Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Bit of Moors action... Cooks Quarry

With an unsettled weather forecast and a shortage of partners in Leeds, i returned home to Castleton in order to chill out and watch the Euros. Rain was a frustration, but i eventually decided to 'go for it' and headed out to Cooks Crags to check out the newly cleaned up 'Cooks Boulder', which had seen the forest around it chopped in the last year or so.

I arrived in light drizzle, but the roads were dry and the ground wasn't sopping so i was hopeful. I decided to park in Gribdale too, to avoid the woodland, plothery walk from Kildale!

I arrived and set up an abseil above Cooks Crag, which contains; 'Cookie' - E1 5b*, 'Sundancer' - E3 5c*, 'Winter Warmers' - E2 5b** and 'The Nose' - E2 5b**. I rapped and cleaned/dried and chalked Sundancer and Winter Warmers. Then wandered down and soloed the lines. Winter Warmers is a more recent addition by Steve Crowe. It climbs a lower, easy wall before making a series of moves to good holds on the nose and finish up the slab. Nice climbing with a bold feel. I then soloed the Nose, which starts up clean, excellent holds before it all gets a bit slopey but not too bad.

Two nice routes down, I jumped on Sundancer. Easy moves lead to an obvious flake, this was still damp and as i rocked over towards a small, snappy-looking crimp i was really having to focus on not sliding off it. I reached the incut, almost juggy crimp but just before applying some force, it smashed. Ooops. It left a smaller, solid crimp which you really have to close on now, before using a left hand pocket, which is good and the move is still 5c. You finish more easily on nice holds. Good route.

I finished up 'Cookie' which looks hard for 5b from below! I climbed up to the flake and ledge on the right. From here, it looks like you have to yard up to a break above. Hmm, it looks a long way. I soloed down and got my brush (i hadn't cleaned the line) and cleaned the large foothold which was scrittly. Back up i placed more weight on my right foot and found the reach was not remotely 'dodgy' anymore, but it's probably not a good first E1 choice!

Happy with the results from Cooks Crag, i wandered down to Cooks Boulder and soloed up 'Nimrod' - E2 6a. I had seen a photo of Lee on Nimrod and i was interested as i didn't realise the boulder had been opened up from the trees and also i remember seeing this route in the guide, long before i knew about cleaning routes and 'big cams' and thought it sounded cool.
Anyway, i soloed up the lower crimpy wall to the green, damp break. I couldn't do anything with it so i had to down solo and wander around to the top, set up a rap and clean the line. It was disappointing how dirty the break was, but every little will help it i'm sure. After this quick clean, i soloed back up to the break where the huge cam would go. This time, the coarse rock provided adequate friction and i pulled up on the incut hold i could now reach just above. I undercut the break, reached a crimp with my left hand and then, pulled to the top! I totally missed two or three other crimps dotted on the wall, which would have made it significantly easier. Nice climbing, looks eliminate not to move left to the ledge, but when you're on it you don't get dragged over that way and you finish on beautiful jugs, so it makes sense to me to climb direct onto the capping block. Climbing is nice, worth a star but maybe more like E1/2 5c* as i didn't notice a 6a move (?), certainly an E-grade without a pad.

Finished off with a solo of 'Submariner' Font 6a+**, which climbs the clean side of the boulder via a rightwards traverse up a series of breaks and jams and undercuts. Nice climbing. Also did a sit start up and left which felt about 6a to 6b, i'm not sure bit slopey at the top.

Nice day out, in the odd 'dry-drizzle', which didn't seem to wet anything. Glad i finally got these things done, as they've always been there but i'd never set the time aside, and i never used to clean routes prior to climbing them! Something that is required when the routes see potentially aren't climbed year after year!

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