Tuesday, 13 March 2012

More esoterica and a Thruscross revisit...

With Uni fast coming to a close, i am running out of time to visit all the weird and wonderful little crags of the Yorkshire Grit area. These seldom-travelled, oft-overlooked crags are usually always host to some excellent climbs which would be 'classics' at more popular venues.

After wasting my morning/early afternoon watching Middlesbrough embarrass themselves on the BBC, going down 0-2 to L**ds, i nipped out to Crookstones or Hellifield Crags - depending  on what you call them.
I chose the 'direct' approach, apparently strenuous and half an hour long... However, the YorkshireGrit PDF approach is good and if you follow your nose as well, the approach is short lived. I wandered up with two pads in about 25 minutes.

It was breezy, grey and chilly - a contrast to sun baked Leeds but something i was fairly thankful of in terms of climbing conditions. I set to work in the 'Areteland' area, with a quick bosh up the easier aretes before trying the 'E2'. This was green and the top was a bit wet, the landing isn't cracking so i backed off. The E4 (same arete on the right hand side) however was clean and the landing acceptable. That said it was a bit spicy on my own, in the low cloud, but after a 'test drop' i managed to psyche up and get the top. Scary!

I carried on with less high problems, the best being 'Christian's Dyno' - Font 6b and Overhanging Crack (Font 6b).

Nice little crag, the properly north facing bits were green and sandy, the rest just suffers from a lack of traffic. It would be nicer on a warmer day where you could take your time to clean things! Another little craglet ticked off.

With the good weather continuing and with a Monday off uni, myself and Huw decided to try to get a day out at either Hebden Gill or Thruscross (Again). The patches of low cloud and noticeable breeze meant we decided Thruscross was the better choice.

Arriving as the sun began to break through the cloud, we warmed up on some weird HVS, that traverses the ridge of a boulder. It's not bouldering, but its not really a route... strange, but oddly good...
After this, we both quickly climbed 'Yarn Spinner' E2 6a, the high arete with a low crux. Cool moves and an enjoyably bold top section on good holds. I then disturbed a Barn Owl (amazing creature), which was nesting in the block on top of the 'Thruscross Boulder', so avoid that if you go!

It was now time for the main attraction, Laughter Lines, E3 6b. This steep, flared crack set on a prow looks inviting, however on our last visit it was wet. Today, seepage still dominated the lower crack however we soon realised it didn't affect the climb. After some early attempts, i found a jam and 'fridge hug' technique worked of me. With small edges for the left foot and a right heel-toe in the crack i managed to pop my way up weird fingerlock gastons and eventually the bulging holds at the top. Awesome! We climbed the line above pads, but it would be just as easy to lace it with gear.

With a good tick, we walked over to 'Heart of Oak' area and while Huw climbed the 'forgotten gem' E1 6a, i cleaned the top of 'Rising of the Sap' E3 5c. I had bouldered up to the lip of the buttress on our previous visit but was met by a mossy crack and turfed up hold - i jumped off. I cleaned it this time around and after spotting Huw for a bit, stole the pads and quickly climbed the line - finding that the reason the top holds where filthy was because you didn't need them! Doh. Enjoyable little climb, it sort of looks a bit weird, but climbs really well.

Finished off the day potting around on the smaller boulders closer to the reservoir as the sun beat down. Excellent day out :-)

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