Saturday, 28 April 2012

Soooo, dissertation returned, coursework and lectures finishing... of course it's raining!

Yep, work for my 3rd and final year at Leeds is nearing completion, i have an abundance of time compared to when i was trying my best at my Geology Degree, so of course the weather isn't really playing games. Since my return from the Moors, the weather has been woeful. However, the abundance of time has allowed the most of the situation to be made. Some wall trips focused on getting fit for the summer has felt useful. However, climbing is all about what you do outside and we've managed to get a bit done here and there...

Malham Catwalk. Somehow i've never been here in my 2 1/2 years at Leeds and i enjoyed getting back to pulling several moves in a row! After a winter bouldering, i found the climbing easy, but linking it hard! After 'warming up' on Consenting Adults (7a), Sean and I got on Wasted Youth (7b) (tricky), which i enjoyed due to the nature of pulling on holds at the edge of my reach, but couldn't get anywhere near linking. One to give another bash before i leave Leeds and i've done a few more routes! Finished the day on Frankenstein (7a+) which was much more to my liking, crimpy wall climbing with an interesting pull to the chains at the end. It didn't go on the bolt to bolt, i was tired and of poor fitness. But i hoped it would go next time i was there.

A Tuesday at Woodhouse Scar was afforded due to a break in the weather - a warm and sunny day it turned out to be. Anna met us at the crag and a few classics were ticked. Ewan onsight soloed Clingen (E2 5c), while I onsighted Piton Crack (E2 6b) and got Close to the Edge (E2 6b) second go. Both really nice climbs. Finishing the day with a few 6b+ to 7a boulder problems was a nice touch.

Rain swept across the area on Wednesday, but the dry weather the day before meant the Catwalk was bone dry and pretty much deserted. After warming up on 'Consenting...' again, myself and Huw quickly despatched Frankenstein (7a+). Before i had a flash attempt on Rose Coronary (7a) which i fell off on, annoyingly. A quick burn on 'Free and Even Easier' (7a+) finished the day off nicely, with Conor ticking Rose Coronary and Luke Tilley nearly getting Zoolook (8a), but the dampness of some of the route took its toll, unfortunately. The climbing brightened up a rather unpleasant day weather wise. Indeed, the drop into the Gargrave Co-op also brightened up the day; being served by a really pretty girl who knew we were climbers... amazing!

Rounding up the week, Saturday was forecast to be good so we chose Hebden Gill - somewhere i've always wanted to visit. Unfortunately, we arrived to sheet rainfall and winds so just went to have a look about. The VS, 'right of way' does indeed look good. So do the E3's however, Magnificrack (E3 6a) looks really hard and bold to start. I might return but there are other places and time is lacking...  The day needed salvaging though, a while sat in the car in the rain, i stumbled across 'Panorama Crag - Pateley Bridge'. 10m solo crag sounded ideal.

We arrived to a dry pinnacle of clean gritstone, surrounded by a pleasant woodland of oak and bluebells. Sitting down putting shoes on you could see Guisecliff on the opposite side of the valley and the light rain was visible but not felt. I warmed up on the E1 5b, which climbs on positive edges to a slightly more rounded but slabbier top section. I quickly did the E2 5b  and then the rain began. The buttress didn't seem to get any of the rain, hence why it was so dry when we arrived so i soloed the central E3 5b, which starts with some really cool moves through an overlap and finishes up slopers at the centre of the buttress. Stoked by this enjoyable and lovely climbing, i tried the left arete, which goes at E4 6a. Nice move out to the arete and then a high step and reach leads to the easier top sequence. Nice climbing, certainly soft compared to Yorkshire in general (!) but this is very much my thing.       

Monday, 2 April 2012

A sunny day out...

The last day of nice weather forecast, so i decided to make a day of it. (Un)fortunately the weather was even warmer and sunnier than i had bargained for and as I sat at the bottom of Oak Wall (Font 7b), looking at all the chalk at the crag - which was nice, i decided i was probably in for a trouncing. It didn't take long.
After a warm up traversing the lower wall, i pulled on and jumped for the sloper - this is pretty big move for me and the holds were sharp. I wasn't really stoked and after 4 or 5 goes, I left. Too hot, too sharp and too hard!

I remembered about Round Crag bouldering - me and Franco had done bits and pieces along the craglets between the Pinnacle and Lion Buttress years ago, but Lee and chums had recently documented a few things here and there - not that we know what they are. I got to work on the Rainbow Wall, a quarried feature which i knew Mike Adams had put an 8a on. I warmed up on a great rock over 6a problem then spent a bit of time on eliminating the black flake to make it a 7a with a monster reach to an iron break.

I didn't know whether Mikes 8a went direct up the features to the left or not, but i couldn't be arsed to prat on in the full sun, so next, enjoyed a 6b+ on the adjacent buttress, starting up the direct rib (5) before following obvious holds rightwards to a jug. Enjoyable climbing.

Sam turned up and we climbed a sit start on the next buttress on. Start in a cave and rt hand in pocket pull up to the ledge and mantle to the wall above which is climbed on pleasant sidepulls. I couldn't grade this, it might be 6c but it could be easier? I then tried an inviting hanging groove, but unfortunately it was too warm and too dirty to get stood up at the crux. A shame. Felt like it would be 6c?ish with a spicy feel. Would be interesting to know how the grades compare to Lees, I assume he's done all of these things.

Finally, when the heat of the day passed, i was on my way to Camp Hill. I abbed down to check out the 'main face' which to be honest was a little disappointing. The lower wall would be a dyno i think above a horrendous landing, however the top wall looked good, with some small gear. Not really sure it's a worthwhile FA but one to do maybe on a 'day off'. I finished up shunting and soloing 'Waves Within' E4+ 6a/b. It is give E3 6a in the guide and i remember Franco onsighting it back in the day, sketchily. I did not, and i couldn't remember if i had jumped off or downclimbed, so i decided i probably had already lost the onsight anyway! The lower wall is technical as always and then large rock over to the lower, (greasy on the day) pocket felt pretty straightforward, after all my rock over practice at Round Crag! Strange feeling, i remember thinking it was a heinous move back in the day. It's a shame the rockover will deposit you in the broken- ground below - pretty scary. However, my left hand was above where you'd get a small tri-cam or cam so perhaps they are 'on route'.

Plenty of chalk at Camp Hill too, this recent weather has obviously got folk climbing - which is good.