E1 5b*), Abandon Hope (E3 6a*). While i also cleaned and tried Flame Arete (E5 6b**) ground up, but it was too hot for me and i sweated up hilariously, calling it off! I want to go back when its cooler and hopefully still dry to give this a go. I also had a rap down and then climb back up of 'Call of the Curlew' (E4 6a**). It's an odd one, easy enough when you know how, but the start is bold but 'only' 5c? then gear which is adequate i think and pumpy to place then, an 'easy when you know how' rockover on to the arete leading to a slopey and scary top out. I have to learn gritstone climbing realising that 'non' holds are often very useful and again, when it's cooler i'll go back and see how this feels, as i wouldn't have got on it the other day.

The harder stuff at this crag looks good, but i just can't seem to get my head around small, flat crimps on gritstone, i love them on sandstone, but grit just leaves my fingers feeling like they are crimping metal or something? Anyway, hopefully the cold will help out?

Finally, i thought i'd jump on 'Blull Glum Gommit' (E2 6a**) or whatever it's called. It looked fine, but the peg is half snapped through  and if this pulls you'll swing into a corner. The moves are on these small, flat crimps, which i can't figure out how to use, as like i say, i love crimps on sandstone/limestone. Anyway, careful with Blull Glum... due to the peg issue.

Quality Crag, Squirrel Crack and Syrett's Slit are excellent routes as is the short and sweet Fistful of Siesta but if you go it's probs worth taking a nylon brush to allow you the option to clean your line or to clean something up if you do the clean stuff! This crag really should see a bit more traffic, it's 10minutes from the road! Stoked to look at Ginny Greenteeth (E5 6a***), Emerald Arete (E6 6a**), or Woodland Ecology (E5 6a**) too - i think.

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