Thursday, 3 May 2012

Honley Wood and Mytholm Steeps Quarry - The Cat Test E6 6b**

A bright, May Thursday was forecast and myself and Conor decided we'd pay Honley Wood a visit. This is somewhere i'd spotted in the guide and earmarked for a scout, mainly to try 'The Dogs Biscuits' E4 5c**. Anyway, after arriving to find a damp crag, we left in high spirits as the main buttress looked excellent. The E4 arete, E5 wall and E4 crack all looked excellent and well worth doing - but one to re-add to the list. I hope i get a chance before leaving Leeds.

We left to pastures new and rather than heading to Heptonstall, decided to try another esoteric spot - Mytholm Steeps Quarry. I recalled seeing this crag had an E6 and after quickly checking on Conors Iphone, which coincidentally are amazing - i've never used on before!, found that was the case. Apparently only 10m from the road, we decided this was a capital idea and arrived to a seemingly dry crag. The guidebook suggested that dropping in to do the HVS was worthwhile and we were happy enough to just do that if it came to it, however we actually found the line to be wet, what a shame as it looks excellent! - Go do it! It's 10m from the road!

The centre of the quarry is adorned by a yellow, undercut arete containing a zig-zag crack. This is the line of 'The Cat Test' E6 6b**, a 'new' route put up in 2006 by Neil McCallum and Matt Troilett. We set up a rope and i cleaned the front face of the arete, it wasn't dirty as such but pretty dusty and cobwebbed. We both decided the pegs were 'ok' but not really confidence inspiring to 'lob' onto. They are well placed and the rock looks fine, but they are rusty. They could be fine, but i'd check them to see if you're happy. We decided the crux was between the two pegs but the lower wall looked pretty sustained either way.

I found the lower arete enjoyable and fell off gaining a hole at the base of the zig-zag crack. After this steep moves up the crack leads to a second peg and a 'crank' to a crimp rail. Some excellent steep moves. After this the climb reaches a niche on the arete and due to the rope being on the left of this, we didn't climb the upper wall. Conor then had a play and link up and I linked up to here in a oner.

I ran back around and cleaned the upper wall and its crimps and then Conor had a quick play on the upper arete. In the process, I talked myself out of top roping it 'just once more to make sure', and i set up for a quick lead. It went fine and i was soon at the top belaying Conor up, happy that i'd made the right decision in a quick headpoint. I will quite often sort the moves and get ready but feel too tired and have to come back another day, but not in this case, which made me happy.

The line is really good, the climbing excellent the only issue is it is superficially dirty and a bit sandy. It's *** climbing for my money with a * reduction for the dust. It doesn't really matter, its great moves in a good position and i think it would be flashable / ground uppable if you're strong/trust the pegs. I'd abseil to check them but i'm not the most ballsy climber. As for the grade; if the pegs are bomber then it could be a hard E5? There's a crack so you could get wires but you'd have to be pretty strong i think to place them? I'd like to think it's E6, possibly the lower end of the spectrum. It is harder than Flame Arete (E5-) at Hawkcliffe, Magic in the Air (E5) at Highcliffe and i reckon it's got a similar feel, climbing wise, to the White Scoop (E7) at Stoupe Brow, which is far worse protected. It's probably similar to flash as 'Fresh Arete' with the siderunner which is E5. Funny one, i'm not sure. I'd say if you're local and decide the pegs are fine, it's definitely worth grounding up!



Adam Hughes said...

Good effort Dave, I'll have to give it a look next week. Do you have good directions to Honley?

Dave Warburton said...

Sent you an email, Adam.

Anonymous said...

good to see this getting done a real esoteric gem ! had a few ascents when first done but no attention since .

Anonymous said...

Glad you enjoyed it,always nice to get good feedback on one of yer own. Grading comments spot on with how we felt, bit too tough for E5 but steady at E6. Cheers Accy Nez